Trump International Golf Links is open and like many with a professional interest in the game I would normally want to know how this new links has turned out. Sadly, since seeing Anthony Baxter’s documentary ‘You’ve been Trumped’, I only want the wind to blow constantly from the South so the previously northerly mobile dune system might bury the place.
The lack of respect, intimidation, bullying and total disregard for the welfare of his neighbours that Trump has shown is repugnant. The deplorable treatment that his organisation has meted out to Michael Forbes, David Milne, Susan Munro and Molly Forbes in the name of golf development is sickening to me, and should be to others who earn their living from this game.
What concerns me is the unusual silence from the golf industry and its press since the screening of Baxter’s expose, which, given the controversial nature of this film is somewhat disconcerting. Other than the usual round of golf course reviews, written by golf journalists who have played the course on a PR freebie, I cannot find any industry comment on the Baxter film or its content. This lack of comment is disappointing as I cannot see how Donald Trump’s approach to the realisation of this project can have done anything but damage to the reputation of golf as a sport. A sport that I have spent most of my working life in and who’s reputation in the wider world I care a lot for.
Those that see golf as an elitist sport, played by the ‘haves’, who section off tracks of land for their own exclusive pleasure, must be saying ‘I told you so’. To their eternal credit I did not hear the home owners, who were the subjects of the documentary, adopt this attitude and blame golf or golfers. Even though they were, and still may be, under treat of compulsory purchase, severed water supplies, land grab, close up high bunding and security shadowing. Thankfully it is Trump, those in his employ and those seen to be in support of him, namely Alex Salmond, the SNP and Grampian Police that are the focus of their justifiable ire.
In the last twenty years, golf and its stewards have had to work very hard to prove its sound environmental and social credentials. Trump’s ‘build it so that I cannot see the outside world’ approach is totally counterproductive to all these efforts. What makes Trump’s aggressive approach to obtaining exclusivity even more polarised is, that it is taking place in the home of golf, Scotland, where more than any other country in the world, the game is accessible to all.
I do not believe that any golfer with a conscience, having watched ‘You’ve been Trumped’, could give the Trump organisation a £200 greenfee and enjoy their round. They may only be small in number, they may only been seen as small people by their large loud neighbour, but they are people, people who I think are far more important than a game of golf.I have no intention of supporting Trump International Golf Links by remaining silent and fully support the actions of Tripping Up Trump. As a person earning my living and reputation out of the game of golf I am not prepared to support golf at any cost.