Doonbeg Being Eaten by Sea

Trump’s Doonbeg is in Trouble

Clare County is one of my favorite parts of Ireland. Normally, I am an alpine fir person, but I am also a total soft touch for a beautiful links golf course. In 2014, Donald Trump bought one called Doonbeg with the idea of reshaping it into a world class golf masterpiece. That he bought it from a troubled buyer raises a red flag. Apparently, a severe winter sporting a series of storms tore the poor course apart. While Mother Nature was stomping around on the greens, she decided to give part of the course to Neptune. He seems to have liked it, and is coming for more.

The single storm that has visited during Trump’s ownership took an extra eight meters from the sea’s edge. Isn’t that somewhere around 24 feet? It sounds serious., and more storms are on their way, without a doubt. Doonbeg finds itself in a dilemma faced by other famous courses, such as St. Andrews.  A permit has been requested to erect a sea wall to protect further incursions. It hasn’t come through yet. In another exchange with the powers-that-be, Trump offered a wind project, and it was rejected. Walls, it seems, are coming hard this year, and a lot of folks are trying to say “no.”

The odd part of the permit situation is that the American president cited the cause, “to protect from global warming and its effects.” In other places, he has described climate change as a Chinese trick, a “total hoax…pseudoscience.” A former republican congressman makes note of the flexible stance toward global warming as “diabolical.” Trump may be, as  satirist Tom Lehrer quipped, “A man whose allegiance is due to expedience.”

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Trump and I are at least in one boat together – neither of us is a scientist. I have a rudimentary knowledge of how it works, but I can’t say for sure just how much of it is our fault. Nevertheless, I am fairly interested in what scientists tell me. That’s one thing that makes us different. I generally go with the scientists in such issues, but I get it. Even if Trump doesn’t believe the ice is melting and that the sea is rising, he still wants it to stop, at least on the shores of his Irish course. That’s another thing we share – sort of.

Doonbeg is indeed a beautiful piece of real estate, and it has been reshaped into something special. The first time I ever visited the west coast of Ireland, I landed at Shannon. On that day, I swore that the air smelled like sugar, I know it’s odd, but it’s what my brain told me to say, so there it is. The green throughout the land is magical, and the undulating terrain is enticing for an adventurous golfer, fir trees or not. Still, as I watch the lines of golf carts parading about the bumps and valleys, they look particularly fragile and insignificant. If the sea is coming for you, you don’t want to be in one of those. Sea walls have worked for ancient civilizations, and perhaps is a good idea for this vanishing course. The local village fathers might take time to remember that this is Ireland they are losing to the sea, not Trump’s golf course. It appears as though they have a common interest.
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The same sea god that is attacking Doonbeg has other tastes as well. Coastal courses all over the world are on the menu, and several of them belong to the president. The belief that it will only happen to future generations, selfish enough of a thought by itself, doesn’t work anymore. The acceleration is significant, and the entrepreneur might want to make a shift to mountain courses. And while he is at it, he might make some provisions for his people to “protect them from global warming and its effects.” I assume that Trump wants someone to play these courses…or am I all wet?

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