The Donald Comes To Aberdeenshire

It reads like an April Fool's Day joke (£14 million pounds to build 36 holes on dunes!?), but here are the gory details on The Donald's plans for his Scottish development:

The development, which will be known as Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, will be comprised of two championship golf courses, a five-star hotel with associated facilities, a state-of-the-art golf academy and a turf grass research centre. The development will also include a mixed use residential element.

The courses will be Donald J. Trump Signature Designs, in association with Tom Fazio, nephew of the legendary American golf course architect Tom Fazio, and his firm, Tom Fazio II, LLC. The land, which is set among towering dunes beside the North Sea, has been acquired. Planning and permitting is underway and work is scheduled to commence by September 2006, with a course opening scheduled for spring 2008.

"Mr Trump was committed to identify a world-class traditional links site in the Home of Golf and Menie Estate was chosen because it satisfies all of the strict project criteria set out by The Trump Organization," said Ashley Cooper, executive vice president, Acquisitions and Development for The Trump Organization. "Our goal is to create the greatest links golf courses in Scotland as part of a golf development that will become the finest in Europe, if not the world."

And this, courtesy of reader Steven T.:

The final cost of the project is estimated to be more than £287million, although that will depend on the outcome of a planning application to be submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in May.

The company said last night that the Menie Estate had been chosen ahead of 200 other sites in Europe, reviewed by the billionaire property mogul himself over the course of five years.

Mr Trump is said to have been "overwhelmed" by the sand dunes and coastline, which he hopes to turn into "the greatest golf course in the world".

Senior figures in the golf and leisure industries, as well as Aberdeenshire Council and other economic organisations, called it a major coup and an "unbelievable" opportunity for the north-east.

Scottish Enterprise Grampian said the project would contribute an estimated £157 million to the economy over the next 10 years and create up to 400 jobs.

But Scottish Natural Heritage, which was consulted about the site late last year, has already expressed concerns because it is a protected area of special scientific interest.

The Trump Organisation promised the finished article would "set new standards in the home of golf".


Geoff Runcie, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, described the news as "fantastic", adding that it would boost visitor numbers, raise the region's profile and rectify the absence of a trophy golf course.

"This will put the region in line to host high-profile championships in the future - having a course that could secure the British Open would be excellent," he said.