TYCOON Donald Trump has unveiled plans for a “Trump Triangle” golf circuit to link his three courses in Scotland and Ireland by helicopter.
The New Yorker is in talks to secure what he described as an “incredible” helicopter ride which will “connect the dots”, transporting guests among the three locations – Doonbeg in County Clare, his recently purchased course at Turnberry in Ayrshire and the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.
Trump said he planned to spend up to £36 million on storm-ravaged Doonbeg in the south-west of Ireland as part of the Triangle – which appears more of a straight line on the map.
In February, it appeared Trump had turned his back on Scotland after losing his court battle against the Scottish Government’s approval of the offshore wind farm he claimed would blight his luxury Scottish golf resort at Menie.
Almost immediately afterwards, he announced his global organisation would instead be focusing “all of our investment and energy” on his recently purchased Greg Norman-designed Doonbeg course, the 16th golf club in the Trump portfolio.
The businessman flew in to Shannon Airport on his Boeing 757 jet along with his sons Donald Jnr and Eric and daughter Ivanka yesterday.
“Turnberry will be part of the Trump Triangle as we call it. And the other is my course in Aberdeen – literally a straight line from here to Turnberry and on to Aberdeen,” he said at the start of his three-day visit to Doonbeg.
“We are already in contract for an incredible helicopter that will connect the three dots with guests and we think that is going to be a tremendous amount of business.”
Trump said hundreds of jobs will be created through his investment in Ireland.
The property mogul said he would double or triple his initial £12m investment in Doonbeg – secured earlier this year at a knockdown price after financial trouble and severe erosion saw the asking price slump.
The billionaire said he has hired golf course designer Martin Hawtree to work on Doonbeg. He also praised council chiefs who he said had “killed” plans for an offshore wind farm in sight of the golf course.
The property mogul said he would redevelop the protected dunes at Doonbeg in an environmentally sensitive way amid concerns for a microscopic snail.
Chic Brodie, SNP MSP for the south of Scotland, welcomed the tycoon’s latest announcement.
“Putting aside Trump’s lack of a predilection towards wind turbines, a network of golf courses will bring jobs and widen the scope of tourism in both Scotland and Ireland.”
Mr Brodie, who heard evidence at the energy, economy and tourism committee at the Scottish Parliament from Trump during the debate over offshore wind farm development near the Menie estate, said: “It is typical that we would call it the Trump Triangle – he is similar to Richard Branson in the way he promotes his brand. But this will raise the profile of golf in Scotland and the helicopter adds that flamboyant element which is characteristic of Trump.”
Bryce Ritchie, editor of Bunkered, the Scottish golfing magazine, welcomed the idea.
He said: “Despite all his pomp and big words, Donald Trump has delivered what he said in bringing a sensational course to Scotland. I don’t see people knocking on the door to invest in Scottish golf as much as him.”