After years of Donald Trump telling us he built, “the world’s greatest golf course,” we can now judge for ourselves.
Last week, one of my operatives attended the official opening of — and played — Trump International Golf Links, Scotland (or “Trump Scotland” as most people are calling it) in Aberdeen, which is a two-hour drive north of St. Andrews.
My guy says the “masterful” design by architect Martin Hawtree is “awe-inspiring” and, “an absolute must-play.”
British PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “There is no doubt in my mind it will certainly be in the top three in the world, but I don’t know what’s going to be number two and number three.”
Another extremely-well-traveled golfer I know said, “Cruden Bay is a 10. Royal Aberdeen is a 9.5. Trump Scotland is at least a 12…You are going to be blown away.”
Impressive, for sure. But why all the praise?
For one thing, Trump Scotland set on a phenomenal piece of property alongside the North Sea and features what is probably the largest dune system in the world.
And, in addition to being visually stunning, these enormous dunes add excitement and intrigue to the game.
For example, from many tees it looks like you’re forced to hit knee-knocking, “thread the needle” shots to reach safe landing zones, but these areas are actually quite generous (the rough is another story).
Likewise, the dunes provide a false sense of insulation from the wind. Buffered at address, the wind can wreak havoc once the ball rises above the dunes’ peaks, making club selection a constant debate.
So, no question this course is a good one. Probably a great one.
But is it, “the world’s best?”
To answer that, we need to know what makes a course the best in the world.
Eighteen strong tests of golf would seem like a prerequisite, but to what extent do things like aesthetics and “history” matter?
Must it be so challenging that even the world’s best players have trouble breaking par?
How about the ability of a less-skilled player to make their way around? Is recoverability important?
Must a good shot always be rewarded or is some level of randomness acceptable?
How do you think the world’s greatest golf course should be defined, and which course do you think best defines it?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.