Former and aspiring US President Donald Trump’s first foray into golf club operations in the southern hemisphere is nearing completion in Indonesia.

Trump International Golf Club Lido, an 18-hole upscale property development in a newly created special economic zone near Bogor, 60km south of Jakarta, is set to fully open in the second half of the year. 

It will target wealthy Indonesians and Jakarta-based expats for membership as well as Asia-Pacific golf tourists seeking – as general manager Steven Thielke suggests – “an elevated golfing experience”.

Nestling on a plateau rising to 700 metres above sea level, elevation is readily apparent as the first holes play towards the course’s high point at the sixth tee box where there are spectacular views of surrounding mountains including Mt Salak, an eroded stratovolcano that last erupted in 1938. Then it’s a gentle descent towards the half-way house. The front nine holes of Lido’s zoysia fairways and tiff eagle greens are already in play for special guests, while the back nine and a massive 33,000 square-metre clubhouse are a few months from completion.

Quality is already obvious on the Ernie Els-designed layout that will add a new dimension to golf near Bogor – an appealing golf destination with 10 nearby courses – as well as more broadly in Indonesia and South-East Asia. 

Bogor’s moderate climate offers appealing respite from the heat and humidity of Jakarta and nearby lowlands, yet it is easily reachable from the Indonesian capital. Bogor is also known for its 87-hectare botanical gardens, established in 1812 by then British lieutenant governor of Java, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, and which boasts 400 palm species from around the world.

Trump Golf’s portfolio comprises 18 properties, with 11 in the United States, two in Scotland, one each in Ireland and Dubai, one each under construction in Oman and Indonesia and the yet-to-be-revamped former Bali Nirwana Golf Club, originally designed by Greg Norman, in Bali, Indonesia. 

Steven Thielke [below] – a South African who was formerly general manager at Singapore Island Country Club, The Els Club Desaru Coast and TPC Kuala Lumpur (both in Malaysia) – says the Lido development, ultimately comprising an on-site golf hotel as well as 21 corporate mini clubhouses and additional private villas, will feature the same standards of excellence as Trump Golf’s other acclaimed golf properties.

“Inheriting Trump Golf’s legacy of excellence, Trump International Golf Club Lido is set to emerge as a premier Asian destination,” he said. “I am sure the resort will swiftly rise to eminence, becoming the pride of Indonesian golf and a must-stop for international golf tourists coming to Indonesia.”

While not finalised, visitor green fees will start at about USD250 (approx. AUD380) rising to USD350 (approx. AUD530) at peak times. The course will play 6527 metres (7138 yards) from the tips, 5860m (6408y) from the blue tees and 4819m (5270y) from the red tees.

Australian Michael Pascoe, formerly at Noosa Golf Club on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has been appointed course superintendent and a director of golf will soon follow.

With mountain and valley views from every hole, Trump International GC Lido features wide forgiving pine-fringed fairways, well-placed but not over-abundant scalloped bunkers, ravines and gullies. It will appeal to low markers who will feel they have a good chance of matching or approaching par and higher handicappers who will like its wide fairways and bail-out options on most holes.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta international airport is 90 minutes by road. Bogor, a satellite city of Jakarta, has numerous hotels and facilities, while two golf courses there also offer mid-level accommodation. 

Owned by Indonesian corporate giant MNC Land, Trump International Golf Club Lido adjoins a huge multi-faceted resort complex named SEZ MNC Lido City (in which the Trump organisation isn’t involved) that, when completed, will feature lakes, hotels, theme parks, movie production studios, retail and dining facilities. It is located within a specially created tax-free zone designed to attract tourism and development to this part of West Java. 

MNC Land also owns the former Bali Nirwana golf resort, which is awaiting redevelopment and also will feature a Trump Golf complex.

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