Trump International Golf Links - Scotland - North East Scotland - Scotland

Trump International Golf Links,
Menie Park Lodge,
Menie Estate,
Balmedie,
Aberdeenshire,
AB23 8YE,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1358 743300

Occupying a three-mile stretch of North Sea coastline between Murcar Links and Cruden Bay, Trump International Golf Links is the latest American-inspired, high profile course to open in Scotland since the start of the new millennium.

Like Renaissance Club, Castle Stuart and Machrihanish Dunes, ownership of the course lies on the US side of the Atlantic and its proprietor took seven long years to get golfers onto the first tee as he had to overcome a series of objections that were made to siting the fairways within a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

But overcome the protestations of the environmentalists and landowners is exactly what he did and one of the wisest moves that Trump made early on was to promote respected architect Martin Hawtree from “links consultant” to lead designer because his vast experience – particularly in working on Open courses for the R&A – would prove invaluable when it came to routing holes around the dramatic dunes on the Menie Estate.

Apart from the 229-yard par three 13th, all holes are laid out in a north-south direction close to the shoreline and some have criticised this orientation as being somewhat uninspired. However, if the most exciting topography is to be found between the dune systems that run naturally along the coast then why would anyone dream of routing the fairways any other way?

As you might expect at any Trump golf facility, everything here is top spec for a links: bent and fescue grass greens (that are sensibly contoured), fully revetted bunkers (of which there are eighteen on the 18th), at least five tee boxes on every hole (holes 3 and 4 have seven), and an astonishing ten acres of grass pathways to convey golfers from one green to the next tee position – all that and not a cart path in sight.

During the official opening ceremony of the course on 10th July 2012 (click here for details), PGA and European Tour officials spoke of Trump International Golf Links as a venue worthy of major professional golf competitions in the future. It will be interesting to see what comes its way in the years ahead.
If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Trump International Golf Links - Scotland

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Occupying a three-mile stretch of North Sea coastline, Trump International Golf Links is the latest American-inspired, high profile course to open in Scotland since the start of the new millennium. Rating: 8.6 out of 10 Reviews: 45
TaylorMade
Carl Reichardt
Played late April 2015, 1 club wind max, 57 F/13 C with a good caddy. Visually dazzling, but demonstrably overrated, as a golf course and an experience. The problem here is that a one-yard miss on an approach shot so often results in a 40-80 yard penalty, with such steep run-offs front and side of many greens (at 1, 4, 12, 13 just off the top of my head). Likewise, if one tries to use a backstop past a flag long on a running shot, the ball often gets stuck in an unseen swale behind a green after it goes up a back-ramp. I also have a thing against hidden swales on elevated greens because you can’t see them from the approach position. So this ends up being American target golf transported to Balmedie. I can’t imagine it in the wind (it was as benign as it comes when I played it), or when it starts getting harder and faster (since I played in spring). Obviously off the tee you must stay away from the hills, but at least those hazards are in front of you, and after the first 6 holes the playing corridors felt wider. There wasn’t a stretch of holes I really loved, though 6 is a very good par 3 and 14 is gorgeous. There’s no denying the beauty – WHAT a piece of ground! – but the pointlessness of the un-strategic pot bunkers on the 600-yard 18th sums up the course: it looks stunning, but has randomly strewn "Scottishness" for no apparent purpose, as if Trump told Hawtree “That fairway doesn’t look Scottish enough – add a dozen pots.” It didn’t help that only the 5800-yard and 7000-yard tees were open (for a fourball with each of us holding a handicap between 4 and 7) so we couldn’t play an ideal distance. Great practice pitching area; no clubhouse yet, but the club welcome was perfunctory anyway, and the temporary food/shop facilities hilariously meager (the clubhouse is supposed to open May 2015). Also, Donald, you might want to fix the misspellings in the Strokesaver. In the end, I would never choose it over Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, Nairn nor Castle Stuart, especially for the price.
April 30, 2015
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

