Donald Trump and golf
Donald Trump is closely associated with the sport of golf. As a real estate developer, Trump began acquiring and constructing golf courses in 1999. By the time of his election as United States President in 2016, he owned 17 golf courses worldwide through his holding company, the Trump Organization. Courses owned by Trump have been selected to host various PGA and LPGA events, including the upcoming 2022 PGA Championship.
Following his election, Trump broke precedent with recent presidents and chose not to divest from his business holdings, including his golf courses. Although not illegal, this led to criticism from ethics lawyers and journalists for potential conflicts of interest. At least three lawsuits (D.C. and Maryland v. Trump, Blumenthal v. Trump and CREW v. Trump) have been filed claiming that foreign payments at Trump golf courses and hotels violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
Trump, according to Jack Nicklaus, "loves the game of golf more than he loves money". According to Golf Digest, his handicap is as low as 2.8. Trump began playing golf during his college years at the University of Pennsylvania. In the introduction to his 2005 book The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received, Trump wrote, "for me and millions of people—men, women, young and old around the world—golf is more than a game. It is a passion."
In 1999, Trump opened his first golf course: the Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach in Florida. Land for the US$45 million course was acquired through a lawsuit against Palm Beach County, Florida, after Trump's purchase of the Mar-a-Lago resort. By 2007, Trump owned 4 courses around the US. Following the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Trump began purchasing existing golf courses and re-designing them.
Golf courses owned by Trump hosted the LPGA Tour finale from 2001 to 2008, as well as the 2009 US Junior Amateur and US Junior Girls Championships. In 2014, the Professional Golfers' Association of America announced a multi-year partnership with the Trump Organization. The PGA of America selected Trump golf courses to host the 2017 Senior PGA Championship and the 2022 PGA Championship.
In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy in the 2016 presidential election with a controversial speech which led to companies such as Macy's and NBC cutting ties with the businessman. While speaking on illegal immigration, Trump claimed that Mexico is "sending people that have lots of problems... they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," drawing criticism from immigration and Latino advocacy groups. The LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, and United States Golf Association issued a joint statement, saying that while the organizations "do not usually comment on presidential politics, Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf." The PGA of America also decided to relocate the 2015 PGA Grand Slam of Golf—an exhibition match which had been scheduled to take place at Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles. Other upcoming events at Trump courses were not affected. In 2018, PGA Tour Latinoamérica held its Shell Tour Championship at Trump National Doral Miami's Golden Palm course after plans were announced to demolish the Melreese Country Club in Miami, which had held the event, for a football stadium.
Golf courses owned
As of December 2016, Trump owned 17 golf courses in the United States and abroad. Over nearly two decades (as he reported in his 2000–2018 tax filings), these golf courses had combined losses of $315.6 million.
- Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey – purchased in 2002.
- Trump National Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina – designed by Greg Norman, located on Lake Norman, purchased in 2012.
- Trump National Golf Club, Colts Neck, New Jersey – purchased in 2008.
- Trump National Golf Club, Hudson Valley, New York – purchased in 2010.
- Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, Florida – purchased in December 2012.
- Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles
- Trump National Doral Golf Club, Florida
- Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Florida
- Trump National Golf Club, Philadelphia
- Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C.
- Trump National Golf Club, Westchester, New York
Outside of the U.S.
- Trump International Golf Links, Scotland
- Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland
- Trump International Golf Club, Dubai
- Trump World Golf Club Dubai, Dubai
- Trump Turnberry, Scotland
Other golf courses
The Trump Organization also operates a public golf course built and owned by New York City under a 20-year contract awarded in 2013 by the administration of then Mayor Bloomberg. The course, which opened in 2015, is called Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, New York. Under the agreement, the city paid the course's utility and water bills while collecting no income for the first four years. In the first year of operation, ending in March 2016, the company had $8 million in gross receipts, and the city paid $1 million in water and sewage bills. In the second year of operation, gross receipts dropped 9.5%. For the operating year that ended March 2019, the Trump Organization reported a loss of $122,000; it now faces contractual fees of at least $300,000 per operating year from the city.
