An instant classic: Trump International review
Why Trump International Golf Links is already one of Scotland's finest
Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen is already being hailed as an instant classic. Here's why...
Very few courses to have opened over the last 50 years have garnered as much acclaim as Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, and even fewer have breached the top 15 of Golf Monthly’s Top biennial 100 UK & Ireland Courses rankings at the first time of asking.
All those familiar with Sunningdale’s Old course (13) and Waterville (15) will know how impressive a feat that is. And, with a brand new clubhouse and the course maturing beautifully, the only way is up for a resort that’s indisputably one of Scotland’s finest, despite only opening three years ago.
The course itself is an absolute treat, although that’s only one of the facets – albeit a significant one – of the Trump offering. The opulent clubhouse, impressive practice facilities and amenable atmosphere combine with the golf to provide an all-round experience you’ll struggle to match elsewhere.
It’s rare to be able to picture every single hole on a golf course months after playing it, but most who’ve taken on the stunning links near Aberdeen will be able to recall all of them vividly.
Dr Martin Hawtree, the man responsible for this creation, has forged a sublime layout that routes its way through towering dunes. It rises in parts to reveal majestic views of the North Sea coastline, while other holes play in secluded valleys inhabited by native vegetation. Trump Scotland’s variation is one of its greatest strengths.
Each hole comes equipped with six different tee markers – recognition that all golfers are welcome here. It’s not the ostentatious resort you might expect; in fact, it’s far from it. The bunkers have even been designed to challenge the stronger player while ensuring that weaker golfers aren’t punished excessively.
It’s also a layout that gives golfers decent aiming zones off the tee. If you stray into the heavy rough you’re in trouble, but there’s more than enough of the short stuff to aim for.
Again, the designers must be commended for creating a course that’s not excessively and unnecessarily difficult. In terms of routing, it’s not your standard out-and-back links, meaning half the holes on each nine play into the wind, and half downwind.
It’s far less demoralising than reaching the turn on a classic links layout and bracing yourself for the run for home with a gale blowing directly into your face!
Trump International Golf Links, as you might expect, has a higher-than-average green fee, but the unequivocal consensus is that is provides great value for money. It’s hard to think of a stand-out hole on the course, purely because they are all so good.
The par 3s are as good a set as anywhere in the UK, with the 3rd one of the most picturesque holes anywhere in the world. Unsurprisingly, the conditioning of the golf course is also exceptional.
In the words of Golf Monthly contributing editor and Top 100 senior panellist, Rob Smith: “This is an instant classic which pays its respects to the past while offering something quite new. I would unreservedly recommend Trump Scotland to anyone who loves golf.”
Away from the course, there’s plenty more to note. Trump himself was in Scotland earlier this year to unveil the resort’s new clubhouse. You won’t be surprised to learn that no expense has been spared, but it’s not over the top.
In fact, it’s relatively inconspicuous within the complex and the interior pays subtle tribute to Scotland, with wood panelling and tartans used throughout. It’s a great post-round retreat, without the stuffy, formal vibe many would expect from such a resort. The staff are friendly yet professional, laid-back but diligent.
The final piece of the Trump jigsaw is the practice facilities, which are truly outstanding. Even those who swear by the tea and bacon sandwich warm-up approach will be sorely tempted to make use of the facilities, and particularly the short-game area.
The roughly two-acre site is populated with small raised greens with run-off areas, some of which are surrounded by little pot bunkers. Crucially, the conditioning mirrors what you’ll find on the course.
It only seems like a matter of time until a tournament of significant stature is played at Trump International Golf Links. It’s nothing short of exceptional in a whole host of areas and it’s improving all the time.
But don’t just take our word for in. In fact, we’ll challenge you to find anyone who has anything other than glowing praise for this special Scottish resort.
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email email@example.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Golf Officials React To PGA Tour, DP World Tour And LIV Merger
Officials from The R&A, USGA, LPGA and Augusta National have given their thoughts on the news
By Mike Hall • Published
'One Of The Saddest Days In The History Of Professional Golf' - Brandel Chamblee
The Golf Channel analyst revealed that he was 'hugely disappointed' by the recent LIV Golf/PGA Tour merger news
By Matt Cradock • Published
Best Golf Courses In Lancashire
Although the very best golf courses in Lancashire are its brilliant collection of championship links, there is great variety within these as well as plenty of excellent inland golf
By Rob Smith • Published
Best Golf Courses In Yorkshire
There are some incredible courses (and value) to be enjoyed in Yorkshire and they can also boast three Ryder Cup courses
By Mark Townsend • Last updated
Best Golf Courses In Sussex
There's wonderful golfing variety to be found in both East and West Sussex. We pick out the star attractions of the two counties
By Jeremy Ellwood • Published
15 Bucket List Golf Courses You Have To Play
An incredible selection of layouts showcasing the tremendous variety planet golf has to offer
By Fergus Bisset • Published
10 Best Winter Sun Golf Breaks
As travel restrictions ease, we run down 10 great last-minute destinations you might consider for warm weather golf this winter.
By Fergus Bisset • Published
Infinitum – One Of Europe’s Most Highly Sought-After Lifestyle And Leisure Experiences
Discover Infinitum, one of Europe’s most highly sought-after lifestyle and leisure experiences, showcasing world-class golf, modern gastronomy, off-course activities, and a contemporary beach club.
By in partnership with Infinitum • Last updated
Golf Breaks In The UK You Can Book Right Now
Here are some ideas for golf breaks in the UK you can book right now...
By Fergus Bisset • Published
Verdura Resort Reveals New Golf Course
The Verdura Resort will open in October later this year, and now golfers can see what's on offer at the spectacular new course.
By Ryan Dabbs • Published