Skip to main content

Trump opens controversial $150M golf course in Scotland

By David Wilkinson, CNN
July 10, 2012 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
Trump (second from the right) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Trump International Golf Links. Trump (second from the right) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Trump International Golf Links.
HIDE CAPTION
Making the cut
Time for tee
Top Trumps
The Full Monty
A fair way to go
The Pied Piper
Green fingers
The Great Estate
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Donald Trump's Scottish golf course cost $150 million to create
  • Its creation was hugely unpopular with locals and environmental groups
  • Golf World magazine has already ranked the course as the eighth best in Britain
  • It opens to the public this Sunday and green fees will be same as a round at St. Andrews

(CNN) -- After seven years of planning and construction costing over $150 million, Donald Trump's dream to open a golf course in Scotland was finally realized on Tuesday.

The U.S.-based billionaire hit the ceremonial first tee shot at Trump International Golf Links, having weathered a storm of controversy involving environmentalists, local residents and politicians.

"It's been worth it," he told CNN during his rain and wind-swept round at the venue. "This is truly the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Everybody knows it. Most people are saying it and most of the golf people are saying it, most importantly."

Trump welcomed guests from the European Tour and the Ryder Cup organizing committee, and told them: "There's really nothing like it."

Set on the east coast of Scotland, eight miles north of the city of Aberdeen, the course occupies part of the private Menie Estate, bought by Trump in 2006.

A tour of Trump International Links
Trump threatens to sue Scotland
Donald Trump appeared at the Scottish parliament to express his objection to a proposed wind farm off the coast of his new golf course and hotel complex in Aberdeenshire. He claims he was misled by Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond over the offshore development.
Donald Trump appeared at the Scottish parliament to express his objection to a proposed wind farm off the coast of his new golf course and hotel complex in Aberdeenshire. He claims he was misled by Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond over the offshore development.
Trump blown off course?
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Trump threatens to sue Scotland Trump threatens to sue Scotland
Mission Hills lies in the volcanic region of Hainan Island, China. The resort has 10 courses, with each one incorporating the native lava rock formations. There are also 518 guest rooms and suites, a three-story clubhouse and 12 restaurants in this impressive complex. Mission Hills lies in the volcanic region of Hainan Island, China. The resort has 10 courses, with each one incorporating the native lava rock formations. There are also 518 guest rooms and suites, a three-story clubhouse and 12 restaurants in this impressive complex.
China's impressive complex
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Golf\'s luxurious holiday resorts Golf's luxurious holiday resorts

The opening of the championship course is the first step towards the American tycoon's goal of creating a resort featuring a second golf course, a hotel, luxury holiday homes and a residential village.

Trump expects the total bill for the development to exceed a billion dollars, although the next stage of building is currently on hold while he contests plans to build an offshore wind farm nearby.

Rarely has a new golf course had such criticism and hype. Accusations of bullying from local residents and objections from environmental groups were documented in the movie "You've Been Trumped," while sport writers have been thrilled at every new photo revealing the dramatic holes.

The sheer amount of money pumped into the project enabled English golf architect Martin Hawtree to manipulate the land on an unprecedented scale.

"This is one of the most extraordinary golf links sites you have seen or will ever see," Hawtree said at the opening ceremony. "There is no doubt in my mind it will be in the top three in the world. I just don't know who'll be number two or three!"

Before the opening, Golf World magazine announced that the course has gone straight into its UK course rankings at number eight, ahead of several British Open venues including Royal Lytham & St. Annes, which will host the golf season's third major tournament next week.

Trump's ultimate goal is to bring a major tournament to his latest course, and the European Tour chief executive George O'Grady hinted that it may not be far away.

"Great courses need great tournaments," said O'Grady, "We will work with Mr. Trump to bring the right event here."

Sandy Jones of the Great Britain and Ireland Professional Golfers' Association made the only reference to the saga of controversy and criticism around the course's planning:

This is truly the greatest golf course in the world. Everybody knows it
Donald Trump

"Golf is a responsible business. It embraces the environment. I wish the environmentalists would embrace golf," he said.

On the course, Trump was joined by one of the European Tour's most successful players, Colin Montgomerie, who described the course as "dramatic and spectacular."

On the question of whether Trump International will ever host the British Open or a Ryder Cup event, the Scottish golfer was optimistic.

"There's no doubt that tournament golf will come here," the 49-year-old former European Ryder Cup captain said.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for people locally, nationally and internationally to come to this area."

Trump championed his Scottish family ties throughout the planning process, and continued the theme at the opening ceremony as he gave out whiskey and shortbread to invited guests.

The tale of how an American billionaire's dream became reality across the pond has made Trump International Golf Links one of the hottest tickets of the summer, with tee times already in short supply.

The course opens to the public on Sunday, with green fees costing $310 on a weekend or $233 on a weekday, the same price as the summer rate on the prestigious Old Course at St. Andrews, known as "the home of golf."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
It's a big dilemma: Be with your wife for the birth of your first child, or stay at work and try to earn $11 million. For Billy Horschel, it's a no-brainer.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1140 GMT (1940 HKT)
She's just 19 but Hyo Joo Kim is already showing she's ready for the big time after recording the lowest ever round at a major championship.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Masters champion Bubba Watson says winning the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot would bring forward his retirement from the game.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1131 GMT (1931 HKT)
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the 14th green during the third round of The Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club on September 15, 2013 in Evian-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The world's top women golfers will be chasing a $3.25 million prize purse at one of the most stunning courses on the LPGA Tour.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
Tom Watson selects Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson as his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup contest with Europe.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
Ian Poulter, who has constantly haunted the U.S. in Ryder Cup golf, is back after being chosen as a wildcard by European captain Paul McGinley.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Tiger Woods has split with his longtime coach Sean Foley after not winning a major during their four-year tenure.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1105 GMT (1905 HKT)
Success just keeps on coming for Rory McIlroy, but the world No. 1 is already targeting more titles following his second PGA Championship win.
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
ADVERTISEMENT