Trump previously licensed his name to the Trump International Golf Club in Puerto Rico, which served as host of the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open. The course filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015. According to Trump Organization executive vice president Eric Trump, the organization "merely licensed our name for a fee and [had] nothing to do with the ownership, development or entity."
Coats of arms
Trump has used a number of logos in the style of coats of arms for his businesses.
Joseph E. Davies, third husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post and a former US ambassador of Welsh origins, was granted a coat of arms by British heraldic authorities in 1939. After Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate built by Merriweather Post, in 1985, the Trump Organization started using Davies's coat of arms at Trump golf courses and estates across the country. It was also registered with the US patent and trademark office.
In 2008, Trump attempted to establish the American logo at his new Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie, Scotland, but was warned by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the highest authority for Scottish heraldry, that an act of the Scottish Parliament from 1672 disallows people using unregistered arms. In January 2012, shortly after the inauguration of the golf course, Trump unveiled the new coat of arms that had been granted to "The Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd" by the Lord Lyon in 2011:
Party per chevron: Azure two Mullets Argent; Vert a double headed Eagle displayed of the second, beaked, taloned and langued Gules, holding in its talons two Globes of the second; overall three chevronels Or.
"Numquam concedere" (Latin for "Never Give Up").
Following his election in 2016, Trump announced that he would not divest his business holdings, as other recent presidents had. Instead, Trump kept his ownership stake in the Trump Organization and appointed his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to manage the business. In an unusual rebuke from the Office of Government Ethics, director Walter Shaub called Trump's actions "wholly inadequate" and "meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective." In an interview with The New York Times, Trump explained: "As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest."
Just days after his inauguration, a lawsuit was filed in federal court seeking to block the president from receiving payments from foreign government entities at his businesses. The lawsuit alleged that these payments constitute a violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution. In February 2017, the president invited Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe to play at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida and stay at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Legal and ethical concerns were raised by organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation over foreign payments the president may receive from the visit. Trump has vowed to donate any such payments to the Treasury Department, although the specifics of this arrangement remain unclear. In June 2017, the attorney generals of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a separate lawsuit, claiming the president was "flagrantly violating" the Emoluments Clause.
A 2016 investigation by USA Today found that lobbyists and corporate executives had been purchasing memberships at Trump golf courses to gain favor or contact with the president. Membership fees at Trump courses can exceed US$100,000, leading to ethical concerns over a sitting president accepting money from people lobbying the government.
While campaigning to be president, Trump declared in August 2016: "I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to play golf". After becoming president, the amount of time he spent golfing generated controversy. Despite frequently criticizing his predecessor Barack Obama as having played golf too much as president, Trump golfed 11 times during his first eight weeks in office, when Obama did not golf at all in his first eight weeks, although Golf Digest concluded that Obama played 306 rounds of golf over his two terms, which the magazine describes as "...a fairly remarkable amount of golf while in office.".
According to CNN, Trump visited Trump-owned golf courses 92 times between becoming president in January 2017 and January 3, 2018, although the White House does not disclose when the president actually plays golf during a visit to a golf course. And the White House has on some occasions denied that Trump played golf during his visits even after photos published on social media showed him playing golf. In November 2018, The Washington Post found that the average number of days between golf rounds was around 5 days for Trump, and around 12–13 days for Obama.
Journalists and ethics experts have alleged that these frequent visits are a means of boosting publicity at the courses to sell more memberships. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's golfing, saying that his time on the course was spent "developing deeper and better relationships with members of Congress in which those relationships have helped push forward the president's agenda." But CNN reported in January 2018 that Trump was known to have played golf with members of Congress only seven times at a Trump-owned golf course.
