Watch a special preview on the "In Conversation With" conversation between Donald Trump and Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger in the video player above.
Golf is just fine the way it is, says Donald Trump, and efforts to attract more players by making the hole bigger and kicking soccer balls on a golf course only cheapen the game.
“We’re bringing the game down with these 15-inch holes and ‘let’s play soccer golf,’” Trump said. “Golf should be an aspirational game. We should keep it a high level and not bring it down because a group of people want to sell some more golf clubs or golf balls.”
With his criticism of 15-inch golf holes, Trump was taking aim at Hack Golf, an initiative launched by TaylorMade CEO Mark King and the PGA of America early this year to bring new players to golf. The 15-inch hole has been Hack Golf’s most prominent proposal to attract novice players so far, getting front-page treatment from the New York Times. King could not be reached for comment on Trump's remarks.
Since he opened his first golf course, Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., 15 years ago, Trump has become a major player in golf. He owns 17 golf properties throughout the world, including a public-access course in New York City slated to open next year. He also hosts one of the PGA Tour’s biggest events, the Cadillac Championship, at Trump National Doral, outside Miami. Last week, he announced his purchase of the Turnberry resort in Scotland – a course on the British Open rota – for $63 million. The very next day he announced the 2022 PGA Championship would be played at Trump National in Bedminster.
Trump made his comments on Hack Golf in an episode of “In Conversation With,” a Golf.com video series. Sports Illustrated’s Michael Bamberger, the show’s host, asked Trump why he’s investing so much in golf when the National Golf Foundation predicts that the game could lose 5 million golfers in the next five years. Trump disputed those figures and said the National Golf Foundation was “not a positive force for golf.”
“Golf is booming throughout the world, throughout different parts of the world, and people should be talking about it,” Trump said. “Instead we have these characters from the National Golf Foundation.”
Trump also took issue with the view that fewer people are playing golf because the game takes too much patience to learn in the hectic pace of modern life.
“I disagree. I think that a new Tiger comes along,” Trump said. "That’s what started it to an extent. It started with Arnold. It started with Ben Hogan. There were always people.”
The full "In Conversation With" interview with Donald Trump premieres on Golf.com on May 15.
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