| Q&A |
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR right now, President Clinton is on
GOLF GAME? it playing golf.
I’m not a bad golfer; I’m about a
four handicap. I was better but WHAT CLUBS DO YOU PLAY?
My questions were prioritized and the clock does nothing to help Well I’m playing TaylorMade, I
memorized in a concerted effort not your game. I’ve played some very have a Scotty Cameron putter and
to waste one second of DONALD nice rounds of golf. The equip- I get treated really well by all the
TRUMP’S time. In past celebrity inter- ment is keeping me better than I golf companies; that’s because I
views, very few had time or interest in was in the past in certain respects. sell a lot of golf clubs I guess.
small talk. Trump was pleasant, asked
about the weather in Pebble Beach WE HAVE HEARD GREAT THINGS ANY NERVOUSNESS ON THE FIRST
and surprisingly seemed like he was in ABOUT YOUR WESTCHESTER TEE DURING THE AT&T PEBBLE
no rush to end the phone call. COURSE. BEACH NATIONAL PRO-AM?
While the father of five has made a It’s been really successful. In fact I tell myself it doesn’t matter. It’s
fortune through real estate and astute
business deals, his rapidly expanding
golf empire is merely icing on the
cake. The 61-year-old possesses sev-
eral club championships and thor-
oughly enjoys the sport; he designed
his first course in Los Angeles and is
working to create a renowned golf
destination in Scotland among other
The television personality, author
and entrepreneur makes any interview
lively with his convictions and
grandiose ideas. He was quick to
point out Tiger Woods has played his
courses and former President Clinton
was on his New York layout that very
day. He struggled only when I asked
him to describe himself in one word;
he said he would prefer a sentence.
28 NCGA Golf FALL 2007
irrelevant. Nobody cares. When you ASIDE FROM THE DUNES, WHAT IS brand new course and has nothing to
do that it takes the pressure off. I’ve GOING TO DISTINGUISH THAT PROPERTY do with the course that was there
played a number of times in the event FROM A PURE GOLF STANDPOINT? before.
and actually had a hole-in-one (No. 12 A stretch of 4 1/2 miles of ocean is We’ve added a driving range of the
at Spyglass Hill). highly unusual. The dunes are not only likes which I’ve never seen — you’re
large but they are magnificent in terms facing the ocean as you are hitting
WOULD THAT BE YOUR GOLF HIGHLIGHT of what’s on them. We’re leaving them balls. There’s really nothing like it. All
OR YOUR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP alone as you can imagine, and the 18 holes front on the ocean and we
VICTORIES? location is spectacular. And the routing were able to do that by doing a step
I’ve won three club championships looks like it was made by God for a down to the ocean which nobody real-
and I would have to say that they’re golf course. The routing is flawless ly has done before because of the
more of a highlight for me. Because a without doing very much. It’s really expense of moving that much earth.
hole-in-one is luck, as you know, going to be an amazing place. I’ve
whereas a club championship is a little never seen anything like it. TALK ABOUT REBUILDING THE 18TH
less than luck. HOLE AND THE EXPENSE.
WHAT CAN NCGA MEMBERS EXPECT AT It’s the most expensive hole ever built.
HOW IS THE PROJECT IN SCOTLAND TRUMP NATIONAL IN PALOS VERDES? It cost $61 million — fortunately it
PROGRESSING? The Los Angeles course has become a wasn’t all paid by me. It was paid for
I have almost 2,000 acres in Scotland tremendous success. It’s the only by a combination of insurance and
and 4 1/2 miles on the ocean and it’s course I’ve ever designed. I’ve worked other things. I had to make a decision,
in Aberdeen. They say that Royal with Tom and Jim Fazio. I’ve worked did I want to fix up the old course or
Aberdeen has the greatest nine holes with numerous architects over the build a new course? My original deci-
in the world, those are the dunes years not only in buildings but in golf. sion was just to fix it up because the
holes. But they only have a 1/2 mile of I’ve worked with the great Philip location is so good — in Los Angeles
dunes. I have 4 1/2 miles of the dunes Johnson on buildings so I know a lot with 2 1/2 miles on the ocean and 300
that are the largest in the world. We’re about architects and architecture. This acres. Having that kind of land I
in the process of seeking approval. If course was designed by me. It’s a thought the best and certainly least
we do get the approval, there will be
nothing like it anywhere in the world.