richard
I had the privilege of playing this beautiful course in late October. I arrived as a single and was paired with two local women--one a member at Montrose, the other a member at Carnoustie—who were lovely companions and good golfers. Each and every hole is imaginative and has its own Wow factor. The wind was up throughout the round, but by the final 3 holes we were heading home into a headwind that was just brutal and which wrecked my scorecard! That final par 5, playing from 586 off the white tees, felt like 786 yards.I really think the complaints about this place are just ridiculous. Complain all you want about the man whose name is on it (and I will join in with you), but he built a terrific course, and it would be a shame to pass it by when visiting the Aberdeen area. Now, months later, I can still remember many of the holes, which in my mind is always an indication of a special golf course.
March 20, 2015
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Andrew Johnston
I had the pleasure of playing this fantastic golf course on Monday 24th November.The layout of the course is incredible, and compares with anything I have played. Considering this course is only 3 years old, and was built from scratch, it is amazing. This course has 18 signiature holes, all are challenging, we played a mixture of "gold and green" tees which enhanced everyones day, as our handicaps ranged from 0 to 21, with all numbers in between. From our party of 15, there was not one negative comment about the course.Will be back to play again, hopefully in warmer climes.As to Mr Trumps claim to be the "best golf course in the world", I dont know, I have not played them all, but it is certainly a must play for anyone who plays the game of golf.Please choose your tees carefully, to match your ability, as playing off the wrong ones will only detract from what is a truly incredible golfing experience.Well done to all the greens staff as well.
November 25, 2014
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Gordon Laing
Played this course today, in perfect weather,sunny with little wind, as it's obvious that this course will pose serious questions in a decent wind. Following a lovely breakfast following a warm welcome from the staff, we used the range and complimentary practice facilities, we made our way to the 1st tee where the friendly starter advised to play from the white tees , which were 4th longest of the choices available. This proved to be sensible for us, and our group were in full agreement, especially once we had finished!From the 1st hole to last the course in our opinion was a joy to play, with some tough holes and pleasantly accurate yardage books were valuable tools as the course wasn't available in detail on our skycaddie.The par threes are all very very good holes and they are closely followed by the par 5's and we didn't feel a particularly weak hole was on the course. We didn't lose many balls as a group - personally only one, on way to shooting 80 of a handicap of 9It is a new course and there is no doubt it will mature but this is a very strong course designed for potential tour events and it's plenty good enough to host these events. I say this as a recent player of the Old Course, Turnberry, Troon open rota courses. The course isn't the finished article but provides spectacular views, spectacular golf and an unforgettable experience. in my humble opinion.Given the opportunity I would play it again in a heartbeat, and I would recommend that this course should be on anybody's must play list.
August 31, 2014
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

Derek Goodson
If your going to claim to create the best golf course in the world, you'd better come up with something better than the 4th best course in Aberdeen. Whilst at least they are now trying to provide the native fescue fairways, too much of the imported bent grass is stil evident and completely at odds with a long links game. Whilst it isn't terrible by any means, the price is ridiculous when you consider that it simply isn't even in the same league as Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay or Murcar. All in all, play it if you're lucky enough to do so for free.
June 23, 2014
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
5 people found this review helpful

Fergal O'Leary

Trump International Golf Links - Photo by reviewerThe tee boxes, the walkways, the fairways, the aprons and the greens all have different grass seed planted. The conditioning was absolutely immaculate and you can tell that attention to detail was at a premium.

Despite its problematic start to get off the ground, the golf course is without question a magnificent creation which should not be missed when in the area. In my humble opinion, it is among the greatest courses in the UK for sure with amazing hospitality.

June 19, 2014
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Response
martin
June 23, 2014
I agree, put all controversy and Donald Trump bashing aside and focus on a fair and objective rating of the golf course. But giving the course just four stars can hardly be called fair and objective. I call it ridiculous. Yes, the condition of the course when you play it will influence your rating, and yes, there is personal taste involved, but giving this course less than five stars is just stupid.
Brian Beatty
A huge disappointment. The course, to be fair, would ordinarily be deserving of very high prize in 99% of scenarios but the hype in this instance left me feeling I had been sold a lie. It's a very, VERY good second tier course but nothing more than that. It sits below the very best as it doesn't possess that something special to leave the golfer feeling as if he or she has experienced something unique. It's just more painting by numbers than a real masterpiece and the ugly striped fairways look more Disney than dune land.
July 02, 2013
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
3 people found this review helpful

