Donald Trump loosens his suit-clad shoulders, grips the driver he’s pulled from a top-class selection of golf clubs and swings it back and forth. Feeling adequately warmed up he lines up the club with the tee and in less than a second a powerful shot sees the dimpled white ball fly about 260 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. That’s almost as good as a professional, according to Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) averages.
“Did you get that?” Trump eagerly inquires of the dozen or so photographers hustled a few metres out of the way.
A short time later the US businessman tells Arabian Business during our one-on-one interview: “I don’t think I’m going to top my drive like I did... that ball was 260 down the middle. It’s very hard to do that; you’re in a suit, you’re playing with a club and you don’t even know what the shaft is and you hit it down the sprinkler heads, you go right down... the middle of the fairway. I won’t be able to better that drive.”
Trump has ordered his men to collect the golf ball and frame it with the club he used. It will go on display in the clubhouse of the new Trump International golf course he’s building as part of Akoya by Damac, a 29 million sq ft master development in Dubai.
The 18-hole PGA Championship golf course will be surrounded by luxurious mansions, villas, townhouses and apartments, including a hundred Trump Estate villas designed by Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
Five years after his first proposed project in Dubai — the Trump International Tower & Hotel on Nakheel’s The Palm Jumeirah — was axed amid the global financial crisis, The Donald is back and this time he’s confident of making an impact.
“We’re going to have one of the truly incredible golf courses in the world and I would expect it will have the biggest tournaments and the great players coming here often,” Trump declares, with his usual air of confidence-cum-arrogance, depending on your opinion of the guy.
Indeed, the course has been designed by renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse, who Trump says he insisted be brought into the project once his company became involved.
According to him, Damac’s original plan involved a below-par designer, a far lower budget and a smaller course.
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