Got to be honest, when I woke up the other day and heard that Donald Trump had bought the Turnberry ‘resort’, and was planning to re-name it Trump Turnberry, I actually thought that I was still dreaming, or it was 1st April.
But no. It’s true. Astonishing – but true.
Some years ago, the golf-loving billionaire began the development of Menie, on the Aberdeenshire coast Many local residents fought a long and bitter battle with the Trump global empire. More recently, Mr Trump personally objected to the ‘ugly’ off-shore wind-farm development proposals that he claimed would spoil his view. There was some sweet symmetry in that, we mused. (No musing – Ed)
So anyway, now Turnberry has been Trumped. On one hand, it’s potentially a huge investment boost for the course, the hotel and the locality. On the other hand, some of the best golf in Scotland is played on courses with no club-house to speak of, ‘trust’ payments of green fees and a cuppa in the cafe afterwards.
We can’t afford golf on a gold-platter. But that’s OK, because actually, we don’t want it. It’s amazing to play the ‘best’ courses, and naturally, keen golfers at whatever level they play, often want to ‘collect’ games on iconic golf courses.
However, exclusive imagery is one of the problems that dogs golf. ‘It’s not for the likes of us’. It’s not really true. Golf is enjoyed by all sorts of people at courses all over the world, some exclusive, some old-school artisan, with most falling in between.
It is true, though, that it can still be – usually more subtly, these days – ‘class-ridden’.
And increasingly, there is a trend towards mega-expensive round fees, topped off with luxury facilities, Michelin star restaurants, and an army of operatives to fold your towel or park your car. Personally, that sort of fawning makes me cringe, not that I’ve had much of it. I also doubt, but the results of my extensive research are not verified yet, so I can’t prove it, that it makes you play any better by even one shot.
Even if we could afford this stellar-golf experience, to be honest, we’d rather not play at (or worse, join) a club or course that out-prices the ‘average’ local working or retired golfer.
We also believe, because we know how beautiful golf courses and their environments can be, that golf courses need not blight the landscapes in which they are set. But nonetheless, episodes such as Trump and the Menie course, do give off very potent signals to people, especially non-golfers, and can reinforce what are usually unrealistic stereotypes
Golf really shouldn’t – and need not – cost the earth..