Donald Trump's Two Scottish Courses Lose £9.5m

By: Golfshake Editor | Sun 16 Oct 2016 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

THERE was more bad news for US presidential candidate Donald Trump when it was announced that his golfing interests at Turnberry and the Menie Estate had lost a staggering £9m - reported in financial figures for 2015 – not quite what Le Donald had in mind when he bought one of the finest courses in Britain and decided to build another on the east coast, whether the locals wanted it or not. And they definitely didn't want it. 

You will porobably already know that Trump hasn't paid federal tax in the United States for years. It has now been revealed that his golf courses did not pay any corporation tax in the UK either because of their financial woes. 

Trump International Golf Links, north of Aberdeen, was opened in 2012 after a viscious and unedifying battle with campaigners over the protected sand dunes. Trump declared that he intended to create 'the greatest golf course in the world' and spend up to £1bn on the development, creating 800 jobs in the process. Despite a chorus of disapproval, the project went ahead anyway, leaving locals accusing the billionaire of riding rough-shod over them.

For the fourth year in a row, Trump International has made losses – it was around £1m in 2014 and 2015, £1.8m in 2013 and £1.7m in 2012.

But surely the 800 jobs he created went some way to appeasing the locals. The actual number on the payroll is just 95, who together were paid £1.9m, an average of just £20,000 per person per year. 

The Menie estate, which lies on the east coast of Scotland in an area of great natural beauty overlooking the North Sea, was bought by Trump 10 years ago for £7m. It had been designated a site of special scientific interest because of its shifting sand dunes, but Trumps moved in the bulldozers anyway.

The opening of the course – admittedly a very fine links – was delayed until 2012 after angry and sustained protests from the residents of the nearby village of Balmedie, who alleged that Trump had conspired to interfere with power supplies in the village in an attempt to 'convince' the villagers to 'co-operate'. 

There were also protests about Trump's plans to develop Turnberry after he bought the course and hotel for £39.5m in 2014. He promptly shut the course, which famously hosted The Open Championship known as the Duel in the Sun in 1977, when Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus after four days of sustained brilliance by both men. The bulldozers were called in once again as Trump had the course redesigned and the R&A announced that The Open would not be heading back there for the foreseeable future.

Turnberry had a turnover of £11.4m but lost £8.4m in 2015, but that hardly comes as a huge surprise because the course was closed and it cost him a fortune to redesign it.

Trump employed 337 people at Turnberry who were paid £6m in wages. Despite the losses, Trump remains upbeat. His son, Eric, said: "Overall revenues in 2015 have increased 7.4 per cent compared to 2014, in spite of the economic downturn experienced in the North East of Scotland due to the collapse of the oil prices with over 100,000 redundancies in the oil and gas industry affecting every sector in the region. Looking forward, services will continue to expand and develop, with further capital investment planned."


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