Trump Says Course on Schedule But Doubts Linger

DONALD TRUMP yesterday insisted he is “on target” to open his Scottish golf course ahead of schedule, even though there is little sign of the major construction work needed to complete the £1billion project.

With just 17 months to go until the grand opening of what the billionaire is promoting as “the world’s greatest golf course” new images from the site have cast doubt on whether it will be finished in time.

Only a handful of diggers were at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, on Friday afternoon with barely any visible signs of what will become the 18 championship holes, luxury hotel and clubhouse. Much of the area still looks the same as when New York-based Trump, 64, first visited the dunes at the Menie Estate in April 2006.

Residents living next to what will become the 7,400-yard Trump International Golf Links also say they understand the development is not proceeding fast enough to be open for the first tee-offs on July 1, 2012. But Mr Trump laughed off any concerns surrounding the timescale with his right-hand man, George Sorial, insisting “all rough work” for all 18 holes had already been completed.

He told the Scottish Sunday Express: “What we’ve been doing for the past couple of months is we’ve been getting down to the detailed work, shaping the course, building tee boxes, and we are ready to plant our turf.

“We are in the process of rigging the entire site with electricity and installing irrigation systems.

“Depending on weather and conditions we’ve been able to do it at about a hole a month so 18 holes take about a year and a half, so we are very much on schedule to open by July 1 next year.” Mr Sorial said a planning application for the permanent clubhouse would be submitted shortly with construction to begin soon afterwards.

The lavish hotel would follow. However, he stressed they are “not in any rush” to build the 950 holiday homes and 500 houses included in the masterplan, admitting the residential village may not take shape for several years.

But the lack of visible progress – particularly shaping what will become the 18 fairways – has led to speculation within the area that the course will not be ready by next year.

The concerns come just days after another of Mr Trump’s major projects, for a signature tulip-shaped hotel in Dubai costing £2billion, was mysteriously cancelled. Menie resident David Milne, who has views over the site from his windows, said there has been a distinct lack of progress.

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