Controversial Trump

Added on October 24th, 2012 by
Posted in New courses reviewed, TV Coverage

The controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s new golf course near Aberdeen has ballooned since the BBC recently screened what was commonly regarded as an anti-Trump documentary, a cleverly amusing and if not so serious, a funny portrayal of a driven man, who was  given by the BBC no right of reply at the end.

It is important to recognise that three separate issues are involved here

and they should not all be lumped together as certain commentators have done.

trump international links, finest golf courses1) How fine is the course?

The simple answer is world-class. See the FineGolf review in full for a more honest and comprehensive analysis of the entire project.

2) How environmentally conservationist is Trump’s project?

Some self-proclaimed ‘environmentalists’ have accused him of stabilizing an area of (what was) naturally drifting sand but 95% of the adjacent SSSI area has been left safely untouched. It is not surprising that the vast majority of the local population welcome a £1bn investment in return for the loss of a mere 5% of the SSSI.

3) How well did Trump conduct himself in dealings with the nearby residents?

Trump undoubtedly played legal ‘hardball’ to drive through the project but equally nobody should assume, because the BBC screened it, that Anthony Baxter’s take on Trump as gospel truth. This film reminded me of the very contentious films made by the American socialist millionaire Michael Moore a few years back.

Trump upheld the incumbent residents’ right to stay by not threatening to invoke Compulsory Purchase Orders available to him. Although it did not help Trump’s cause to accuse the most vocal incumbent of living in a pig-sty, the first two of the above three issues should not be lost beneath a deluge of sympathy for a few residents who lost part of their view and a nice place to walk.

What shocks FineGolf is:

1) the BBC’s poor editorial judgement

2) the lack of any upbeat comment from the game of golf’s leaders at a time when this film is giving golf the wrong kind of publicity

Perhaps the current investigations of how the BBC screened this film by the Trust and Ofcom give some reason to withhold comment on the third issue, we might agree. However, this course has surely adopted a sound environmental approach that offers wildlife protection and has also committed itself, like all fine ‘running’ courses, to a conservationist, low input of fertiliser, water and pesticide chemicals. This overall philosophy should be applauded from the very roof tops.

READ FineGolf’s REVIEW  of  Trump International Golf Links

Reader Comments

On November 25th, 2012 Ian Henderson Said:

Great balance of views on the Trump Course. My club, Renaissance faced similar challenges appertaining to SSSI land. There is no question that the biodiversity of the area has improved dramatically since the course was built. In years to come people will appreciate the stabilisation Donald Trump has brought to the Menie Sands. He may be controversial, but he puts his money down and makes things happen. Lets hope the second course goes ahead and further adds to the area. Well done Mr Trump.

On November 26th, 2012 Andy Hiseman Said:

Hi Lorne: a small correction, the film maker Anthony Baxter invited the Trump organisation to respond on-camera to the issues covered in YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED, but the Trump people declined. I believe that the BBC felt that this had been covered adequately and that there was no need to offer Trump a subsequent right to reply, as he’d declined the offer once. Best wishes: Andy Hiseman

Dear Andy,

Thank you for your best wishes and raising what you believe to be the BBC’s defence in this matter. I think we can all agree that it was likely to have been an easy decision for the BBC editors to ignore the ‘right-wing’ Trump’s protestation’s of bias in this film, while coupled with him also attacking a core BBC policy (as exposed recently by the 28Gate scandal) of supporting ‘renewable’ windfarm development, and screen what is an anti-Trump film.

FineGolf has suggested that golfers should separate the three issues of : 1) course design, 2) the conservational aspects of the project and 3) the politics.

On the one hand, the independent FineGolf, which takes no party-political side, is nevertheless at liberty to promulgate its own values on conservationism, reflected in our strident promotion of Jim Arthur’s natural approach to greenkeeping and agronomy, that includes minimum use of inputs of fertiliser, water and pesticides. We believe Trump is in step with this conservationist approach.

On the other hand the national broadcaster, funded by £3.5 billion of tax-payer money, is inevitably open to criticism when it attempts to undermine this major £1 billion investment in the North East Scottish economy that has been welcomed by the majority (polls say 90%) of the area’s population.

In this instance FineGolf would not be surprised if the public’s trust in the Corporation’s fairness and unbiased nature is undermined.

Regards Lorne

On November 26th, 2012 andy hart Said:

I ask myself some questions regarding the construction of this new golf course.

1) was it for the benefit of the people living in the immediate area. I think not. It seems to me that Trump is only interested in making money from the course and the homes and hotels to be constructed at the site. (ED: creating wealth helps the world go round! but there is another view that he is a golf nut and irrespective of the cost wants to leave a legacy)

2 Local golfers will not benefit from the course because it is far to expensive for them to be able to play.
There was very little involvement by local firms in the construction of the course, most of it was done by outsiders. (ED: If the windfarm is stopped and the £1billion investment happens, the local economy will be boosted.)
The red herring of claiming that it has improved the environment of the surrounding area is a joke. (ED: This is a crucial question and seeding the course with Bents and fescue grasses, it suggests the course will have a conservationist pedigree.)

3 Never mind whether of not this course is going to be of outstanding quality or not, the fact is that it was not required, many courses can not attract new members, and it is out of reach of the majority of golfers. (ED: Golf has never been egalitarian but particularly in Scotland there are fine clubs for everyone. Scotland has been lucky with recent overseas investment to give it Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, The Renaissance, Dundonald Links and others, all high quality ‘running’ courses. They all help the important golf tourist trade, who come to Scotland to get away from ‘target-style’ courses.)

4 my personal opinion is that we have allowed a brash bully to override local peoples wishes. The same greed was evident with the course at Loch Lomond, where the average golfer is barred because of cost or snobbery. (ED: Polls suggest some 90% of the locals would welcome the £1 billion investment)
I would not play this course even if was for free.

On November 27th, 2012 Terry Heneaghan Said:

I can’t wait to play this masterpiece. I sympathise with Trump’s problems in getting this golfing complex built in the face of opposition from petty liberal/green planning beaurocrats. Trump is to be applauded for his tenacity and I wholly agree with his “expert” views on wind farms.

On May 30th, 2013 Steve Killick Said:

Apart from the dreadful way that Trump has treated both some of the residents of Balmenie as well as his harassment of the freelance journalist covering the story, the question I ask myself is does this part of Scotland need another golf course, especially one with a hotel and extensive housing?

How many will ever buy a time share in Northern Aberdeenshire? If a grand hotel further south at the beautiful Cruden Bay failed because of such a short season why should another, larger one succeed?

And how can the development of houses and a hotel be seen as good for the environment even if the course accords to modern ideas of sensitive environmental handling? This is a SSSI, some of which will be destroyed in an area that has absolutely no need for another golf complex of this magnitude, especially with Murcar Links, Royal Aberdeem and Cruden Bay all within easy strike.

Dear Steve,
You may be right that this development may not succeed commercially but the majority of the locals welcome the investment. Yours Lorne