A Plea for Push­carts

Go­ing old school is what Trump’s new place needs

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

hen Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point opened this year, many peo­ple were sur­prised to learn that New York City owned a golf course in the Bronx – but it ac­tu­ally owns four, and one of them,Van Cort­landt Park, is the old­est muny in the United States.Three friends and I took a day trip to nd out whether the new one is as good as peo­ple have been say­ing.And I can re­port that it is. ▶ Ferry Point was built on an old land ll. Con­struc­tion was blocked for more than 20 years by en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, protests

Wfrom neigh­bours, prob­lems with con­trac­tors, and mis­man­age­ment by the city, but the re­sult is terri c.

The course was de­signed by Jack Nick­laus, Jim Lipe and John San­ford, and it’s a wor­thy trib­ute to Scot­tish and Ir­ish links golf, in­clud­ing wind, but with back­drops that fea­ture the Em­pire State Build­ing, the ceme­tery where Charles Lind­bergh at­tempted to ran­som his kid­napped son, and the Bronx-White­stone Bridge.The course is op­er­ated for the city by Don­ald Trump, who has a 20-year lease – hence the name.

My only beef about Ferry Point is that, even though walk­ing is sup­pos­edly en­cour­aged, push­carts and pull­carts are not al­lowed. My friends and I ran into the su­per­in­ten­dent dur­ing our round, and I asked him whether that pro­hi­bi­tion had a ba­sis in agron­omy. He said that it did not, so when I got home I called the man whose name is spelled out in stone let­ters on a grassy bank next to the park­ing lot, fac­ing the bridge.

“It’s an amaz­ing place, and I did a great job,”Trump said when I told him we had loved the course. “I know how to build. I’m a plus-5 at build­ing.” I com­plained about the push­cart ban. “Yeah, that’s be­cause they don’t look proper on a course like that,” he said.“You know, we’re do­ing a very high-level job, and we don’t like the look of a push­cart.” He said he doesn’t like golf carts, either, al­though Ferry Point has lots of those.

Trump’s prej­u­dice against push­carts is mostly un­known in other high-level golf places. You can use a push­cart on the Old Course at St An­drews (much of the time), and at Royal County Down, and at Ban­don Dunes. And if you have the good for­tune to play Royal Mel­bourne, you’ll be asked to roll your push­cart over the greens. (Why not? It weighs less than a mower.) My friends and I picked up the push­cart habit in Scot­land in 2008, and in the years since then many other mem­bers of our club have be­come con­verts.

Push­carts are good for ju­nior golfers, be­cause they take the strain o grow­ing bones, and they’re good for older golfers, be­cause they al­low peo­ple with in­creas­ingly ten­der knees, shoul­ders and backs to keep walk­ing. It’s only in Amer­ica that they’re looked down on as the sort of thing that the sort of peo­ple who play pub­lic golf cour­ses might be in­ter­ested in.

Trump told me that he wants golfers to take cad­dies. I’m all for cad­dies, but Ferry Point has a lim­ited num­ber, and, be­sides, they’re $115 (R1 600) per bag. And golf with cad­dies can be slow. My friends and I walked and car­ried, af­ter dump­ing ex­cess gear in our cars, and we were held up on ev­ery shot by the group ahead of us, which con­sisted of four golfers and two dou­ble-bag­gers.They played as slowly as four golfers in two golf carts – which is say­ing some­thing – mostly be­cause the golfers had to stand around do­ing noth­ing while their cad­dies tra­versed from hook to slice and back again.

Well, com­plain­ing about slow play is like com­plain­ing about the weather. I asked Trump how his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign was go­ing.

“We’re do­ing well,” he said. “I’m No 2 in the polls.”

“I saw that,” I said. “It’s frightening.” I told him that, even so, I hoped he’d stay in the race through the rst de­bate. He said he didn’t think that would be a prob­lem.

What might be a prob­lem is hang­ing on to Ferry Point. At the time we talked,Trump had just been dropped as a busi­ness part­ner by Univi­sion, NBC, Macy’s and Serta, over re­marks he had made about peo­ple from Mex­ico, and the City of New York, for the same rea­son, was re­view­ing his con­tract for Ferry Point. If the city’s lawyers do nd a way out, I have just one sug­ges­tion. . . .

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