Newt Gingrich a member at Donald Trump Golf Club

Regardless of your politics, it’s always interesting to see which politicians are into golf. I have to admit Newt Gingrich is a surprise. I would pay to watch Newt and his belly try to swing a golf club.

I mention this because Donald Trump mentioned today that Newt is a member of of Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.

When real estate mogul Donald Trump welcomes former speaker Newt Gingrich to Trump Tower today, he will not only be welcoming another presidential candidate, but also a member of his exclusive golf club in Northern Virginia.

“I have a lot of respect for Newt,” Trump said. “Newt’s a member, so I love my members. I always love my members.”

Trump National is a prestigious club for high rollers, so perhaps this isn’t a surprise. Newt likes to spend the millions he makes from his cronies.

Donald Trump tests his brand on golf courses

Donald Trump has plastered his name on countless products, and now he’s trying to take advantage of the real estate recession by picking up golf courses on the cheap.

Donald Trump is betting his name will boost the value of his golf courses even as the premium for the brand declines on condo properties and ratings slide on his show, The Apprentice. The real estate developer turned TV personality has acquired nine golf properties in the U.S., including four since 2008. In July he started building a £750 million ($1.15 billion) golf course and resort in Scotland.

Trump says putting his name on the courses increases membership and the fees he can charge. Elsewhere, the record is mixed. The Trump name hasn’t prevented the failure of real estate developments in Florida and Mexico. Nor has it helped his New York condos sell for more than comparable apartments in the city, according to Sofia Song, vice-president for research at StreetEasy.com, which compiles real estate listings. At the same time, Trump’s hotels in New York and Chicago are outperforming their competition based on occupancy rates and room prices.

With the Trump name appearing on vodka, health products, mattresses, furniture, cuff links, shirts, ties, and a seminar company, the brand has been devalued, says Josh Feldmeth, chief executive officer of the New York division of consulting firm Interbrand. “He has cashed out.”

The article goes on to explain that there are disagreements on the value of Trumps brand. The golf lifestyle demographic seems to be in Trump’s sweet spot, so this branding push might make sense.

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