Vice president Mike Pence stayed at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in 2019 while meeting with Irish officials in Dublin. Pence was originally going to end his trip in Doonbeg, where he has familial ties, but Trump suggested that he stay at the Trump property instead, which required daily flights of a more than one hour each way.
- List of presidential trips made by Donald Trump (2017)
- List of presidential trips made by Donald Trump (2018)
- List of presidential trips made by Donald Trump (2019)
- List of presidential trips made by Donald Trump (2020)
- List of things named after Donald Trump
- Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act
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- DiMeglio, Steve (March 3, 2015). "Donald Trump brings new life to world of golf". USA Today. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Trump, Donald J. (2005). Trump: The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received. Crown/Archetype. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-307-23854-2.
- "Donald Trump: King of Clubs". Golf Magazine. May 3, 2014. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
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- Benischek, Mike (November 9, 2016). "Archive: Donald Trump breathes new life into Dutchess golf course". The Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
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- Kranish, Michael (January 31, 2019). "How the relationship between Trump and Bloomberg went into a tailspin". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Hu, Winnie; Palmer, Emily (June 2, 2017). "Trump Golf Course Struggles in Bronx, Where Many Can't Afford to Play". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
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- Guest (January 17, 2012). "Donald Trump awarded Scottish coat of arms after four-year battle". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- Court of the Lord Lyon, @LyonCourt (November 14, 2016). "Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd was granted arms in 2011, replacing an assumed design they had previously used". Twitter. Retrieved February 14, 2018.[non-primary source needed]
- Court of the Lord Lyon, @LyonCourt (January 21, 2017). "We granted these arms to Trump International Golf Course Scotland Ltd in 2012. Here is the colour version: ..." Twitter. Retrieved February 15, 2017.[non-primary source needed]
- "Trump confirms Doonbeg buy – rebranded "Trump International Golf Links, Ireland"". irishgolfdesk.com. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "About the Course – Trump International Golf Club 2016 – Doonbeg". trumpgolfireland.com. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- Schouten, Fredreka (January 11, 2017). "Top government ethics official denounces Trump's business plans". USA Today. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Rein, Lisa (January 11, 2017). "Federal ethics chief blasts Trump's plan to break from businesses, calling it 'meaningless'". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Donald Trump's New York Times Interview: Full Transcript". The New York Times. November 23, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Lipton, Eric; Liptak, Adam (January 22, 2017). "Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Siemaszko, Corky (February 9, 2017). "Japanese PM's Golf Trip To Trump Resort Hits Ethical Sand Trap". NBC News. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Davis, Aaron C.; Tumulty, Karen (June 12, 2017). "D.C. and Maryland AGs: Trump 'flagrantly violating' emoluments clause". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Heath, Brad; Schouten, Fredreka; Reilly, Steve; Penzenstadler, Nick; Madhani, Aamer (September 8, 2017). "Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president". USA Today. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Superville, Darlene (January 20, 2018). "He said-he said: 10 times that Trump has contradicted Trump". Associated Press. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Beall, Joel (March 20, 2017). "President Trump appears to still really like golf, makes 11th trip to course in eight weeks in office". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Weinman, Sam (January 19, 2017). "We've crunched the numbers, and it's official: President Obama played A LOT of golf while in office". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Cillizza, Chris (January 3, 2018). "Donald Trump's huge golf hypocrisy". CNN. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Bump, Philip. "Trump played so little golf last month that he tied Obama". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Kumar, Anita (July 7, 2017). "Trump personally pockets club membership fees, breaking with industry norms". The Miami Herald. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
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- Smith, Allan (September 3, 2019). "Trump made 'suggestion' Pence stay at president's Irish golf club, VP's chief of staff says". NBC News. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to |
- Trump Golf, Official website
- Trump Golf Count
- "First Golfer: Donald Trump's relationship with golf has never been more complicated" by Alan Shipnuck, originally appeared in the August 7, 2017 edition of Sports Illustrated