Although some, such as Mr Bennett, have vowed to resist the initiative, most appear to have been won over by Mr Trump. A detailed study of the development’s impact on the environment, and the public backing of Jack McConnell, Scotland’s First Minister, is also likely to head off concerns over the future of the many birds that breed in the 2½ mile stretch of sand dunes where the courses will be built.
Indeed, it seems that the main threat to Trump International Golf Links is from a source that the billionaire may have overlooked: weather. In winter, snow can drift up to five feet deep, and a typical day includes 70mph winds. When Mr Trump arrived for a fleeting visit this year, his comb-over haircut was given a battering by a moderate gale as he stepped off his jet. He appears not to have taken the hint.
Even in summer the sea haar — a fog that rolls in from the North Sea — can reduce visibility to just metres. Mr Bennett, 43, said: “We lose an average of two days per week from June to September from the haar.” His wife, Anne, 40, added: “It can be so bad that I’ve written off a car in daylight before.”
Whether anyone at Aberdeenshire Council has mentioned the weather to Mr Trump is not clear. One local said: “He’s going to need luminous golf balls or 40ft-high fans to blow it all away.”
As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match.