People ask me ‘What’s Donald Trump really like, and is he good for golf?’
When I tell people what I do for a living, two questions usually pop up. The first is, “Have you been to Augusta and, if so, is it really as good as it looks on TV?” The answer is yes, several times, and it is. Better, in fact. The second question is, “Have you met Tiger Woods?” The answer this time is no. Throughout his career, Woods has travelled with a large team of bodyguards tasked with keeping journalists, fans and, at times, even other players at arm’s length from their man. So tight has been the security cordon, the media has joked it would be easier to get an interview with the President of the United States than the winner of 14 majors.
On that note, a third question has emerged following the election that recently took place across the pond. “What’s Donald Trump really like, and is he good for golf?” This time, I can provide some insight.
About 18 months ago, I was invited to play golf with Trump at his Trump International Links in Aberdeen. Having recently acquired Turnberry in Ayrshire and Doonbeg in Ireland, he was over for a brief inspection tour. Politics aside, over dinner the night before, Trump was a charming host and an engaging conversationalist. On the golf course the following day, he was a relaxed and fun playing partner. We talked about his philosophy on course design and, in particular, his planned changes for Turnberry. Trump told me he felt the Ailsa was overrated, but not to worry because he was going to turn it into one of the best golf courses on the planet. Although I took his comments with a pinch of salt, I was delighted to find he had actually over-delivered on his promise when I played the revamped layout earlier this year. You can read more about our round on page 60.
Only time will tell if Trump turns out to be an accomplished politician, but if we can learn anything from the work he has done to his courses, you have to say he’s pretty good at making them great again!