May 312013

In the Financial Times on 24 May, Sarah Malone, Executive Vice-President of Trump International Golf Links, said, “10000 people played the course in its short first season last year and 11000 have already booked rounds in 2013, out of a total capacity of up to 25000”. Julian Baker looks behind these claims.

Aberdeenshire’s local authority and the Scottish Government have taken a big gamble in risking the wellbeing of an SSSI on the promise of new jobs from the Trump Organisation and a knock-on increase in tourism.

I have been following closely the volume of business this golf course is generating, by monitoring the online booking portal each evening.

This allows me to understand how many rounds have been booked for the following day.

So far this season, the course has been struggling to fill a third of its capacity. And this level of business isn’t necessarily earning the minimum green fee of £156 per person, since the word on the street is that quite a few bookings are for complimentary rounds via local businesses and for winners of raffles and competitions.

Looking ahead to the end of this season, I’ve logged the number of bookings showing on the online tool, and calculated that there’s a maximum of 7500 golfers booked in so far. That errs on the generous side. For example, that figure includes an assumption that the course is booked to its absolute capacity during the two midsummer weeks – 28 July to 11 August –  where the booking tool is not in operation. I’d expect that to be more like 6500.

So 11000 booked in already for this year? I don’t think so. And I doubt that it will rise to that level by the end of the year either, because the course appears to rely on golf tours which are generally arranged some time in advance of the event.

How many Aberdeenshire folk can afford £172 for a round of golf at the weekend? Run out of fingers to count on yet?

This calls into question the figure of 10000 bookings in last year’s inaugural season. Unless that figure also includes everyone who has used the driving range and bought meals and drinks, golf balls, and Trump-branded ball markers. Or waved when they drove past the entrance.

So how confident can we be that there will be 6000 new jobs arising from this golf development? Don’t hold your breath.

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  28 Responses to “Trump – As Menie Bookings As Boasted?”

  1. A Trump entity being economical with the facts? Whoever would have thought?

  2. The level of business at the burger van just north of trumpton far surpasses Mrs Bates’ figures….obviously sums are no her strong point

  3. Spot on Julian, A’ve deen ma ain research an I div think yer bein a bittie generous wi yer calculations.
    Maist fowk in the Trump Organisation maun suffer fae the “Pinnochio” syndrum faar their noses keep growen.

  4. Don’t you people have life’s to lead, leave the man and his golf course alone, your behaviour is akin to stalking. The vast majority of the people in our City support the course.

    Why not use your energy to oppose the planned wind farm that is about to scar our coastline forever.

    • George,
      We shall consider leaving the man alone when he leaves the Forbes, Milne and Munro families alone.Where do you get your evidence that the vast majority in the city support the course. Have you asked every citizen their view.? Thought not.!!!

      Please dont say you get your evidence from P&J surveys!!!

    • “The vast majority of of the people in our city support the course,” George? I wonder what percentage of our good citizens actually play golf? I suspect, many, like myself, have no interest in the “sport” whatsoever and would be hard pressed to afford the fees associated with the Trump venue..

    • Whaur are your statistics Geordie?

    • Mr G. Smith, what is it you do not get?

      The building of an unneeded golf course on top of a SSSI?
      The bullying of the local population?
      The lying regarding the economic benefit to the NE community?

    • I’ve not met one person who has been or who supports it!

  5. We can take it, despite all the tirades and bluster, that the world’s best hotel, world’s best holiday homes and world’s best whatever else will be built given time. For the Trump organisation not to do so would mean a massive loss on the venture. It is fairly obvious, what ever the level of green fees, those alone cannot provide a significant return on the investment made.

    At the end of the day, those playing the course will be watching the ball, not the proposed wind farm which has the potential to bring much greater wealth to the region..

  6. Off topic,

    Sorry this is off topic, but I have to share an idea with you guys.

    Taxman is looking for a fair way to tax ppl in an already unfair tax system.

    If the country needs to pull itself out of a hole, why not sell off the BBC? Think about it,
    When toys are us sells a Dr who doll, who gets the profits?
    The BBC must be worth billions to somebody, we can use the recent 100million Doon ‘e’ swanny as aspringboard for justification.

