Every time a new links course opens somewhere in the world it is usually followed by a dire prediction it will be the last, not because there isn’t more available linksland, but because the linksland that is available is usually heavily environmentally protected. In Scotland that protection usually has the moniker Triple SI or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The Menie Estate where Trump International Scotland is located is considered an SSSI site and as such, the proposed course and resort/real estate complex was very controversial. The development had to go through several planning applications, even with the full support of the Scotland government. The Menie Estate had previously been used for controlled bird hunting that didn’t require any dune stabilization.
Building the world-class Trump International Links was a different story. Especially as it was Trump’s directive that the sea be seen from every hole. In order to achieve that goal, it was necessary to plant vast quantities of marram grass so that the dunes could withstand the construction and golfers walking.
His vision was achieved by Martin Hawtree, one of the UK’s leading golf architects, and the only word to describe the views of the North Sea from the course is – stunning. A veritable feast for the eyes and distracting for the golf swing.
Perhaps the best view is from the perch of the championship tee of the 14th hole a 445-yard, par 4. Whose challenge is the wind, keeping it off the towering dunes on the way to a perfect ribbon of fairway, framed by the beach and a lone deep bunker guarding the green.
Trump International Golf Links stretches a modern championship length of 7,400 yards from the tips. Trump left most of the design and masterful routing to Hawtree, but did have an influence on the monster 651-yard, par 5 18th, where the intimidating tee shot from an elevated green requires avoiding the eighteen strategically placed bunkers he requested.
A welcome addition to Aberdeen Golf, the 1,500-acre estate has accommodations in the MacLeod (named for his mother’s family) House & Lodge Hotel for visiting golfers and may also be hired for exclusive use. Be sure and have a wee dram or two in the Clavis Whisky Bar where the specialties are the finest of Aberdeenshire usquebaugh or “water of life” better known as Scotch.
Located in north-eastern Scotland, Aberdeen is a golfing ‘hidden gem’. It is home to several exceptional links golf courses including Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay, and is only a short drive from St Andrews.
Scotland’s third most populous city is a cultural hub, with an abundance of activities to enjoy and places to visit when you’re not on the golf course.