Trumps add Doonbeg to golfing empire

Donald Trump’s son says Clare course ‘resonated with me as being incredible’

Donald Trump jnr, the son of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, told The Irish Times from New York last night that he found the acquisition of Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Club “really exciting”. Photograph: Getty

Donald Trump jnr, the son of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, told The Irish Times from New York last night that he found the acquisition of Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Club “really exciting”. Photograph: Getty

Wed, Feb 12, 2014, 01:00

Donald Trump jnr, the son of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, told The Irish Times from New York last night that he found the acquisition of Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Club “really exciting”.

He said he first fell in love with the place two years ago when he visited it along with a dozen other golf resorts. The executive vice president of the Trump Organisation said Doonbeg was the last place he visited on a “whirlwind tour”.

“After seeing Doonbeg I recall calling my father and afterwards thinking when I got back, this is something that is really a Trump-type development,” he said.

“Of the two dozen [golf resorts] that we saw this was the only one that resonated with me as being incredible.”

Mr Trump jnr said the deal to buy Doonbeg was a “quick process”. “We came to definitive documents and went hard on the deal fast,” he said. “It was done in about six days, albeit long and sleepless days.”

The Trump Organisation already owns 15 golf resorts, he said. “To have a place in Ireland on the coast, on the Atlantic makes a lot of sense. It will complete the crown but for perhaps a course in mainland Europe. ”


Investment
Mr Trump jnr said he expected further investment would be made in the Clare resort.

“We can’t help ourselves. We will always do that,” he said. “There are many courses that we buy that are seven or eights and we put a lot of money in to make them incredible and make them 12s. There are other courses like Scotland where we love that piece of land and we can start from the ground up. Here you already have something that is a 10.

“We can tweak it. We can add to it of course but the existing bones, the existing structures and the existing staff that are there have done a phenomenal job already,” he said. “We are not looking at changing anything in an earth-shattering way.”

Mr Trump jnr declined to comment on the reported sale price of €15 million.

“In some of our places in Manhattan it wouldn’t get you an apartment,” he said. “We are bound by confidentiality in relation to the price. That number is floating out there. It is not entirely accurate but we are bound by confidentiality.”


International brand
Mr Trump jnr said he believed his family’s international brand would increase visitor numbers to Clare as well as his new resort.

“They are grossly underperforming in terms of occupancy and those are numbers we can really drive,” he said. “If you look at the press that has come out in the six hours since we officially announced, it is sort of amazing. You see a lot of the Trump factor,” he said.

Mr Trump jnr said he hoped the completion of the deal would give certainty to employees and people who lived around the resort that it had a bright future.

“We are a company with a proven track record of success, we are a company with an incredible hotel division as well who can really boost things, to say nothing of what we have accomplished in the golf resort,” he said. “This is an asset we can really turn around and make spectacular and improve on what is already great.”

An investment by the Trump family in Ireland, he said, showed Ireland’s economy was recovering.

Mr Trump jnr said he would also consider looking at other deals in Ireland and would consider opening a casino in Ireland if that was ever possible.