    Ooh! I love windfarms, I also enjoy a game of golf, but golf is a game best taken not too seriously eh? Its more fun when its just a bit of fun eh?

    Loving duthie park BTW,

    the subsidised buses full of oap’s riding for free, are tearing up the speedbumps in cove, can they be made to renew please? (not the oap’s – bless em.)

    Also, local gov should let ppl know how much things cost. The Manny that looks after the council greenspaces in my area looks like he comes all the way up from Glasgow. Maybe local entrepreneurs could do it cheaper and it would drive council costs down as a result?

    Erm, thanx! 🙂

  7. One of these days Donald Trump will announce he’s abandoning this golf project, it will be a good day to watch the news.

    • I very much doubt it Sean. All the people who’s money he’s using would object strongly. The want payback!

      • Oh, but didn’t you know – Trump’s paying for all of this out of the change in his back pocket. Do you honestly think anyone would be so stupid as to invest with him?

  8. I can just imagine all you do gooders if Mr Trump was behind the windfarm plan, fact is none of you care about the environment or the people living at Menie, you’re just a bunch of socialists who hate the man because of his wealth.

    Why no uproar at the tens of people being forced out of their homes in Tillydrone because of a bridge? again if a rich person was behind that you’d all be out with your placards.


    • George, I want to reply to your post, but until you make it clear who you are referring to by the terms ‘you people’, ‘you do-gooders’ and ‘bunch of socialists’, I am at a loss where to start.

      If you could actually engage with the issues in the article you are commenting on, then it might look a lot less as if you come on here purely to insult people you dont agree with.

    • Excuse me George, but who are all the “hundreds” being turfed out of their homes in Tillydrone? That’s news to everyone.

    • George,
      I have never read such a load of clap trap in my life.If you care to take the trouble to read the articles which have appeared in AV re Trump you shall see clearly many are concerned about the environment and the Menie families. The fact he is rich has got damn all to do with it.Democracy has however a lot to do with what has happened at Menie.As regards the bridge being built over the Don which shall effect the residents of Tillydone I would point you in the direction of a poem which appeared in the AV -“A BRIG OWER FAR”

  9. Fred,

    I don’t agree with people hounding Mr Trump, even if no one ever played the course is it really public interest, why not snoop into other local golf courses to see how many people are playing them? It’s clear the site has a large socialist following, the same people slap the same backs week in week out.

    Instead of counting how many golfers are using a course they should perhaps be visiting Union Terrace gardens, the garden “they saved” (nothing to do with a rich man being involved), it still remains empty and desolate, it was dropped like a hot potato as soon as the next big bandwagon came along for them to jump on.

    I’m still amazed that the next bandwagon isn’t a massive wind farm on our shores, I’ll tell you why no one cares about it? because of a blind hatred of a rich American. It sickens me that seemingly intelligent people only care when a rich person can be opposed. Dress it up and deny it all you like but this is a socialist mouth piece of a site.

    Tillydrone, plenty of people being kicked out of their homes, I mean actually kicked out, not a Menie where no one was evicted, no rich person involved so who cares.

    The Aberdeen VOICE, don’t make me laugh.

    • OK, I get ye. If anything is not being addressed in Aberdeen Voice George, it is because no-one is bothering to write about it. You know how we work, as you have been told more than once. We have also invited you to write a piece and offered assistance if necessary. To date, nothing, outwith the comments boxes, usually having a go at folks who do actually make the effort.

      This always reminds me of that football fan who will shout for 90 minutes about the shortcomings of a particular player, verbally abuse him for his mistakes and tell him what they should be doing instead …. when all the time, said ‘football fan’ is incapable of jogging 20 yards without turning blue.

      The latest articles about Menie have come from people who are either very familiar with the situation on the ground at Menie, or who actually live in the area. We would of course welcome news, info and opinion pieces from people similarly connected with the issues at Tillydrone, or Bridge of Don for that matter. Having already published material about the Don crossing, it should be plain that we are receptive to such input. But again, you know that George.

