Billionaire American tycoon Donald Trump has spoken at length about his controversial Scottish golf development in a world exclusive interview with the home of golf’s biggest-selling golf publication.
Trump, 63, talked to bunkered magazine about his £1bn Aberdeenshire project and discussed his hopes that it will one day host the Open Championship, whilst also firing a broadside at his critics.
The interview – Trump’s first one-on-one golf magazine discussion about the development at Menie Estate in Balmedie – features in issue 98 of bunkered, which is on-sale now.
The ten-page feature in bunkered also includes exclusive never-seen-before images of what the completed course will look like; an exclusive hole-by-hole guide to the course; exclusive interviews with the project director, Neil Hobday, and course designer, Martin Hawtree; and much more besides.
“I’ve always liked my ties to Scotland,” said Trump. “We looked at 150 different sites all over Europe for this project but my first choice was always Scotland if it could work out and, fortunately, it did.
“I have a lot of tremendous courses and I always like to be actively involved in them. I only do truly great courses. I’m not interested in having mediocre ones, even if they make money. That’s not what I’m about. And my Scottish course? I truly believe it will probably blow everything away. We have a very, very special place. Even the contractors who are doing it, and who have done many of the great courses, including Open courses, said they have never ever seen a piece of land like it.”
Referring to the Open Championship, golf’s oldest professional tournament which has a limited rota of just nine host courses, Trump said: “I would absolutely love to see the course host the Open. We’re certainly designing it to the very highest standards, the standards that the R&A demands. We have a great location and a great city, so we’ll be leaving no stone unturned, so to speak.”
Trump also revealed that he was a little bit surprised by the criticism that his development has attracted since he revealed plans to build it back in 2006.
“We’re going to make the area environmentally better than it was before, so I was a little bit surprised by the reaction of some people,” he said. “But you have to understand that it was just a vocal minority that were speaking out against us. It was a group of people that just wanted to get publicity for themselves. They’re certainly not environmentalists. If they were, they would have heard at the hearings that, environmentally-speaking, the land is going to better than ever once we have done what we are planning to do with it. As an example, some of the people that want to protect birds came out against it. So, I said them: ‘You want to protect birds? Right now, that land is a killing field. They shoot 25,000 birds per year over it at the moment.’ I never heard from them again after I told them that.”
Bryce Ritchie, bunkered editor, confirmed that his magazine is now officially endorsing the Trump development.
“Donald Trump is, without question, one of the 21st century’s most influential and inspirational businessmen, so to secure an exclusive interview with him is unquestionably a massive coup for bunkered.
“Having had the opportunity to speak to him and hear first-hand his plans for the Menie Estate, we are delighted to offer the development bunkered’s full backing and endorsement. We believe it is a tremendous thing, not just for Scottish golf, but for Scotland as a whole and we are 100 per cent behind it.”
The full interview with Donald Trump appears in issue 98 of bunkered, on-sale now www.bunkered.co.uk