In 2006, Donald Trump purchased a 1,400-acre plot of land on the grounds of the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, with the intention of building the “world’s best golf course.” For such a lofty goal, the end result is not that far off.
Could it have been Trump’s Scottish heritage that helped him discover land so perfectly suited for golf? Maybe, but appointing Dr. Martin Hawtree as lead designer certainly didn’t hurt. Hawtree was originally brought on as a links consultant, but when the project was met by pushback from locals, environmental groups and the like, Trump promoted Hawtree in response.
Promoting Hawtree to lead designer would prove beneficial, as his vast experience was invaluable when it came to routing holes around dunes described by Trump as “the biggest in the world.” To make the most of the dunes, all of the holes run north to south along the shoreline. Save for the 13th that is, which instead plays west to east.
The 13th hole is a 229-yard par three that cascades down a slope into a river of marram grass. When asked which holes were his favorites, Hawtree responded, “All the holes were my favorites as we were building them, but I do particularly love the par threes.” When playing the 13th, it’s clear to see why.
All in all, the course at Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen took seven long years to develop. It was a labor of love, and it shows. Everything at Trump International is top spec, from the sensibly contoured bent and fescue grass greens to the fully revetted bunkers to having at least five tee boxes on every hole. This may not actually be the world’s best course, but it’s no doubt one of them.