Who could not feel great anticipation after following all the hype of the construction and then opening of the new Trump links 9 miles north of Aberdeen.
Just looking along the first fairway and from behind the 18th green is breathtaking with easily the biggest dune system on any course in Scotland.
In fact I don't think I have seen bigger dunes anywhere with the exception of Enniscrone and Carne in north west Ireland.
There are no weak holes and each of the four par 3's was quite different.
The most commonly used promo photo is of the 3rd green with a sea inlet adjacent. This is really a trick photo as you only get that view when you exit the green and head to the 4th tee. Pity the hole was not designed to play as per the photos.
There are some reasonably long carries and there is marram grass and occasionly water hazards (eg. at the 2nd, 4th, 10th, 15th and 18th ) but you would have to hit a rather poor shot to miss the reasonably generous fairways.
The par 3, 6th is by far the most daunting off the tee shots. The green nestles in the side of a large dune. Anywhere right of the green is lost or unplayable down a steep bank. There is some bail-out room to the left of the green but this area is hidden from view by the huge dune that is along the left side of the hole.
One of the few genuine birdie opportunities is the short par 4, 7th and it is a shame that there are no other shortish 2 shotters.
Without doubt the most spectacular view is from the three back tees of the 14th a long par 4 that is rated index 2. The drive here is crucial as the elevated tees are set at the side of the hole and are very exposed to the wind.
The course was beautifully conditioned and maintained but if they ever plan to hold a tournament of any note here then they will need to improve the speed of the greens. Playing there in late June they were cut very short, looked fast but were quite slow.
It was fairly cool and windy the day I played so, as directed, I used the blue tees which gives a total length of 6602 yards. I would only recommend the gold tees for very low markers and the black tees are strictly for the pros. There are white tees further forward for men and two sets of tees for ladies. I noticed some men were hitting of the longer of the 'ladies' tees on a few holes.
I would make two other criticisms of what is a very good golf course. On some holes there are just too many bunkers, some of which do not appear to have any strategic merit. Also from a visual aspect they spoil the hole. For example, the par 5, 5th hole has a water hazard along most of the right hand side. It does not need eleven bunkers in the area commencing 90 yards from the green. The long par 5, 18th has eighteen bunkers. For the average golfer there is almost no landing area short of the green on a hole that is already quite difficult with its length and the two water hazards on the left.
My other criticism is that too many greens had severe run-offs to the extent that you seemed to be constantly putting up very steep slopes.
My wife and I had a 9.00 am tee time and, even allowing for time taking my photos, we were comfortably around in just under 4 hours with no lost balls.
To Trump's credit there are no carts allowed. I never use caddies but I did walk the first 9 holes the day before to get an idea of the layout and the carries involved.
We spent three nights in one of the lodges and had several evening meals in Macleod House. As you would expect from 6 star accommodation the food and service was excellent. Whilst we were almost the only people staying in the lodges, the course was fairly busy on each of the three mid week days we were there. You can also obtain very good meals at the temporary clubhouse.
See photos - par 5, 4th hole Trump Aberdeen
- the dangerous par 3, 6th
- par 5, 10th heading into the large dunes
- par 3, 13th from behind the green
- spectacular tee shot at the 14th
- par 5, 18th, too many bunkers?
- accommodation at The Lodges, Trump Aberdeen
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