Turnberry Deal Risky for Trump

Nothing catches the Top 50 by surprise, so we did little more than spray a mouthful of hot cocoa when we read that Donald Trump has bought third-ranked Turnberry Resort of Ayrshire, Scotland. On the advice of counsel we quickly snapped up some tee times on Turnberry’s famed Ailsa Course, hoping to get in a few rounds before The Donald installs his waterfalls and concrete cart paths. Otherwise, we’ve gone about our business, rating golf courses with scientific rigor and unshakable integrity.

But in the sub-basement of Catch Basin, our Kansas City headquarters, the excitement is palpable. We’ve fired all the cubicle cuties who handled consumer complaints and replaced them with a corps of hard-edged, Wall Street bond salesmen. These guys, veterans of various pump-and-dump schemes and penny-stock swindles, are already making cold calls to avid core golfers.

Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because Trump — a so-called “business genius” who now owns and operates 17 golf properties — has made the worst decision of his storied career. He has acquired Turnberry’s elegant cliff-top hotel, it’s true, and he now owns the resort’s three golf courses, including the incomparable Open Championship links that hosted 1977’s legendary “Duel in the Sun.” But he didn’t buy Ailsa Craig, the muffin-shaped island that dominates the view from the Turnberry lighthouse.

Trump’s tailor, if he’s sharp, is already embroidering the word “SUCKER” on the lapels of The Donald’s tux.

Turnberry Resort

The Turnberry Resort before its purchase by Donald Trump. Miguel Angel Jimenez and his caddie were not part of the deal. (John Garrity)

If you’re a loyal reader of this post, you know that my Top 50 Charitable Trust plans to purchase Ailsa Craig with funds donated by loyal readers of this post. The eighth Marquess of Ailsa has priced the iconic rock at $2.4 million, which is more than reasonable when you consider that the island is the exclusive source of microgranite for Olympic-class curling stones. Imagine its worth if some genius entrepreneur — not Trump! — captures the international market for game-improvement curling stones.

It was not profit, however, but a desire to preserve the view from Turnberry and protect a hunk of Scottish heritage that motivated our fund-raising drive. But now, with Trump in control of the relevant strip of Ayrshire coastline, we see a greater opportunity. As owners of Ailsa Craig, we will point out to Trump how our property enhances the value of his property and, with that in mind, mention how the perceived value of his Open venue might decline if someone were to erect a giant curtain around the island,* spoiling the view. Knowing how much the Donald detests environmental degradation — proved by his opposition to an offshore wind farm near 51st-ranked Trump International Golf Links of Aberdeenshire — we’re sure he’ll embrace an annual fee of a million bucks for viewing rights to Ailsa Craig. Or, if he’s so inclined, he can buy the island from us at a modest markup — say, $20 million?

*Recognizing that it would be costly to erect an actual fabric curtain around a 1,100-foot-tall island, we envision a World War II-style smoke screen laid down by speedy patrol boats. On many days, of course, the Scottish weather renders the island invisible at no additional cost.

We still have some work to do. As of 5 p.m. Thursday we’re roughly $2.399 million shy of our goal. That’s why it’s so important that you answer your phone, even when the screen says “No Caller I.D.” It could be one of our boiler-room boys, calling to get your pledge to our TRUMP TRUMP FOR THE GOOD OF SCOTLAND campaign.

And remember: No contribution is too small.

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship is winding up at the 51st-ranked Quail Hollow Club, site of the 2017 PGA Championship. Quail Hollow’s Tom Fazio course, recently renovated by Tom Fazio, has long been a personal favorite, although I have never had the pleasure of playing it. Next week’s venue, 51st-ranked TPC Sawgrass, has never been a personal favorite, but I have had the pleasure of playing it. Coincidence?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Turnberry Deal Risky for Trump

  1. scott jensen

    We’re off to Askernish on Thursday, our 3rd year in a row. I’ve sent over a custom made flag for the 12th hole- skull and cross bones with the banner underneath reading “March of Death.” Sir Ralph has us signed up for the ‘Captain’s Cleek’ on Sunday the 11th. Tuesday the 13th will find us in Dornoch for the remainder of the trip, with a day at Brora as well. I’ll report back. Cheers. Oh, did I mention I played Turnberry in 1977, the day after the conclusion of the Open Championship? From the Championship tees, I stood on the eighteenth needing a par for 69. I proceeded to pump two tee balls out of bounds and finish with a 9 for 74. A perverse finish to the best round of my life. As Vonnegut says, “So it goes.”

    Date: Sun, 4 May 2014 03:36:51 +0000 To: sjensen001@hotmail.com

  2. Craig Waggaman

    Put me in for a quid. But, are you REALLY sure Trump didn’t buy Miguel Angel Jimenez? The ponytail sure would solve a lot of problems…BTW- I am also an international member at Carne and will be there at the end of July with a friend- two retired political science professors (sorry- not from Stanford). Another friend dropped out and we have a extra bedroom in a house on the Mullet peninsula. You’re invited!

    • One quid it is, assuming you mean a 17th-century quid, worth roughly $5,000 in today’s money. Or maybe you meant one Euro? Nah, that’s highly unlikely. As for a meet-up at Carne, that might happen. Depends on how late in July you’re there. And thanks very much for the housing invitation, but I’m lodging in Belmullet’s city centre, which is, as you know, about 200 yards from its outskirts. See you there!

      • Peter Schultz

        Well, Mr. Garrity, this is the other retired political science professor who will be playing Carne as Craig’s guest for the week. I am just now reading your Ancestral Links and loving it. I hope we get to see you and play the 17th together. I have played Carne just once but look forward to doing it for a week. Hope to see you there.

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