'It’s odd, he's a multi-multi-millionaire' - golf expert on Trump leaving Doonbeg with a shiny new driver
US President Donald Trump's decision to fly home from his golf course in Doonbeg with a shiny new driver last week has made headlines.
He took the club from a golf professional at the course after expressing his fondness for it during a round of golf last week.
The acquisition of the expensive driver was unusual, at the very least, according to Irish Independent golf expert Barry Massey.
The US president played 18 holes at Trump International Golf Links in Doonbeg when he realised the club was giving him an edge.
Mr Trump - who Rory McIlroy once described as a better golfer than both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton - went on to win the four-ball on the Martin Hawtree-designed course.
Dignitaries, Mr Massey said, usually wouldn’t accept such a parting gift. A sod of Doonbeg turf might have been a more appropriate keepsake for the billionaire, he suggested.
“It’s odd, it’s a bit odd. But he is odd,” Mr Massey said.
“He’s a multi-multi-millionaire you think he’d say, ‘what is this? I’ll get one at home.’ He’s a header. End of story.
“It is odd to take a club home. You think he’d take a piece of turf or something.”
Mr Trump packed the cutting edge ‘TaylorMade M5’ driver into the Air Force One and brought it home. According to Mr Massey, the club is top of the range and worth over €500, but its value on the course relies on it being measured specifically for the player.
While he said that the pro shop at Doonbeg probably prepared the club based on what they knew of the US President, unless it was the right fit for him, it wouldn’t bear the worth of its price.
“TaylorMade M5s are about €525. They are the top of the range in the TaylorMade,” he said.
“The pro (professional) took an educated guess at the shaft that would suit the president. If it was the right shaft it would probably give him 20 yards.
“Normally you’re measured for them, they’d measure your swing speed. It’s like buying a pair of running shoes. If you’re a runner you don’t just go in and say, ‘oh there’s a nice pair of Asics, I’ll take them’. No, you get measured.
Brian Shaw, pro golfer at the resort, last week explained why he decided to part with his Taylormade M5: "I brought it out on the course for the president because he didn't bring his clubs. And he absolutely ripped it. In golf parlance, that means he was flawless. He looked at the driver and he said 'is this yours, pro?'
"And I said 'I think it might be yours now, sir' so that was it... That was his parting gift. He was thrilled to bits."
Brian Shaw and hotel manager Joe Russell said the president's demeanour was relaxed while on the course.
As Brian Shaw explained; "Even though there was all kinds of secret service and police around we were very relaxed as a foursome because we were very familiar with one another and had played at few times before.
"When we last played he wasn't president but this time he was still able to click into 'Donald Trump' and have the needle with us so we were teasing each other when anyone hit a bad shot."
Mr Russell, who was said to have 'ham and egged it' with the president on the course - golf speak for dove-tailing into holes alternatively - also sank a birdie on the 12th.
This championship golf links course overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and was named the Number One Resort in Europe by 'Conde Nast Traveler'.