When I was quite young my Dad and I were at a much loved inland course here in England. I had to ask him about what I kept on seeing.
“Dad, around lots of the greens there are like grey trails of ashy stuff. Why don’t the greenkeepers sweep that up?”
My Dad looked uncomfortable, like I had asked about the facts of life. It was actually the opposite. It was the facts of death.
He told me that they were dead people. Who loved the golf club so much that they wanted their final resting place to be there after they had been cremated. Ooh, I didn’t expect that. I worried about the wind blowing them away, or dog walkers letting their dogs getting too near… Sometimes, you shouldn’t ask.
I was reminded of this when last week the rebel LIV tour had their third event at Trump Bedminster. Because, as the players went to the first tee, nearby is a brand new grave, of Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana. Indeed, there are 10 plots there for future burials of the Trump family. The area was cordoned off, a discrete plaque and flowers, but it was there for the scant crowds who paid $1 to come in to see.
Which technically makes Trump National Bedminster a cemetery rather than a golf club. Under New Jersey law if the Trump Family Trust designate the land as being used for cemetery purposes it is exempt from real estate property taxes, sales tax, income and business tax. It also cannot be sold to satisfy any court judgments. As the 45th President looks set to be the most litigated man in history, this looks like smart tax evasion. Ivana’s estate was also charged with the burial, maintenance and club membership fees.
It’s no longer a golf course, it’s going to be the new Graceland.