It was big news when the opulent Lodge at Doonbeg and its Doonbeg Golf Club were placed into receivership in January.
It’s even bigger news that the Trump Organization announced Tuesday the purchase of the Greg Norman-designed links course and its luxurious lodge in County Clare, Ireland.
Doonbeg Golf Club is to be renamed "Trump International Golf Links Ireland," following the lead of the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, a controversial golf resort development that opened in Aberdeenshire in 2012. Doonbeg, situated on more than 400 acres fronting the Atlantic Ocean, is the 16th course and its lodge the 12th hotel in the Trump portfolio.
"I am thrilled to announce that we have purchased yet another incredible golf resort," Donald J. Trump, chairman and president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement. "From Trump National Doral, Miami, to Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, known as 'the greatest golf course in the world,' we only have the best. Doonbeg is an already terrific property that we will make even better. It will soon be an unparalleled resort destination with the highest standards of luxury."
Doonbeg, originally developed by Kiawah Partners of South Carolina, has reportedly never turned a profit and continued to sink in debt since opening its course in 2002 and stone-laden lodge in 2006, but that didn’t deter potential buyers looking to cash in on its location and first-rate facilities.
The purchase seems to be a natural fit for Trump Golf, which continues to make headlines. Earlier this week, Trump unveiled the redesigned Blue Monster at Trump National Doral, Miami.
Doonbeg sits in a key location in the golf-rich southwest section of the Emerald Isle less than an hour’s drive from the Shannon Airport. It’s a half-hour’s drive to another legendary links course at Lahinch and the Cliffs of Moher, a series of stunning 700-foot seaside cliffs. The nearby village of Doonbeg provides a perfect snapshot of Irish life. Stop by Comerfords Pub for a performance of traditional Irish music. Or eat fresh seafood, the local catch from Doughmore Bay, at Morrisey’s Bar & Restaurant.
Trump’s golf club members and business clients can enjoy the five-star Lodge at Doonbeg, which consists of 218 hotel suites and cottages, an expansive spa and several restaurants.
Over the years, Norman’s design has been softened to make it more enjoyable. Although fierce fescue has been trimmed back, three blind tee shots and a bunker hidden in the middle of the 12th green can still cause havoc for first-timers. The strengths of the design are its risk-reward holes. The drivable, par-4 sixth hole plays 285 yards from the white tees right along the beach. The par-5, 451-yard 13th hole climbs to an elevated green guarded by treacherous bunkers, daring golfers to go for it in two. And the do-or-die, 111-yard 14th hole features a tiny shelf of a green cut from the dunes. The exquisite view down the beach back toward the lodge from this spot is one of a million reasons why Doonbeg will always be special no matter who owns it.