“John,” writes our chief Asian correspondent, Duke Ishikawa, “could you give this note to Donald if you have any chance to reach him, please?”
I don’t expect to see “Donald” in the next couple of weeks, so I decided to post Duke’s letter here on the theory that Donald is following the site closely to see if his 51st-ranked Trump International Golf Links can break into the Top 50.
Chairman, Trump International
From Duke Ishikawa (Tokyo International News)
Sir, I have two things to explain to you, please?
1. It will be a year and half, this coming September, since the March 11 disaster in Northern Japan. More than two hundred orphans were born from the earthquake and tsunami. They are still having a tough time. So we plan to have a charity skins game with Jumbo Ozaki, Isao Aoki and Tommy Nakajima. They are considered The Big 3 in Japan with more than 200 combined wins. They’ll play at the end of summer because kids’ school starts on Sept. 1
The first 16 holes will be for $500 or $1,000 each, then double for the last two holes. The three pros will donate 30% to 50% of their skins to the orphans for their schooling. We’ll be talking to leading TV stations to dover it, and I’m sure the AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, the New York Times and many U.S. media will cover it to. So my question is, is there a possibility of your sponsorship, please?
2. Tokyo is a candidate for the 2020 Summer Games, and surely golf will be continued as an Olympic event. But we don’t have good-enough courses in the Tokyo area. There are about 2,400 courses in Japan, but more than 90% of them are in mountain areas.That means far from where people live. Gas is a few times higher than US. We then have to pay more yen to the toll road. One bad example is the DIamond Cup, the men’s tournament held in June. They only had 6,839 admission for all four days. Because the course was too far. No business at all.
So we need a new golf course near Tokyo. But it must be Japan’s first Stadium-Type Course. The new course should be near Tokyo Disneyland, which is not far from Narita Airport. The name should be California Golf Park (CGP).We pick up all eighteen holes from famous ones in California. They should be the 16th of Cypress Point, the 18th and 8th from Pebble Beach. The tenth of Riviera CC. (I took this idea from the Bear’s Best in Las Vegas.) The main entrance should be named Goldrush Road instead of Magnolia Lane. The clubhouse will look like the capitol building in Sacramento, and one of our honorable members will be the former CA governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I’d like the architect to be one from Crenshaw-Coore, Nicklaus himself (not with his sons), Nick Faldo and Jumbo Ozaki.
The first stadium-type course in Japan has a good future of business. We have more than thirty-million populations in the Tokyo metropolitan area, so it should be quite easy to collect 100,000 spectators for a tournament if we can provide enough facility. (The biggest number for a US Open gallery was 387,045 in 2005 at Pinhurst CC. )There are about fifty professional golf tournaments, both men and women, in Japan. Two or three of them could be held at the California Golf Park. Each one would collect more than one hundred thousand people. I would expect quite similar results as the Wentworth Club in London.
The Eisenhower Trophy will be in Japan in 2014. Then, possibly, the 2020 Olympic Game. The Presidents Cup in 2015 will be in Korea, but we have another chance to invite it to Japan, because it is a home and away game.Then not only Japan but also Mr. Finchem will be pleased to see his Presidents Cup return to Asia. That will provide big opportunities for the golf business in Japan and also the CGP itself.
We used spent more than $200 million to $250 million to build one course in Japan. But the costs now are much less. Japan is no longer Number One in costs. So if you build Japan’s first stadium-type course, you will be able to make a giant step for your real estate business in a new territory.
Respectfully, Duke Ishikawa
On second thought, I’m going to try to get Duke’s letter to The Donald. The first part, anyway; the part soliciting a donation for the Japanese orphans. The Tokyo stadium-course proposal I may hold back to show to my accountants at Catch Basin. It would be great to have a Top 50 course that was actually owned by the Top 50.
Top 50 on TV: Still nothing this week, but Friday evening I slipped away from the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes to inspect the St. Annes Old Links of Lancashire, England. (Joining me were Sports Illustrated senior writer Michael Bamberger and GOLF Magazine senior writer Cameron Morfit.) Situated between the Pleasure Beach roller coaster and the more dignified neighborhoods of St. Annes, the Old Links is a modestly-duned and immaculately-maintained layout. There are bands of deep rough, but the playing corridors are wide enough to minimize ball searching and tame enough to encourage recovery shots. “These conditions are the sine qua non of links golf,” said Bamberger, who is wont to speak Latin or Greek when he’s on his game. “The English probably think of it as a working-man’s links, but if it were in America I’d rate St. Annes in the top one or two hundred.” I’d go even farther. I’d rate it No. 50 in the world.