Trump International Golf Links finally arrives
After a seven-year gestation period, Trump International Golf Links finally arrives
10th July 2012
The skirl of the bagpipes announced the impending arrival of the owner at the 1st tee for the opening ceremony at the new Trump International Golf Links. Sure enough, looking back down the grass path towards the clubhouse, Donald Trump and architect Martin Hawtree could be seen leading a throng of family, friends and invited guests towards the tee box on hole number one where, amongst the many press members, the Top 100 team were in attendance.
Martin Hawtree, whose company celebrate 100 years of golf course design this year, was introduced and he spoke of the privilege it had been to work on such a wonderful piece of property, providing as he put it, the final five per cent of effort to finish a project that Nature had all but completed.
Three heavyweights from the professional world of golf were next up to speak at the microphone, led by Colin Montgomerie. Monty called the course a masterpiece that would only mature and get better as the years progress, adding that it made him very proud to be Scottish.
Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, followed the former Ryder Cup captain. His opening words of “I love this place” pretty much established the tone for the remainder of his speech. Sandy thinks the Trump course will end up as one of the top three courses in the world… though he’s not sure which courses will fill the number 2 and number 3 slots.
George O’Grady, European Tour CEO, then gave the clearest of signals that the Trump course is destined for bigger things by saying the Tour will work with the owner in the future “to bring the right event to the course” – who knows how short lived the Scottish Open’s tenure at Castle Stuart might be?
Finally, Donald Trump took time to thank all the people who had been involved in the seven-year process of building the course on the Menie Estate and everyone from architects to construction teams, from Trump employees to Trump family members was given a mention.
After the red ribbon was cut to mark the opening of the course, it was time for a snap of the participants in the opening four-ball: (left to right) George O’Grady, Donald Trump, Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Jones. Donald Trump led the way with the first tee shot, followed by Monty then Sandy, before George O’Grady ducked out to allow European Tour commercial director James Finnigan to take his place.
As Mr Trump and company set off down the first fairway, we got a chance to have a quick word with Martin Hawtree and Michael O’Leary, managing director of SOL golf construction, who built the course. Both men were obviously very proud of what had been achieved on the Menie site but we wanted to find out what they were up to elsewhere.
One of the subjects we raised was related to possible improvements at Ballybunion’s Cashen course, where the architect has been consulting, and Mr Hawtree indicated some work was about to be carried out by SOL at several of the holes. Michael O’Leary also mentioned his company were embarking on an exciting new project in Liege, where the course would take two years to complete.
We will, of course, keep a watchful eye on both these new developments.
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