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An Exclusive Interview with Donald Trump
Tom Landers
By Tom Landers
Published on 01/20/2017

Donald Trump

Everyone knows Donald Trump. The 45th President of the United States.
Prior to his new role, the man was everywhere—firing Trump wannabes on his highly-rated NBC reality show, The Apprentice, touting his lavish casinos on enormous billboards all the way from Manhattan to Atlantic City, and making headlines for his latest real estate deals.  If there has ever been someone who defined the term “larger than life,” it’s Donald Trump.

Trump’s enormous persona is evident in all facets of his business dealings.  One can’t think of a property he owns that doesn’t contain the Trump name.  Even for a man who goes by “The Donald,” it takes some major chutzpah to name a casino after one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as he did with the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.  This very same bravado is evident in the side of Trump that this magazine is most interested in: his golf courses.

Not many people are able to steal some time with The Donald, but Golfing Magazine was able to slow down Trump for just a few minutes to talk golf. Aside from his business dealings, the game of golf may be Trump’s greatest passion.
Quite possibly one of the busiest men in the world, Trump has invested over hundreds of millions in golf properties in the U.S. alone and has branched out internationally.

GM: What’s it like to step onto a new Trump course for the first time?

DT: I love the whole concept of building golf courses.  Right now I have four courses in the United States, all of which are top-100 rated courses, and some of which are top ten, in a sense.  I really enjoy being able to see these courses grow and mature.  I have the top-rated course in the state of California (Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles).  We’ve been rated even better than Winged Foot.  Our course in Florida has also been given the best rating of any course in the state, so we’re having a lot of fun with it.

GM: How much personal input do you have in your courses?  I know you’ve worked with some top-flight course designers.

DT: I have very strong ideas on golf design.  I have a lot of input in my courses, and I work closely with Tom Fazio, Jim Fazio, Pete Dye, and lots of top designers.  They’re all great people.

GM: Obviously you spend a lot of your golfing time on Trump courses, but what’s your favorite non-Trump course to play?

DT: I’m a member at Winged Foot (the site of the 2006 U.S. Open), so I’d have to go with that.
Trump’s newest project is a brand new course on the Canouan Island, part of the Grenadines in the Caribbean. Spread over 150 acres, the Trump International Golf Club at Raffles Resort has been described as one of the most spectacular and challenging golf courses in the Caribbean.

GM: What can you share about your newest course with our readers?

DT:  It just opened and it’s doing very well.  It’s a beautiful course that was designed by Jim Fazio.  It’s actually built on the side of a mountain in the middle of the ocean.  It’s been very successful; people are loving it.

Across the Atlantic, Trump is about to build a course at the home of golf, Scotland. The country is also the birthplace of his mother, making this project a labor of love. Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, just 90 miles from St. Andrews, 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 center. The courses will be Donald J. Trump Signature Designs, in association with Tom Fazio, nephew of renown course architect Tom Fazio.

GM: Tell us about your expansion into Scotland.

DT: I own 1,000 acres of land in Aberdeen, along the ocean.  We’re looking to do something really spectacular there, and we’re just starting on that now.

GM: When are you hoping to have a course up and ready?

DT: Hopefully we have our approvals within the next four months, and then we can start.

Trump plays to a 6 handicap and despite his many business dealings, he loves to play the game. But if you have the good fortune to play with the Donald…you had better keep up because he plays quickly!

GM: On a personal level, what kind of challenges do you face on the golf course?

DT: I drive it fairly straight, with pretty good distance.  I putt well, but the chipping definitely needs help.  I’m a very good putter and a very bad chipper.  I don’t know why—if you’re a good putter you’re supposed to be a good chipper.  My chipping is weak because I don’t get enough practice at it.

GM: How do you even find the time to play?

DT: Well it’s not easy, let me tell you.  That’s the advantage to building courses, though.  You can play and you don’t think you’re playing, you think you’re working.

GM: Speaking of working, how do you compare two of your more prominent businesses… the golf courses and the casino industry?  

DT: They’re very different industries in terms of styling and in terms of temperament, but they’re both great industries and I derive a lot of satisfaction from each one.

 The Trump Golf Company's U.S. Courses


The Trump Golf Company currently owns 12 golf courses in the United States. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can build or renovated a golf course. Each of Trump’s courses is home to a smattering of unique sights and shots. With extremely well manicured greens and fairways and tasteful touches such as granite tee box steps and Waterford chandeliers in the clubhouse, Trump really does know golf.

