MOORESVILLE – The Trump Organization receives about 100 requests a week from golf courses asking for renovation help, according to Eric Trump.
As a private enterprise that owns a luxury assortment of 15 golf courses in places like Scotland, California and the United Arab Emirates, the company focuses on real estate development and creating properties anew.
“There’s no question this is a tournament course,” Trump said of Trump National Golf Club Charlotte. The Trump Organization bought The Point Lake and Golf Club in April 2012 for $3 million and rebranded it. Renovations to the club’s golf course, originally designed by former Australian professional golfer Greg Norman in 1999, were completed in August. They included stretching the course from 6,900 to 7,500 yards, expanding the driving range, constructing TifEagle Bermuda greens that are more heat resistant and renovating all its bunkers.
Eric, the 29-year-old son of Donald and Ivana Trump, visited the Lake Norman club Nov. 11 to discuss trends in golf and plans for business expansion.
While the club has about 1,050 general members, Trump said that when The Trump Organization bought it, 280 people immediately were eager to sign up for golf memberships.
“It was the most incredible thing,” he said. “There were people who were social members who had never played before coming in and signing up – they’d lived in the community forever – because they knew the level we were going to take it to.”
A golf membership at Trump National Golf Club Charlotte costs a one-time fee of $60,000 and dues of $550 a month, according to General Manager Gavin Arsenault. Membership is open to all.
Twenty-five years from now, Trump said, he could see the company’s holdings including anywhere from 25 to 40 courses, if the right investment opportunities come along.
Golf courses are a focal point in the Trump business model. Trump can see a future where accommodations are built at clubs to house members from other locations who fly in to test their skills on a new set of fairways.
“If you’re a pro, we better stretch you and hurt you a little bit because that’s what those guys expect because it’s the only way they’re going to get better,” he said.
And as a business, the company desires to align its name with quality and strive for improvement, as well.
For the Trumps, privately owned country clubs are a place where members should want to go to rejuvenate when they’re not working.
“When I’m down here and I’m with the members, we’re checking to make sure they always love their food, that the staff’s on point and that white-glove service exists,” he said. “And it means a lot to (members).”
Trump said that with a few exceptions, your father’s golf club doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now just as common, he noted, to find a husband sitting by the pool while his wife hits the greens to play a round of golf with her friends as it is to see the reverse scenario.
“Culturally, I think it’s become less practiced for a husband to go away and spend 12 hours at a golf club and leave his kids and wife at home all day,” he said.
The Trump model for country clubs includes providing all the best family amenities, such as swimming pools, camp activities and fitness centers, so everyone feels at home.
“And at the end of the day, (members) come into this room, and they get a family meal together,” Trump said. “And they love it. And they talk, and everyone has a smile on their face. There’s no resentment for not being with the kids because it’s a whole family atmosphere.”
The importance of children in maintaining a healthy, balanced environment becomes clear when one takes into account that the Lake Norman club’s surrounding neighborhood holds approximately 1,400 kids, Trump said.
“The most successful clubs are the ones who nurture the kids – who make it their home, as well,” Trump said. “The game of golf is going to survive off one thing. And that’s getting the next generation out there – no different than any sport.”
A Trump Fourth of July fireworks show over the water – with its dazzling display of colors and sounds – has quickly become a tradition all Lake Norman members look forward to viewing with their families.
And this past July 4, Trump popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, Lara Yunaska, at the family’s Seven Springs estate in Bedford, N.Y.