FALL 2007 NCGA Golf 29
it would show phenomenally
for the fans. We can hold vir-
tually an unlimited number of
people there and I think it’s
something that would be out-
DO YOU BELIEVE IN BUSINESS
I’ve made some of my best
deals on the golf course. When
people ask me how I do in the
golf business I always ask —
with or without the so called
business deal? I’ve made some
phenomenal deals on the golf
course that I don’t think I
would have made over lunch.
I don’t think they would have
DO YOU PLAY FOR MONEY?
Just small amounts of money.
It’s not my business. I place
nicely, but it’s not my business.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST BET ON
Well I’ve had some big bets,
but it’s nothing I’m proud of
win, lose or draw. Again when
something’s not your business
you shouldn’t play for too
expensive thing to do would be to fix DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING PLANNED FOR much money.
it up and do a quick job. As I got NORTHERN CALIFORNIA?
more familiar with the project, I I have a number of jobs planned but in WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR EMPIRE
decided that this site deserves better terms of the golf world, I actually have DOES GOLF COMPRISE?
than that. one thing that I am thinking about One percent. But it is fun and has
We ripped down the original but I can’t reveal it right now. been very good. In Florida I get
course and built a brand new course $450,000 a member at the Palm
which is 7,350 yards. The holes are YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT BRINGING A Beach course. In Bedminster and
wide and beautiful. The 18th had MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP TO ONE OF YOUR Westchester I get $350,000. It’s been
tremendous amounts of water going COURSES — HOW CLOSE ARE YOU? very good for me but it’s a relatively
through pipes under the land. And My attitude is that I build the best small section of my business.
when they built the original course, courses; I have the best locations and
the bulldozers broke all the pipes the rest is up to the USGA and PGA. WHAT ARE YOU FEELINGS ABOUT THE
going back and forth. So this water It’s not for me to say. There’s no LEGITIMACY OF GOLF COURSE RANKINGS?
really undermined the 18th hole and it course like this in California for Depends on who is going to do the
fell into the Pacific Ocean. That is one example. To have 2 1/2 miles on the ranking. There are some magazines
of the reasons I ended up owning it ocean, to have every hole fronting the that are extremely fair and others that
because it fell in before I bought it. I ocean — there’s nothing even close. have an agenda. It really depends. I
spent a lot of money on the course. It’s It’s better than Pebble Beach. This is think the business of golf course rank-
the most expensive course ever built — according to other people, not me — ing is fine if it’s done fairly and even-
$264 million is the total amount of course I agree with them. It would handedly. But a lot of times it’s not
invested. show phenomenally on television and done that way.
30 NCGA Golf FALL 2007
WHO IS YOUR IDEAL FOURSOME? shot when you are over there. So I was unlucky; I haven’t figured it out yet.
Well today you always have to say little surprised to see him going for
Tiger Woods. He is a spectacular the green. In retrospect, Phil admitted AT WHAT AGE WILL YOU INTRODUCE
person and a spectacular golfer. He he made a mistake. YOUR YOUNGEST SON TO GOLF?
goes to my courses quite a bit. Have I tell you, I want him to be like Tiger,
you heard that? I love Arnold Palmer, WERE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED BY THE so I am going to start him at two.
he is a special guy. I’d love to bring POPULARITY OF “THE APPRENTICE?” He’s just a year old so he’s just starting
back the great Ben Hogan in his It became the number one show on to walk. But as soon as he can stand
prime. television and nobody would have up properly, I think we’ll start him
guessed that was going to happen. I’m with golf.
KNOWING THE WINGED FOOT COURSES a little bit surprised, but that’s okay.
SO WELL, WERE YOU SHOCKED BY Most shows, 95% of them, get taken WHAT’S ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE
WHAT HAPPENED TO PHIL MICKELSON off immediately. The show, for a peri- YOURSELF?
ON THE 72ND HOLE OF LAST YEAR’S od of time, was actually the number One word, I have to use one word. . .
U.S. OPEN? one show on television. it’s always easier to use more than one
Well Phil is a friend of mine, he is a word. . .if I said it you would say I was
great guy. I wasn’t shocked because WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE GOING bragging so I better not say it. You
that hole is a very tough hole. In ret- ON —HOW MANY HOURS OF SLEEP DO know, things that I have done have
rospect, he pulled his shot. I know the YOU GET A NIGHT? been successful and people have liked
left hand side of that rough all too Generally three to four. But that’s what them. In terms of describing me the
well from personal experience. And I’ve always had. For some reason I don’t word is quality. I really strive for the
you don’t think of yourself as having a require much sleep. I’m either lucky or highest quality.
FALL 2007 NCGA Golf 31