Trump’s claims of equal treatment for women employees don’t line up at his Scottish golf resort

Pay bonuses for women at Trump's Turnberry resort are less than half of what men get.

Donald Trump gives a press conference on the 9th tee at his Trump Turnberry Resort on June 24, 2016 in Ayr, Scotland. CREDIT: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Donald Trump gives a press conference on the 9th tee at his Trump Turnberry Resort on June 24, 2016 in Ayr, Scotland. CREDIT: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Women employed by President Trump’s golf club in Turnberry, Scotland receive pay bonuses worth less than half of what men get, according to an internal audit.

The average median bonus paid to men at Trump’s Scottish resort is £2,506 (US$3,375), compared to only £1,116 (US$1,503) paid women, a difference of 53.5 per cent, The Scotsman reported Saturday.

Large pay gaps are common across almost every business sector, so it’s not surprising that golf courses, where women have been treated as second-class citizens throughout the history of the sport, are themselves contributing to the problem.

And the huge pay gap at Trump’s golf resort reflects poorly on the business executive-turned-president who has often sold himself as a longstanding champion of women in the workplace.


The management at the Turnberry golf resort said the bonus gap was “due to the number of senior leadership roles undertaken by males,” with eight men in executive committee leadership positions compared to just two women.

The golf resort’s reasoning is easily countered by the simple fact that the business has had years to recruit skilled women to fill these high-level positions.

Anna Ritchie Allan, executive director of Close the Gap, told The Scotsman that employers, as they are criticized for pay discrimination against women, are increasingly citing the fact that more men are in senior roles as a justification for the gap.

“This feeds the misconception that having men in high-paid jobs and women in low-paid jobs is an inevitable outcome,” Allan said.

The audit’s results also don’t mesh with claims by Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, who said the president’s business empire employs more women executives than men.


Trump bought the Turnberry golf resort, located on the west coast of Scotland, in 2014. The course has hosted the men’s British Open golf championship four times and the women’s British Open twice. With Trump as the course’s owner, there are questions whether the course will host another Open Championship in the near future, given Trump’s unpopularity in Britain.

Throughout the history of golf, women have been treated poorly by the men who traditionally have controlled all aspects of the game. Scotland, known as the birthplace of golf, has long been hostile to women on the golf course.

It wasn’t until 2014 that St. Andrews, the most famous golf course in the world, voted to allow women members. Just last year, Muirfield, another Scottish golf club on the British Open rotation, finally voted to allow women to join as members.

In the United States, the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia — after years of protests against its anti-woman policy — finally allowed women to join the club in 2012. Augusta National also was a bastion of racism. The golf club barred African Americans as members until 1990 and long required all of its caddies to be black.

Golf’s poor treatment of women made the headlines in the United States last month when a golf club in Pennsylvania called the police on a group of African American women who the course owners claimed were playing too slowly.


“We can now add golfing to the list of normal activities that black people dare not do without inciting irrational fear,” sports reporter Jemele Hill wrote last month in response to incident at the Pennsylvania golf club.

Back in Scotland, Trump’s Turnberry golf resort also is under fire after it was reported that U.S. taxpayers paid thousands of dollars for Trump administration officials to stay at the high-end resort in Scotland, marking another example of how Trump continues to profit royally while in public office.

According to filings by Trump Turnberry’s parent company, SLC Turnberry, it employs 313 staff, with a total wage bill of £5.3 million (US$7.1 million). Trump’s other Scottish resort, Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, employs  93 people.

Under a British gender pay gap law, employers with 250 or more employees must publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap.

Scottish Green Party official Patrick Harvie told The Scotsman: “Trump is a sexist bully, so the fact that equal pay doesn’t seem to matter at his golf courses will surprise no one.”