Donald Trump asks for UK government aid for his two Scottish golf courses

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 23, 2020 05:52

US president Donald Trump is furloughing staff at his two Scottish and one Irish golf clubs, according to reports, while several more UK golf clubs have stated they have been appalled by the behaviour of local residents who have made a mess of their venues.

Owned beneficially by President Donald Trump, but run day-to-day by his two eldest sons, the Trump Organization is seeking UK and Irish government aid for Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire and Trump Doonbeg in Ireland, according to Bloomberg.

In the USA, the company is legally barred from seeking any government aid, but this is not the case in Europe.

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of the Trump resort in Aberdeenshire, told Bloomberg: “Like millions of businesses around the globe, we have been forced by government mandate to temporarily close our hospitality and leisure facilities.

“We are no different to any other business, including many media companies – this has nothing to do with Trump and does not benefit the business – the actions we have taken are solely to protect people and their families who would otherwise be out of work and struggling to survive financially.”

Local councillor Martin Ford said: “Trump doesn’t need the money and I don’t see why UK taxpayers of the future should be helping him out.”

As Bloomberg states, however, ‘there’s nothing improper about Trump companies seeking the UK and Irish funds, which are offered universally to help workers weather the crisis.’

More than 140,000 firms have applied for help to pay their wage bill through the UK government’s job retention scheme.

The programme funds 80 per cent of workers’ wages, up to £2,500 a month, if they are put on leave.

A similar Irish wage subsidy programme, which has been up and running for several weeks, covers 70 per cent of furloughed staff’s weekly take-home pay, subject to a cap, as long as they’re kept on the payroll.

Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead

In other Covid-19 news surrounding golf, more clubs are reporting poor behaviour by people who are mistreating their venues.

Bishopbriggs Golf Club told the Glasgow Times that it was “saddened” to see locals abusing the course by playing football, cycling over the greens and tees, allowing children to play in the bunkers and letting their dogs foul.

The club said it had opened up the greens to “promote physical and mental health at this difficult time” while the playing of golf has been banned.

A spokesman said: “Those not familiar with golf courses may be unaware of the thousands of pounds members spend preparing greens, tees and bunkers and unaware of the damage that they are causing to the course.

“We need people to respect the golf course by keeping off all the greens and tees as well as staying out of the bunkers.

“And dog owners, can you please ensure your pet is kept on the leash and all dog fouling is collected and removed.”

And Prestatyn Golf Club in Wales, has revealed it has had cyclists riding and people walking across its course, dogs running free on its greens and bags containing dog mess were thrown in bunkers by owners, plus buggies have been pushed over its fairways.

Club captain Dale Milne said: “It really is very upsetting to see the course being damage in this way over the last few weeks.

“I have been involved on the club council for more than five years and I’ve helped on the greens committee, so I appreciate how much works goes into keeping the course up to a championship status.

“We have dog mess on the course and in the bunkers, along with the plastic bags that hold the mess just discarded in the bushes and in the long grass. Dogs run through the bunkers and over the greens. It is just heartbreaking to see.

“If a green gets badly damaged, it can cost up to £50,000 to rectify. We just don’t have that money to throw away.”

Bollards have been put in place at the main entrance in an effort to deter dog walkers using the private car park.

“We do not have the funds to repair unnecessary damage caused by members of the public who have complete disregard for the golf course,” Milne added.

“All members understand the current sacrifices we are all enduring, but please could everyone be aware of the environmental damage dog fouling and other detrimental activities impacts on our championship course.

“We want to kindly ask the public to understand that it is private property. Please keep dogs on a lead, utilise public footpaths only and avoid the privately owned golf course.”

Crow Wood Golf Club near Glasgow has also discovered rubbish on fire and cycle marks on the course.

Some clubs have reported an extraordinary level of damage to their courses during the lockdown due to walkers, ranging from people picnicking on greens and in bunkers to quad bike and horse damage to the surfaces.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 23, 2020 05:52
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