      As to your insults, and for not making you laugh, what I find more laughable is being labelled a ‘bunch of socialists’ or a ‘socialist mouthpiece’ by someone who has fairly recently voiced support for the EDL and their thug leader Tommy Robinson. Perhaps it’s all comparative George, in which case, the mouldering corpse of ol’ Maggie T is a raving lefty compared to the position you appear to be coming from – so please forgive me for not weeping into my scarlet banner.

      To cap it all, a guy who’s living depends on the installation of hulking great structures all around our shores, boring through the earth’s crust, bringing with them the risk of extensive pollution, believes there should be more opposition to a dozen wind turbines??

      Did I see the word ‘Hypocrite’ written somewhere?

      Another piece of advice George, especially if you change your mind and think of writing an article for AV, whenever you use the words ‘fact is’ in a sentence, it is a very good idea to follow up with something you not only know to be factual, but can demonstrate to be factual…. not a series of groundless accusations aimed at no-one in particular other than some figment of your own imagination.

      Also when questioning why no-one is taking a particular action on a particular issue, first ask yourself what you yourself are doing about it.

      In spite of what you think, and would encourage others to think George, Aberdeen Voice does welcome differing views on issues…. whether here in the comments section, or as a contributed article. But there is a difference between presenting an opposing view or challenging the basis of a writers work, and dishing out unsubstantiated accusations and insults – a difference which you would do well to study if you expect to be taken seriously.

    • George

      Sticking to the facts, it isn’t easy to monitor usage of golf courses. It is labour intensive, even where there is an online facility like at TIGL. But you do have a point here.

      As a means of using a benchmark, I monitor the 5 courses at St Andrews that are bookable online, so I can get a feeling for the general pattern of golfing on a particular day in Scotland. These five courses are usually almost fully booked – I think the maximum number of empty slots on a single day this season has been around 15 (across the five courses together), and it’s usually around 5 to 10. Most days at the Trump course there’s 15 free slots or more and that’s just for the one course. The figures for both TIGL and St Andrews are checked at the same time – after 6pm on the night before.

      I am not sufficiently informed about the other points you make so cannot comment on them;. But I can say I had not taken much notice of Mr Trump until I heard of what he was doing at Menie. So my “blind hatred of a rich American” has only come about because of his actions in Aberdeenshire, and a growing understanding of his arrogant, bullying, self-agrandising, and totally self-centred approach to business and relationships with others. In the UK we have just gone through quite a bit of trauma coming to terms with abuse through bullying by people in “show business” (eg the recent resident of Glencoe, Jimmy Saville). We must surely learn to stand up to bullies, even if they are rich americans.

      • Julian,
        You didn’t just compare Donald Trump antics at Mennie to the long list of paedophilia acts by Jimmy Saville? I know the guy is distasteful but really that’s one very poor comparison, and you told George to stick to the facts!!!

      • No Jim, I didn’t. I said the common issue was bullying. I certainly had no intention of suggesting that Trump was up to the things that Saville was up to. And I apologise if that’s how it read.

  10. And there in a nutshell is why I wouldn’t write an article here, have you dug into the background of any other writer here?

    • Personal information made public by yourself does not require any digging George, and can hardly be described as ‘background’.

      So two more pieces of advice.

      1. Dont post info you dont want to be known, and,
      2. People in glasshouses ….

      • So my facebook page is me making information available to the public?

        I think for myself Fred unlike the blind followers here, If I want to voice my opinion I will.

        Julian’s latest reply even has me shaking my head in disbelief, he’s comparing a newly built golf course with historic old courses that have stood for over a 100 years, like any new course it will take time to grow and flourish, compare with like for like links courses if you want a real comparison. Why anyone would want to do this is beyond belief.

        Perhaps Julian would be better spending his time researching how much damage offshore wind farms do and how much subsidies they need to operate, that is the real danger facing Aberdeen at the moment, along with plans for a “super” mosque we could see our coastline scarred forever. A links golf course doesn’t even register when it comes to the real issues.

        Not that I expect a Socialist website to even think about covering the concerns of placing a huge building at our beachfront, Mr Trump or Wood should offer to fund it, that might do the trick.

  11. Sounds like Sasha to me.

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