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.

The British Open celebrates golf history at St. Andrews

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 15: General View of an Open Championship flag during the first round of the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews on July 15, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The professional golf scene today is mostly centered on stateside competition, but the game’s historic roots are overseas, and this week marks one of the game’s oldest and most prestigious competitions – the British Open.

The Canadian Press had a great interview with Arnold Palmer, one of the first American players to play on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“I felt that if you were going to be a champion, you couldn’t be a champion without playing in the Open and hopefully winning the Open,” [Palmer] said. “So that was part of the whole program for what I was doing.”

Palmer won the Masters and U.S. Open in 1960. On his way to St. Andrews for his first British Open, a conversation with sports writer Bob Drum led Palmer to effectively create the modern version of the Grand Slam.

He finished one shot behind Kel Nagle. Palmer won his claret jugs at Royal Birkdale in 1961 and Royal Troon in 1962.

Even so, St. Andrews remains a big part of his life. Palmer was given an honorary degree at the St. Andrews University on Tuesday. The only disappointment was not getting to play in the “Champions Challenge” because of bad weather Wednesday.

The Bleacher Report also put together a nice preview of the field this year. As the article states, with 49 of the top 50 players on the field this week, it’s sure to be an exciting tournament. Will Tiger be able to regain the mental determination that led him to so many victories? Will Justin Rose and his perfect rhythm net another win this year?

If you’re interested in getting to the Open, or just getting to the Old Course some time soon, Wikitravel has a comprehensive guide to getting the most out of your St. Andrews experience.

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