Played By NCG: Trump International
Where is Trump International Golf Links?:
Only 15 minutes from Aberdeen airport by car. Close to the village of Balmedie.
Reason for going:
A press trip for the launch of the Cleveland RTX-3 wedges.
What to expect:
From the minute you arrive the service is first class. It seems like there are plenty of staff who are very helpful. Everything feels five-star and that’s before I’ve got anywhere near the golf course.
The short-game practice area is out of this world. You couldn’t ask for a better place to practice chipping and bunker play – there’s every lie and type of shot imaginable on what is almost like a short par-3 course in itself.
I could have stayed here all day.
Wander through the dunes from the short-game area past the putting green and out on to the first tee and you already get the sense this is going to be a special golfing experience.
There are six different tees on each hole which means golfers of all abilities can have a fair test.
The huge dunes just add drama and create a sensory golfing experience like nothing I’ve encountered before.
When playing each hole there’s hardly ever a view of what has been before or what is to come which is a real plus for me.
Most holes are epic. It’s a relentless feast of unique links golf on a course that should get better and better.
If they can find a way to house spectators, I think it would make a great venue for a big amateur or ladies event.
My best bit:
It’s too hard to pick out one thing so I’ll go for three.
When you reach the green on the par-3 4th you couldn’t be closer to the sea. The dunes hide the ocean for much of the round but when you get here you can almost run out on to the sand and dip your toes.
There’s an urge to constantly take pictures but the elevated tees on 14 and 18 are the real money shots.
What to look out for:
There’s danger at every turn. Stay well away from the dunes and the bunkers.
This isn’t the sort of course where you can just smash it round with a flagrant disregard for the landscape.
Try and keep your ball in sight and it will take away much of the stress. If the wind is up, just accept it will be tough to reach the greens in regulation.
Come up short and then utilise the short-game skills which you’ve had the chance to hone before the round.
When I go back:
I’ll plot my way around, keeping the driver in its head cover until it’s absolutely necessary. I’ll also hopefully stay for longer to enjoy the food, drink and fantastic facilities.
For more information about Trump International Golf Links, CLICK HERE