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.
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Reviews for Trump International Golf Links - Scotland

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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: 47
TaylorMade
Martin Jordan

Tens of thousands of words have been written about the Trump International course at Balmedie, 12 miles north of Aberdeen, but I can describe this new kid on the golfing block it in just one word…WOW!!

Wow, from the first difficult drive to the last knock kneed putt, the course is quite simply magnificent. I also discovered that none of the many online images do it justice, as nothing comes close to the real thing.

I Trump Internation Golf Links - Aberdeen - Photo by reviewerlove the way that the course is designed so you can’t see the following hole. It is like opening 18 spectacular Christmas presents and it reminded me a lot of the back 9 at Hillside, which had a similar effect on me.

Your first task before teeing off is to choose your tee for the day. There are 6 to choose from, (7 on the first), ranging from 7428 to 5215yards. My advice is simple, leave your machismo in the changing room and choose a day which will allow you to enjoy the experience.

We chose to play off the white tees which at 6329 yards, was plenty for us. At this stage I would like to say a special work of thanks to Austin, our starter, who was an absolute star. He was the one who suggested that we played from the whites and his 5 minutes of tips, humour and anecdotes was greatly appreciated and really set the tone for our day. This is the normally the part of any review that I separate the wheat from the chaff. Well I have to rip that script up, because there is no chaff whatsoever at Trump International, just 18 wonderful golf holes.

Trump International Golf Links - Aberdeen - Photo by reviewerIf I have to single anything out then it would be the par 3’s at 3 and 6, which are unforgettable, and a slight negative would be the bunkering on the home hole, which is a tad excessive. That being said I enjoyed the fact that it was bunker laden in places, as it encourages you to use brains as opposed to brawn and I find that appealing and challenging.

My final bit of advice is not to worry too much about your score. It is Big Boy’s golf and errant shots may be punished.My playing partner and I both have handicap’s in the early teens, but we both scored into 3 figures, which translated into low 20’s in stableford points, but we both agreed that the score didn’t matter it was all about the overall experience, which was simply fantastic.

Martin Hawtree’s task was to create the ‘World’s Greatest Golf Course’. Now, I can’t say for certain if he actually fulfilled the brief, what I can say is he has created a masterpiece, which may just be my new Number 1 course, and one which I feel, is well equipped to host the Open or the Ryder Cup in the coming years.

MPPJ

June 01, 2015
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

It’s been some time now since Top 100 correspondent Brian Ward played here, so I took the opportunity yesterday to check out how the course at Trump International was progressing. Much has been said about the layout’s conditioning since it opened so I was keen to find out just how it was shaping up. On arrival at the newly opened clubhouse, the verdant colours of the putting and short game area had me a little worried that the fairways and greens out on the course might be of a similar dark green hue. Thankfully, the strong viridescent tints at this “front of house” facility were never replicated elsewhere and I was able to enjoy truly firm and fast conditions from tee to green on each of the eighteen holes.

Enhancing the traditional Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen - Photo by reviewerlinks look, the once “striped cut” fairways have now been replaced with traditional “half one way, half the other” mowing lines, which is just a small visual example of what’s being done to provide an authentic links golf experience here.

Having walked parts of the course on the day it was officially opened three years ago, I thought I had a reasonable idea of how it would actually play but I wasn’t fully prepared for things like the wonderful way the elevated tees are benched into the dunes, the generous width on many of the fairways or the frighteningly severe run off areas that exist around many of the greens.

On the front nine, the 3rd is a world class par three which has one of the best seaside locations of any hole that I’ve played anywhere. The short par four 7th is another brilliant hole on the outward half, played to an almost peninsula green that falls away steeply on three sides. There’s another fabulous par three on the more subdued back nine at the 13th, followed immediately by a tough par four that plays along the shoreline towards a raised green that still allows a low, running approach.

It wasn’t all positive right enough. I don’t think the split fairway on either side of a wetland area on hole 10 works well and I also struggled to understand the strategic value of having so Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen - Photo by reviewermany fairway bunkers clustered together on the approaches to both the 4th and 18th holes.

And I’m not wild about having so many greens on a links where the best (sometimes only) means of approach is through the air, as opposed to along the ground.

Nevertheless, these are all design traits that might just provide keen après golf topics of discussion for golfers relaxing back in the cosy confines of the new clubhouse after their round.

Speaking to Steven Wilson, the Links Superintendent, he confirmed that an extensive overseeding program had been initiated some time ago to propagate the correct grasses that will allow Trump International to exhibit its links credentials to the full. Steve assured me that the club management are listening to people that matter, be they experienced staff like himself or visiting professional golfers, in order to have the course looking and playing at its very best.

If the current development program continues as it is now, with the enthusiasm and commitment of staff on the ground like Mr Wilson, then Trump International has every chance of realizing its full potential. Truth be told, the course is not that far off the mark right now...

Jim McCann.

May 26, 2015
9 / 10
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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 29, 2015
6 / 10
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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
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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
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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 30, 2014
10 / 10
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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 22, 2014
4 / 10
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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 18, 2014
8 / 10
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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 01, 2013
6 / 10
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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 04, 2013
10 / 10
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