22 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
No. 2 Donald Trump
Principal, The Trump Organization
2013 ranking: 4
With each passing year, Donald Trump
becomes a more dynamic, more potent
force in golf.
Only the foolish still dismiss him as
a dilettante with limited horizons and
questionable tastes. He now owns highly
regarded golf properties on two continents, most of them purchased at below-market prices, and legions of people
around the world have come to regard the
Trump brand as the industry’s gold standard.
More importantly, from Trump’s point
of view, Trump now commands the attention of golf’s institutional powers, particularly the ones that oversee the sport’s
most prized national and international
competitions. Once, Trump lusted for
major championships. Today, he has them
in his back pocket.
“When you do something that’s great,”
he recently told Arabian Business, “people
want to be there. They want to be part of
Trump’s portfolio has been called “the
greatest collection of golf courses ever
assembled by one person.” If the opinion
carries weight, it does so largely on the
strength of Trump’s European holdings,
At the top of the list is his most recent
acquisition, the under-performing
Turnberry resort (now Trump Turnberry)
on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast. The his-
toric property has a pedigree few oth-
ers can match, as it’s hosted the Open
Championship four times and is in line to
host it again in a decade or so. For some-
one who’s long believed that he deserves a
major, it’s a golf dream fully realized.
Trump has said that an Irish Open is
being considered for another bargain-basement acquisition he made this year,
the former Lodge at Doonbeg in County
Clare, Ireland (now Trump International
Golf Links Ireland). And it seems only a
matter of time before his partially completed resort in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
– its course checks in at No. 8 on Golf
World’s list of the top tracks in Great
Britain and Ireland – is rewarded with an
event like the Scottish Open.
Trump has bigger ambitions for the
course he’ll soon debut in Dubai, which
he believes would be “an incredible venue”
for the Ryder Cup.
“They will be bringing [the Ryder Cup]
to this region at some point, and we will
have the best course by far,” he recently
While Trump’s 11 U.S. properties may
ultimately offer less than meets the eye
— not a single one is listed among Golf
Digest’s Top 100 Courses in America
— during the past year his club in
Bedminster, N.J., has secured a pair of
majors, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and
the 2022 PGA Championship.
What’s more, Bloomberg reports that
officials from the United States Golf
Association, the group that awards the
event Trump desires most — the U.S.
Open — have sized up the course Trump
has agreed to manage in New York City’s
Ferry Point Park.
“There will be a major championship
announced there in the not-too-distant
future,” Trump said.
Add it all up, and Trump’s climb toward
the pinnacle of power in golf has all but
ended. He’s paid his dues, and now he’s
going to reap the rewards.
No. 3 Dana Garmany
CEO, Troon Golf
2013 Ranking: 2
Dana Garmany’s drop from No. 2 to No.
3 on our list is a mirage. The founder and
leader of Troon Golf, the world’s largest
management company, has more power
than a year ago — financial firepower to
Kohlberg & Co., a private equity firm,
acquired a majority of Troon’s stock,
replacing Starwood Capital and Goldman
Sachs as majority shareholders.
That move also brings a big name to
the table: Greg Norman. His organization, Great White Shark Enterprises, is an
investor in Kohlberg & Co., and Norman,
“The team is really happy about this,”