Review for Trump International Golf Links - Scotland

Reviewer Score:


One thing Donald Trump (or his children) does very well is golf. Every golf course I have played that he is involved in has been a gem and Trump International Scotland is no different. It is superb.

Putting bragging and ego aside, the dunes are probably the biggest/tallest I have ever played on several of the holes. Certainly on 14 I have not seen any larger. There are large dunes from the very beginning much like Royal Aberdeen, Ballybunion Old, or several of the holes on the back nine at Tralee or Trump International Ireland (Doonbeg).

I loved the golf course from the first tee shot all the way in. Yes, the routing is primarily out and back for both nines, but that is the routing that took the best advantage of the landscape/terrain. There is not a hole design that I would change and for me, that is a high compliment.

My only slight criticism is that on the beginning holes there is no relief if you miss the fairway by only a yard as the grass is very high. However, the fairways are wide enough to hit so it does take a poor shot to miss them. But if the wind is up, the fairways shrink a lot and so the tall grass comes immediately into play.

It has a very good mixture of long and short holes, straight holes and doglegs.

Normally I don't like beginning on a par five but this is such a good hole that I thought it was great. I liked how the green was raised and set against the side of the hill.

I liked the view from the second tee to this gentle dogleg left and the strategy involved with the tee shot and the burn. There is another good green on this hole.

The third hole with the view of the water is a nice downhill par 3 offering a chance to save par if you miss the green with your tee shot.

The fourth hole with the burn to the right down nearly all of the fairway forces you left off the tee. For your second shot, you need to navigate 11 bunkers, on this par five. For the long hitter there are only two bunkers that are greenside. It is a fun green to play into.

The fifth hole is a breather hole if you can avoid the fairway bunker near the middle of the fairway. It has a lovely view of the hole from the tee to this slightly raised green. Don't go long over the green due to the grass behind.

The sixth hole, the second par three, is one of the weaker holes on the front....unless the wind is in your face. The pin can be partially hidden if back left and the bunker front right is very punitive.

Then comes the weakest hole, the very short par 4 7th hole. It is definitely a birdie opportunity as you go down, then up to the green. While there is a large swale right front of the green, it really should not come into play.

This easy hole is followed by perhaps the best hole on the golf course, the wonderful eighth hole, a long par four that has enormous penalty for missing to the right. There are no greenside bunkers, thankfully, because if you take the safer line to the left off the tee, you are left with a blind shot into the green. This hole is just about perfect.

The ninth hole is another superb long par 4 and has a very good green complex. It is a very long green with swales and 3 bunkers also to protect it.

It has been a wonderful front nine and the back nine is just as good, if not better.

Ten for me is the weakest hole on the golf course. This par five offers a wide fairway for your first shot, and a large bailout area to the right for your second which is the angle you want to play anyway into this green that is hidden to the left behind a mound. However, the green might be the most difficult on the golf course with its four tiers. A two putt is not certain due to the undulations on the green.

The eleventh is a wonderful par four dogleg right with another very good green complex, with 3 bunkers in front defending the green. You have to be left off the tee to have a look at the green.

12 feels very much the same as 11 in terms of another dogleg right but the tee shot and green complexes are very different. For me, 11 has the better green but 12 is more fun to play into.

13 is a par three that ranges in left from 120 to 230 yards. Pick the tee that best suits you depending on the wind. I have played each tee and enjoyed the hole from any of them. It is another very good green, slightly raised so if you miss it, you will have some elevation to judge for your chip.

14 is one of the most memorable holes you will ever play as the tee is high up and all you seem to see is a narrow fairway surrounded by large dunes and a hole that looks 600 yards long but actually from the back tee is only about 450. You get a nice view of the coastline from here. Walk to the back tee for the view even if you play forward.

15 for me is the second weakest hole on the back nine, but it is still a good hole. There are more bunkers to consider on your tee shot than on any other hole on the course. I also found this green to be different than the other holes because it is placed to present a narrower view for your second shot.

16 continues the tradition of this course for a par 3 to either play very short or long, with tees ranging from 110-195 yards. There are dunes all around this hole and bunkers everywhere except the right side. It is a very cleverly designed golf hole. If no one is behind us, we walk back to the tee to play it a second time.

17 kicks in hard. It is a long par 4 with trouble all down the left to a green that is more difficult than it appears even if there is only one bunker.

Then you arrive for another splendid view on the par five finishing hole. It is long....650 yards all the way back and 586 for the "member" tee. With the elevation it plays slightly shorter if the wind is not against you. There is danger everywhere on this golf hole, water left off the tee, and 18 bunkers to navigate throughout the hole. It is a terrific green complex due to all of those bunkers that begin about 80 yards in front of the green. The green seems to have sections to it so if you don't arrive on the right level, you are staring at a difficult putt.

I strongly recommend playing here. It is one of the best golf courses I have ever played.

The service and driving range are fabulous. The food is very good. It is pricey inside the pro shop.

I don't think this course can hold a tournament with large crowds. I don't know where the people would walk given how quickly the dunes begin next to some of the fairways. That is a pity given the quality of the golf course.

I stayed in the main house with the fountain in front. It was fantastic.

A must-play.

Date: October 01, 2019

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