Occupying a three-mile stretch of North Sea coastline between Murcar Links and Cruden Bay, Trump International Golf Links is the latest American-inspired, high profile course to open in Scotland since the start of the new millennium.
Like Renaissance Club, Castle Stuart and Machrihanish Dunes, ownership of the course lies on the US side of the Atlantic and its proprietor took seven long years to get golfers onto the first tee as he had to overcome a series of objections that were made to siting the fairways within a Site of Special Scientific Interest. But overcome the protestations of the environmentalists and landowners is exactly what he did and one of the wisest moves that Trump made early on was to promote respected architect Martin Hawtree from “links consultant” to lead designer because his vast experience particularly in working on Open courses for the R&A would prove invaluable when it came to routing holes around the dramatic dunes on the Menie Estate.
Apart from the 229-yard par three 13th, all holes are laid out in a north-south direction close to the shoreline and some have criticised this orientation as being somewhat uninspired. However, if the most exciting topography is to be found between the dune systems that run naturally along the coast then why would anyone dream of routing the fairways any other way?
As you might expect at any Trump golf facility, everything here is top spec for a links: bent and fescue grass greens, fully revetted bunkers (of which there are eighteen on the 18th), at least five tee boxes on every hole and an astonishing ten acres of grass pathways to convey golfers from one green to the next tee position all that and not a cart path in sight.
During the official opening ceremony of the course on 10th July 2012, PGA and European Tour officials spoke of Trump International Golf Links as a venue worthy of major professional golf competitions in the future. It will be interesting to see what comes its way in the years ahead.