Response
kev
July 22, 2013
I fail to see how this course could "disappoint" anyone - unless you run out of balls !! And as for not experiencing "something unique" what do you want ? It would not have looked out place if Harry Potter had flown down a few of the fairways between the massive dunes on a broomstick !! Personally I dont care if (as they always do) the "great" British press have dished the dirt on DT - typical Brit attitude "he is rich and therefore bad". He may even be bad, but I do not care, he will not be able to build a new tower from my £150 green fee and it was a truly unique experince. How many of the "complainers" would accept it if their neighbour kept a scrapyard in their garden. DT as a man is immaterial to me, it is an amazing challenge and well worth any golf fanatics time to visit. My only "point of issue" with him is that why get so wound up with the wind farms - the helicopters from the rigs are a FAR more annoying blight in that area !!
Shaun
Played Trump May-13, the welcome we received from all the staff was first class without being false. Amazing course layout that I feel isn’t bettered in the UK&I, greens were immaculate, if a little slow, but the fairways need a couple of years of growth to knit, as they didn’t blend particularly well with the course.Putting aside the controversy of the build, this course is a must play but like a fine wine I would let it mature for a couple of years before enjoying.
June 05, 2013
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Marty Brown
Played Trump last week of October just before it closed for the winter. We've all heard the hype about the course and the negative TV programme against the place but I’ll speak only about the course and what I experienced. We got a first class welcome from everyone we made contact with but that is accepted at places of this nature. Quite simply every hole is stunning. While playing I reflected on how I would rank the course. For me I enjoy Royal Birkdale, especially the par 3’s. IMO the par 3’s here are better so that is some way to get a feel on how good the place is or is going to be. Previous comments made about playing off the right tees to maximize your enjoyment. This is critical, don’t massage your ego and play off tees to far back. They were top dressing the fairways as we played. I don’t know why they couldn't have waited 2 days when the course shuts for the winter. Having said that the layout is truly magnificent with some of the best run off's I’d seen. The conditioning will only get better and I'm sure it won’t be long before we see World Class players teeing it up at Trump International Links.
November 05, 2012
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

GF
I was invited to play this course earlier this year. The condition of course was fine (for a new course) but clearly needs time to settle. The greens have very little grass on them and have been dyed to appear as though there is plenty of grass on them. They are true but slow and a ball landing on them is like hitting a drum as they are very soft with no roll. The views are excellent from the elevated tees. and the course was clearly designed with this in mind. With the tees so high and exposed I suspect that the designer has failed to take into account the typical weather conditions for the area. Any ball landing in the rough is lost and there is no pointing looking for any ball which strays offline. What Trump has done to at least one of the property owners (I think around the 10th tee) is nothing short of disgraceful. He has built an earth bank all around the house and planted large fast growing hedges to prevent the occupiers from having any views at all - this is clearly the actions of a bully. I am glad I have played the course. Do I wish I was a member - no. Will I return - no. Is it worth the green fee - no. There are many courses in Scotland which are much better albeit most do not have the fantastic views of this course. Everyone in our fourball agreed with the above comments. The course is over hyped by the journalists and golf writers invited to play to provide favourable reviews.
October 22, 2012
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Tom
October 23, 2012
Excellent review and comments. I realise that this is a course rating website but one cannot ignore the general brouha that has surrounded the building of this course. Trump may have built a spectacular golf course but it does not escape the fact that it should have not have been built in the first place. This area had the highest level of environmental protection available in Scotland. It was a unique area of shifting sands now stabilised and lost. As to Trump's motives I suspect the plans for 800 houses round the course are ultimately of far more interest to him than the course. I would urge all well healed golfers to vote with their feet and not play this course.
Sandy
October 24, 2012
Trying to focus purely on the golf side of things I must disagree with the conclusion that the writers have over hyped this course. For me it has one of the finest collection of par 3s in the country. Apart from the odd positioning of the double fairway on 10, the par 5s are equally stunning. It's true that the rough is brutal in places but the fairways are very generous so if a ball ends up in the thick stuff it's usually what the shot deserved. The wide fairways also makes the course playable in the wind so claiming that Mr Hawtree failed to take the local weather into account is asking a bit much.
martin
October 25, 2012
I agree with the last comment. I played the course twice in July and still remember every hole and every shot I played. Mr. Trump might not be the most likable person on the planet, but his claim that this course will become the best in the world, is not far from the truth. For the sake of fairness, it would be best to make the assessment of Mr. Trump and his course two separate things. With regard to the environment and damage to the site: In my view Martin Hawtree and his team did a tremendous job. If you would take the flag sticks out and abandon the course, the place would get his original form back in no time. Which in my view is a sign of great and responsible golf course architecture.
James
December 06, 2012
it's a shame that some people have chosen to use this review page for golf courses as a way to have a go at Trump! I have played the course twice and I will return again next year as I think this course is amazing and will only get better as it matures. As somebody else said in one of the reviews I can remember every hole on the course which in my view is high praise. I have played a few of the top courses in Scotland and I would say this is by far the best I have played to date.
David
December 07, 2012
It does look beautiful, but it actually looked much more so before, so what you're seeing is a spoilt landscape. The sad reality is that playing this course will always leave a nasty stain on the reputation of anyone who plays it. When Clinton plays it next year, it will be branded as the Monica Lewinsky of golf courses and that tag will stick fast.
Sandy
December 08, 2012
By David's reasoning every golf course on the planet would be a "spoilt landscape". Were you opposed to the opening of Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, Machrihanish Dunes or what about Barnbougle Dunes, Lost Farm or the courses at Bandon? If not, why not? Fortunately playing a golf course does not stain anyone's reputation. I'd advise you to take up the game and enjoy the course as your comments are not those of a real golfer.