Donald Trump's contribution to the Golf industry and what his potential election would mean for Golf
As the elections get underway, we take a look at what Donald Trump means to the business of Golf.
Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential candidate, real estate magnet and business tycoon has a portfolio of 17 golf courses which spans from Scotland to Palm Beach, Los Angeles to Dubai.
According to Trump, “Trump Golf is home to some of the most iconic golf properties and courses in the world representing world-class luxury and excellence, only synonymous with the Trump brand.”
His latest golf course outside of the United States in Aberdeen, Scotland has been named in the top 50 courses and has produced thousands of jobs in the surrounding areas of Aberdeen.
While he doesn't have experience of running governments or councils, he has learnt plenty as a real estate developer and a businessman through managing territories of different kinds.
Managing of a golf course means dealing with local governments, negotiating tax assessments and zoning issues, handling health code regulations in clubhouse restaurants and navigating the environmental impact of renovating acres of space.
While in the last decade, more courses have closed than opened, Donald Trump remains bullish about the sport.
He feels it is a sport of business and promotes the idea of business deals being closed on golf courses. The sport according to him should be aspirational as opposed to being widespread. He feels people should work hard to be able to afford to play the game.
They should be able to pay what it takes to play top level courses where only a handful of people play per day. That makes it worth the amount of money that goes into purchasing specific high-level equipment and maintaining the courses in pristine condition.
Trump is of the opinion that people should continue to come to golf instead of golf coming to them, and the sport will never become available to the masses like a sport like basketball where all you need is a court.
He gives the example of athletes just wanting to golf when they retire from other sports. Trump points out, “Golf shouldn't be brought down to players to indulge in when they are 15 years old and busy trying to learn other sports.“
He goes on to say any comparison of golf with other sports will only have a damaging effect on the sport.
Also Read: A wrap up on Rory McIlroy’s 2016 season
He boasts of having the game to match all his grand entrepreneurial ideas to transform the sport. He holds the amateur course record at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
It signifies that golf is a business venture that he takes as seriously any of his other ventures that have made him the most recognised billionaire in the world.
Trump blames equipment manufacturers like Taylormade for their ignorance towards declining golfer numbers as a reason for depleting sales and says that it is really to do with the new release of equipment every 6 months leading to obsolescence of equipment too soon.
“Trump barely practices and any advice he takes is usually over a quick nine or over a meal in the grillroom,” says his senior director of instruction for all Trump properties.
He's too busy like any business person to practice, so he builds his swing and quest for lower scores on simple but effective swing mechanics. The man has an innate knack for sports and also his build of 6'3'' and a solid 225 pounds make him a natural athlete.
“He played prep-school football, soccer and baseball at New York Military Academy, winning the Coaches and MVP awards while captaining the baseball team.”
“You can see his athleticism in his swing, mainly in his strong left hip turn through the ball and in the way he takes the club back flat and to the inside, like a baseball swing in reverse. When he combines these moves with solid fundamentals and a knack for knocking bunker shots close and holing almost every putt he looks at, he's tough to beat”, remarks the director.
Trump has also been able to get the most out of his game as he plays to his strengths instead of trying too hard to reach certain positions during the golf swing like most recreational golfers.
“I try to keep it simple," Donal Trump says. “If I didn't, I would have stopped playing years ago.” Donald Trump is a very good example of how to enjoy solid rounds without a tour quality game.
The Donald builds his game of consistency on four fundamentals. Namely:
#1 A solid grip
“I don't win club championships with practice, but with a good grip.”
He tries to keep his grip neutral, neither too strong or too weak. His grip pressure is just firm enough to allow him to make consistent swings without the swing breaking down either at the top or through the impact area.
#2 Strong hip-turn
“I’m a hip player. The strongest part of my swing is my body turn.”
Once he completes his backswing, Trump brings the club back down by strongly pulling his left hip behind him.
His emphasis on his lower body than his arms means that he delivers the club into the slot consistently instead of throwing the club out with his hands
#3 Killer bunker shots
“I’m better out of the sand than anywhere else around the green.”
He concentrates on the same elements that make his full swing work. His hip action causes him to accelerate through the ball which is one of the keys to quality bunker shots.
#4 A Confident putter
“If I don't beat you with the short ones, I'll beat you with a bomb.” One of Donald's recent opponents, NFL Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, commented after their match, "Yeah, he beat me. He made absolutely everything. He kept rolling in 20-footers.
"His putting is based on a powerful sense of self-belief which makes him think he can make every putt. It's definitely a powerful state of mind if you think you can make everything on the greens.”
He points out that the Golf business in Asia is booming and he would be looking to carry out business in the Asian industry in the near future. He links the Presidents Cup being held in Korea in 2015 with Asia boasting of Golf’s emerging market.
Upon going through the details of Golf – related businesses undertaken by Trump, a theme of every spat being turned into war quickly emerges. He wants to negotiate to pay less taxes, swat away regulations and at times ends up stiffing some worker.
In his latest golf course development project in Doonbeg, Ireland, he has been involved in an issue with the Clare County Council over building a 1.7 m long wall along the beach to save the course from coastal erosion.
While the idea behind the request made by Trump is to save the course from the effects of global warming, the justification of the effects he cites as sea level rise, excessive erosion, increases Atlantic storminess, rapid and progressive loss of habitat are a complete hoax.
He only wants the course to have exclusive access and the council argues that the wall could lead to a total loss of the beach in the long run.
It has to be conceded that without a doubt, Trump has definitely fixed up courses and brought in money to the game of Golf.
Trump handled various issues like housing and urban development, civil rights division, environmental protections, dealing with the office of tax and revenue, small business administration and consulting with the department of defence during the developmental stages of his various golf courses. This definitely gives us a sense of how he might govern from the Oval office.
Trump’s election could only mean further expansion of “Trump Golf” and generation of thousands of new jobs. He will definitely work to remove the stigmas associated with the game and the Golf industry will be a beneficiary of his potential term as President of the United States