Over the past ten or so years Scotland has seen the addition of a number of quality new links golf courses, most notably Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart, The Castle Course, and Machrihanish Dunes. Collectively they have added to the overall wealth of golf in the country, and they have each received various awards and rankings by different bodies. One of the latest addition to the expanding portfolio is Trump International Golf Links, which opened in July 2012, located a few miles north of Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland.
I was privileged to be invited by the Trump Organization for a rather special viewing of the golf course back in March 2012, along with Cameron Reid VP of Sales & Operations for PerryGolf. The first thing that strikes you is the sheer scale and majesty of the sand dunes of the Menie Estate, surpassing any links site I have seen anywhere in the world.
The golf course has been crafted by respected links architect Dr. Martin Hawtree, possibly best known for his remodeling work for the R&A on Open Championship venues. Our hosts for the tour were Gorge Sorial and Larry Glick, Executive VP’s of the Trump Organization, and we were guided throughout by Golf Course Superintendent, John Bambury.
From the tips it measures over 7,400 yards. It’s a lot of a golf course, but six sets of tees (all well hidden from general view in their own “pockets”) ensure there is a course length to suit all abilities. The dunes system has been stabilized by the hand planting of over five million (yes!) individual marrow grass plants.
Unlike some links courses I have seen which seem to just skirt around the dunes, this one makes best use of the scale, drama, and width of these particular dunes, and many holes play directly through them and/or into them. Although you always prefer to play a golf course to make final assessment, the design does seem particularly sympathetic to the landscape and terrain, and somehow gives the feeling that the links have always been out there just waiting to be uncovered …which must be a good thing.
Almost certainly the Trump Organization harbours high ambition for this outstanding golf course, and if I was betting I would expect it to become a venue of a major event on the European Tour within the next few years ….with even bigger than that possibly down the line.
But for right now you should add this golf course to your must play bucket list! …..what a great trip you can have combining the Aberdeen area (Trump International, Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay or Murcar) with the Inverness area (Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch and Nairn) for golf that you will love, and at some of the best value around.