But to many people in Scotland, his course here has been a failure. Over the past decade, Trump has battled with homeowners, elbowed his way through the planning process, shattered relationships with elected leaders and sued the Scottish government. On top of that, he has yet to fulfill the lofty promises he made.
Trump has also reported to Scottish authorities that he lost millions of dollars on the project — even as he claims on U.S. presidential disclosure forms that the course has been highly profitable.
Trump’s original plan: a sprawling resort in the ancestral home of golf with two courses, a 450-room luxury hotel and spa, a conference center, employee housing, a turf-grass research center and a holiday community with hundreds of villas, condos and homes. The project would pump millions of dollars into the local economy and create 6,000 jobs — maybe even 7,000 jobs, Trump said at one news conference. Tourists would travel here from around the world, he promised, along with well-known celebrities such as Scottish actor Sean Connery.
Today, the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen employs 150 people and consists of one golf course that meanders through the sand dunes, a clubhouse with a restaurant and 19 rooms for rent in a renovated mansion and former carriage house. There is also a maintenance facility and a road running through the property. Lonely and desolate, the resort has attracted no major tournaments, and neighbors say the parking lot is rarely, if ever, full.