I had no idea that the most well know symbol of American wealth was so crazy about the game of golf. I didn’t know that he played it, watched it…or had extensive financial relationships with it. Apparently, Donald Trump is passionate over the Scottish game, to the point where he has more than broken ground for a golf metropolis in Scotland. At the same time, he has plunked down 150 million for the prestigious Doral Blue Monster course, a favorite spot for pros and their families for over forty years on the PGA tour. According to Trump, he’s going to renovate it – not restore it.
Originally a Dick Wilson project, the course has already been renovated by Raymond Floyd at a cost of thirty million some time back. Trump won’t get off that easy. His big plans to make Doral the center of the golf universe will set him back another two hundred million after the purchase, and he’s tinkering with the adjoining sister courses as well, leaving the Greg Norman course across the street to its own devices.
Trump already has a tournament, not surprisingly called the Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida. That means three major projects at once, but the old cash-slinger can do it. He’s not fooling around with the personnel, either, hiring the same designer who’s on board for the Rio Olympics in 2016, Gil Hanse.
Meanwhile, the mega-golf world in the Scottish heath, the Aberdonian Golf Resort was fashioned out of the dunes by Trump, in much the same way as Doral’s 2,400 acres emerged out of an Everglades swamp.
Public relations is a continuing problem for the billionaire, and a documentary film is in progress, highlighting all the run-ins that the American entrepreneur has had with Scottish neighbors who are, number one, Scottish, and number two, Scottish land owners.
Recently, Trump took grave exception to the erection of wind generators within sight of his Shangrila course, and we shall see what comes of his duel with that pesky green energy thing. This week, he wants a neighbor to move his fence, and is threatening to take legal action in a Scottish court. The Scots find it appalling to have a guest sue a native for owning a legally situated fence along his course. It goes beyond bad form, especially for those who created the game in the first place.
Doral, however, is a home-grown project, and as soon as the seventy four guys who are playing it this week head off for other adventures, Trump hopes to get to work right away. Yes, it’s time for the Doral, a treasure trove of golf history in this country. This year, however, the course’s legendary toughness is under assault, as Bubba Watson and Justin Rose have beaten it within an inch of its life.
Watson heads into the third round leading, following his 62, followed closely by Rose’s 64. With seventeen birdies between them, it was quite a scoring fest, to the point where Tiger’s 67 and Rory’s 69 came across as disappointments. At 7,288 yards these days, the scoring average has dipped to 69.9 – and this, for a tournament that was upgraded to an international championship years ago.
No doubt, Trump will toughen the Blue Monster up, and it will be its fine old self again, but in his battle against the Scots, he may want to brush up on his British history. The Roman Empire tried to get its way, and had to build Hadrian’s wall just to keep the Scots from annihilating them as they retreated – and that was before golf. Now that they have it, they’re all the more fierce.
It will be fun to keep up with the renovation in Florida, with a projected signature island green and dangerously water-lined par 4s. But, we won’t see any wind generators or fences – I’m almost sure of it.