Yes, you can hate Donald Trump and play on his golf courses at the same time

Sam McWilliams
Donald Trump tees off at the The Trump International Golf Links Course in Balmedie, Scotland: Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As an obsessive golfer and an opponent to Donald Trump’s political and personal agenda, I’m facing a specific question.

Can I play on his courses without supporting his bigoted policies? Does playing his Trump Turnberry course on the west coast of Scotland make me complicit to his anti-abortion stance or his rejection of transgender rights?

An easy response to my problem is simply – just play another course mate.

This would easy advice to follow if his golf courses were not really really good.

His two Scottish courses are challenging, beautiful with some holes proving to be truly awe-inspiring.

Admittedly, not playing his courses would be a lot easier if they were just another overpriced corporate course kept going by annual dentistry conventions.

Trump Turnberry was voted by Golf Monthly as the best golf course in UK and Ireland while Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen sits at number eight in the same list.

Unlike his university or steaks, he and his investors have produced a top quality product.

A devoted anti-Trump consumer activist would argue that I shouldn’t play them because they represent the US President’s business interests and, if more people did so, they’re going bust would help prove British rejection of his platform.

The funny thing is, both these heavily invested courses are losing money hand over fist– in no small part because they are world class golf courses in remote locations with eye-watering green fees.

So how do I respond? I want to play these courses because they are excellent and in my opinion to do so would not make me complicit to Trump’s increasing bizarre tenure in the Oval Office.

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I do not believe this point of view makes me unprincipled or intrinsically compromised as an opponent of the Donald.

There is, however, a specific scenario in which I could not play these courses.

If the green fees at the courses went directly or indirectly to fund or substantiate his campaigns and political platform – I could not defend playing them. This is not the case.

We could ask what is the difference between me playing Trump courses and going on holiday in the States? Is travelling to the US legitimising the Donald’s latest immigration measures?

In my opinion, travelling to the US pays tribute only to the pleasures and experiences the country has to offer in spite of his efforts. Surely playing his courses similarly speaks to the great course design and management rather than Donald Trump the man and politician.

Surely playing Trump courses because of his politics cannot be compared to another prescient golfing issue – that of men-only golf courses.

If I had played Muirfield, for example, before changing its rules to allow women members, I agree that would have made me complicit with the club’s then gender-discrimination.

Following this same logic, the connection between Donald Trump’s plans for a Mexico border wall and me hitting a double bogey on the 17th is surely too tenuous to be considered.

My opinion may not be a popular one and some may describe me as a cynical golf nut willing to forgo alleged “principles” to have a nice round.

My reply would be there are greater fights to fight than politicising a Saturday game of golf.