Here is a look at the Trump Golf Company holdings, which include a number of the best layouts in the country.

Trump National Briarcliff Manor (N.Y.) is a Jim Fazio design that has a lot of water and even more length. Over three million cubic yards of dirt were moved during construction of the par-72, 7,291-yard course, which is located on the site of the now-defunct Briar Hall Golf and Country Club. The result is a course that requires carries over man-made lakes and streams, navigation around enormous, immaculate white bunkers, and approach shots into greens that are nearly as large as the wallet of the man who commissioned their existence.

Trump National Bedminster (N.J.) is located just minutes from the United States Golf Association’s headquarters.  This 7,560-yard monster (from the tips) is one of the longest courses in the country. Trump has not commented on why he likes his courses so long, but perhaps the fact that he can afford the best drivers on the market has something to do with it. A good golfer himself, Trump is about a 6 handicap. Panoramic overviews of the historic countryside sweeten the view from this Tom Fazio design, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the course continue to skyrocket up the list of the world’s best.

Trump International West Palm Beach (Fl.) may be closer to stardom than any of Trump’s other beauties. Many publications have it ranked as the number two course in Florida, behind only the Seminole Golf Club, which is ranked in the top 10 nationally by Golf Digest. Trump International in West Palm has played host to the season-ending ADT Championship, the LPGA’s most prestigious non-major tournament in which only the top 30 players are invited to play.

Trump National Los Angeles (Ca.) is another Trump course to have hosted a professional event. For all of the extravagance Trump has shown in the past, the effort he put into his L.A. course was nothing short of Herculean. The course features a gasp-inducing view of the Pacific Ocean on nearly every hole. The ocean tightly borders many of the holes, punishing inaccuracy off the tee.

Trump National Doral Golf Club (Fl.) members enjoy four different golf courses that have played host to scores of professional golfers and events. The Blue Monster, The Red Tiger, The Silver Fox and The Golden Palm golf courses have some of the toughest holes and most spectacular views in Florida. The Blue Monster, has undergone a massive redesign by Trump and Gil Hanse. Reaffirming its reputation as one of the most challenging courses, the 7,608 yard track features strategically placed deep bunkers, long fairways, undulating greens and an assortment of water hazards to challenge even the most experienced golfers.

Trump National Charlotte (N.C.) is a 7,475 yard course that creates a beautiful, diverse experience, offering an array of challenges for golfers at all skill levels. The course carves its way along the shores of Lake Norman with 14 holes playing directly along or over the water.

Trump Golf Links Ferry Point (N.Y.) is a Jack Nicklaus Signature design, links-style golf course created to take advantage of the spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, East River and Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges. Measuring 7,407 yards, the rolling fescues, tree lines and bunker placement make for an incredible yet challenging links course.

Trump National Hudson Valley (N.Y.) is located in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley and features 18-holes of world-class golf framed by breathtaking views of the Stormville Mountain, making this spectacular layout both highly competitive and visually stimulating.

Trump National West Palm Beach (Fl.), the first course acquired by Trump, was built for tournament caliber play, measuring 7,326 yards from the back tees. The club welcomes its members and their guests with gates that lead to an exquisite clubhouse built for golf outings, weddings and special events.

Trump National Philadelphia (N.J.) , designed by the world-renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, sits at southern New Jersey’s highest point provides tremendous views of the entire Philadelphia skyline, and is adjacent to Pine Valley Golf Club. The accolades for this 18 hole course are certainly well deserved, and the spectacular clubhouse provides the ideal venue for a wide variety of social events.

Trump National Washington (D.C.) is home to two world-class golf courses--the Riverview Course and Championship Course, which was recently designed by Donald J. Trump. Playing alongside the peaceful Potomac River, the panoramic setting and unique design create the ultimate scenery for a luxury golf club.

Trump National Westchester (N.Y.) is located just 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan and proves to be a challenging course for all players. This 7,291 yard boasts incredible landscaped vistas, bunkers and spectacular water features, including an exquisite 101 foot waterfall.

Trump National Colts Neck (N.J.) features 7,157 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 . The course rating is 74.9 and it has a slope rating of 139.  Designed by Jerry Pate, the Trump National Colts Neck course opened in 2005.