Steven Wilson has been at Trump International in Aberdeenshire since the very start of the high-profile project. Working closely with the Trump family over the years, he has discovered that the company is entirely focused on attention to detail and the pursuit of perfection in everything they do.
You’ve been at Trump International from the start. What is your overall role?
“I have been here since the grow-in. I’ve seen it turn from dunes to a golf course. In a nutshell, I look after the golf course and the estate. The course is large and the estate itself is 1,500 acres. I look after about half of that; 700 acres. The rest looks after itself as it’s farmland. I have a good team of 15 guys that includes a mechanic and a landscape gardener.”
What is the Trump family’s approach to golf?
“Attention to detail. We work for a company that thrives on everything being immaculate. Every touch point for a guest has to be perfect and that starts with the minute they arrive onsite to their departure. The Trump brand is known for luxury and quality and you can see this right through every element of the golf experience at a Trump course. It’s all about the presentation.”
How does that manifest itself?
“All our course furniture, signage and bins are regularly taken down, cleaned and repainted. Our tarmac paths are absolutely spotless with no invasion of weeds. This is what makes us different, and sets us apart – the finer things. The visual things.”
You started using Hugh King’s RZ2 a couple of years ago. How are you applying it?
“We use Hugh King’s RZ2 for pretty much everything. We use it for divot repair on a daily basis on tees and our practice facilities. Believe it or not, we also use it in our bunkers. We put our own pure dune sand in our bunkers which can dry out, and if that happens the sand can blow about a lot. So we mix it with some of Hugh King’s RZ2 which tends to hold more moisture which keeps the sand a bit damper. It’s a great help. It means we don’t have to shovel sand about after a windy day.”
Do you also use it to rebuild tees and bunkers?
“During the winter we re-turf all our white and championship tees. We strip off the existing turf and use it to build revetted bunkers and then put rootzone down and re-turf the tees. We probably lifted 40 individual tees during the winter. The turf we took off the tees was used to rebuild bunkers – we do it every year. We get new tees every year but the turf doesn’t go to waste. The turf that comes off the tee is quite thatchy and fibrous which is great for building bunkers.”
What impresses you most about Hugh King’s rootzone?
“I really like the stuff. My biggest thing is it’s very clean and stone-free. It’s great for applying seed and the germination rates are fantastic. If I was putting our seeds into pure sand, it would take a lot longer to get any seeds to germinate. The added soil and moisture in the rootzone really makes a difference.”
So you notice a difference when you use the rootzone rather than pure sand?
“If we are divotting tees or fairways, the majority of the seed germinates whereas before because the sand was so dry, a lot of the seed would blow out. With Hugh King’s rootzone, it tends to bind everything together. If you’re putting on a bit of irrigation at night, it just holds the moisture. It’s great.”
This must help achieve the presentation levels expected at Trump International.
“When you put turf down, you look for your roots to grab. When you put seed in the rootzone, you want the seed to germinate in the soil. That’s why I buy in Hugh King’s rootzone because I get these results. We like to use the best of the best, and I think Hugh King’s rootzone is the best out there. Hugh King’s reputation is the best there is.”