Double A - Proud To Supply Trump International Golf Links

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Double A - Proud To Supply Trump International Golf Links

Steve Wilson, Links Superintendent of Trump International Golf Links sits down with Liam Armit of Double A to talk about his experience managing a world class golf course, the announcement of a second championship course, how he and his team have found the use of John Deere machinery, along with advise for people starting out in the industry. 

Stunning aerial shot of the Trump International Golf Links with the Scottish flag flying.

Can you give a brief description of your background and how you came to work at Trump International Golf Links?

I was brought up in a small town, Dunoon in Argyle and Bute, in the West of Scotland. I did an apprenticeship for 5 years at Cowal Golf Club, I then moved to Renfrew Golf Club for 3 and a half years, before moving East to the Dukes, under Derek Robson for about 5 years, before finally moving up here to Trump International Golf Links to work as Grow-In Supervisor around 11 years ago. I grew in the first Championship Course here, and was then given the role of Links Superintendent in 2014. 

Aerial view of John Deere equipment on golf course on Trump International Golf

What size is your team and how do you share your work load?

We have around 15 full time staff, including our Mechanic. All jobs are rotated, which is made clear to everyone when they go through their interview for joining our team. I think it’s only fair that everybody is able to do every task. It means we can work as a team more productively and gives the guys a bit of variety as they can do all sorts of jobs around the course, which keeps everyone motivated and produces consistent results. 

Aerial view of golf course maintenance at Trump International, showcasing care with John Deere

What do you enjoy most about your role, and what is the biggest challenge that you and your team face when maintaining the course?

I enjoy being out there, it’s a great office to have. It’s a beautiful place here and every day there is a different light, a different picture to appreciate. I love seeing my team go out there and manicure something that is very special to me as I grew the course in from the beginning. It’s great seeing the guys out there, being part of something amongst the great dunes. The biggest challenge for us, like many golf courses is probably the weather. We have very dry, cold Springs up here with very little rainfall, we then get a short window throughout the year to grow grass and then it’s into Winter again. 

Dramatic landscape of Trump International Golf Links with winding paths, rugged dune.

Tell me a bit about the newly announced second course. What are your ambitions with the new course and how will it compare to the original course?

The second course will have equal standards to the original course. The Trump Organisation don’t do things by half measure, everything will be built to a high specification and high quality. I expect the course will be of just high standards as the original, although playing very differently. It will be mixed of links and heath, it’s going to be really special. 

Maintenance crew in action on a vibrant green at Trump International Golf Links utilizing John Deere

How have you and your team found using John Deere equipment and what machines are you using on different parts of the course?

I first used John Deere when I was down in St Andrews, working alongside Double A back 15 years ago. I’ve found the kit consistent and ever evolving and the team really enjoy using the machines. The 8000 Series Fairway Mowers are fantastic bits of kit for our fine fescue fairways. The quality of cut on the 2653’s are immaculate especially on our walkways, which the Trump Organisation are very proud of. We also love the 220E pedestrian mowers with their floating heads, we use these on our greens which allow us to get our height of cut to keep our playing surfaces consistent. We use the 8800’s to cut our rough’s and around the estate grounds, it’s a really good bit of kit that gets used a lot. All-in- all, the guys really enjoy using the John Deere machines. They are very user friendly and provide a great finish to our course. 

Maintenance team using John Deere machinery on the lush green fairways of Trump International Golf

How has your experience with Double A been?

The support that we get from Double A is fantastic. I’ve dealt with Double A for around 17 years now and I’ve known Sandy Armit (Founder & Chairman) for a long time. We have created a great relationship with Double A’s Northern Sales Specialist Gary Stuart who gives us support when required. We are getting fantastic support from Double A for our upcoming hosting of the Senior PGA Championship this year. 

Close-up of Links Superintendent Steve Wilson and DoubleA team on the golf course, with John Deere

What would your advise be for someone thinking on starting a career in greenkeeping today?

Greenkeeping has it’s challenges. I started off in a very small club with 2 members of staff and I’m now going to be managing 2 championship golf courses and a large team of people. I never thought I would make it to this level. It’s taken a lot of hard work, flexibility and motivation to stay in the industry. It’s been tough, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think if you really want to thrive and be a leader of a top class golf course you have to earn it and be dedicated from the start. Go through the stages of college and serving as a greenkeeper, educate yourself, network. If you’re dedicated you can go anywhere in this industry. 

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