MEMBERS of Donald Trump’s Turnberry golf club have been told to cough up £700 more a year to play the course.
The huge 38% hike takes the annual fee over the £2500 mark and it’s feared the rise will force out many locals who have played the course for years.
News of the higher cash demand has emerged as President-elect Trump announced he plans to leave his business empire to concentrate on leading America.
However, it appears his departure has come too late for the members of Turnberry.
One said: “We’ve been given a take it or leave it ultimatum, and for what is thought to be a first, there is now no waiting list for new members at the club.
“Increases in recent years have been very modest. Now we are facing a huge increase with no consultation between Trump’s people and our club.
“There have been massive improvements to the course and enjoy what has been achieved here. But, I really don’t think they want local guys from Maybole or Girvan in the club.
“Our tee times have become more restricted and it is all pointing to a more elite membership who won’t mind playing twice a month just for the prestige.”
The most recent financial figures show Trump made £15 million from his two Scottish courses in the last year, but that’s a drop of more than £1 million.
Both Trump Turnberry, which re-opened to the public in June after a £200 million refurbishment, and Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire saw turnover fall in the last 12 months.
The US billionaire, 70, bought Turnberry hotel and golf course for an undisclosed sum in 2014.
As part of an extensive revamp, the iconic lighthouse adjacent to the links, which had lain empty for 40 years, was transformed into a £7500-a-night apartment, complete with butler and executive chef.
It’s since been revealed the President-elect – whose mum was from the Isle Of Lewis – loves to stay in the lighthouse during trips to Scotland.
Turnberry Golf Club was founded in 1902. It last staged The Open in 2009 and Trump hopes the tournament will return within the next six years.
Despite the apparent disquiet over the fee increase, vice-captain Peter Rae was not prepared to comment.
He said: “It hasn’t been discussed by the members, and the size of the increase is between us.”
Trump announced this week he is to leave his business empire to focus on the presidency and avoid perceived conflicts of interest.
He tweeted: “I will be holding a major news conference with my children to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total in order to Make American Great Again!”
A spokeswoman for Trump Turnberry said last night: “We are not able to comment on our packaging and pricing.”