Belfast Telegraph

Trump helicopter makes flying visit to Royal Portrush

By Ivan Little

Speculation gripped Portrush at the weekend that US president Donald Trump may have been paying a flying visit to the town.

Tongues started wagging after the controversial politician's helicopter was spotted on Saturday at the prestigious Royal Portrush Golf Club just outside the bustling seaside resort.

And it was hardly an undercover mission because the massive and unmissable £7m Sikorsky S-76 chopper had the equally massive and unmissable Trump name plastered on the side.

The helicopter's surprise appearance immediately sparked questions about whether the world's most powerful man had dropped in for a round of golf at the town which has its own White House - a department store on Main Street, not the home of the US president.

But the massive security bandwagon which would normally accompany a Presidential visitor was decidedly conspicuous by its absence.

"The helicopter was just sitting in the car park near the old 18th fairway and there wasn't a sinner near it, which was something of a surprise given what's been happening in the world," said one bemused Royal Portrush member.

"We were all wondering if the man himself was in town. But I suppose if it had been Trump the place would have been in lockdown."

Eventually the mystery was solved by inquisitive golfers who discovered that four Americans who had been playing at Mr Trump's luxury Turnberry golf resort in Scotland fancied a change of scenery and a new challenge at Royal Portrush.

One insider said: "We never found exactly who they were. But they must have been high-rollers alright as they were able to be choppered across the North Channel to Portrush on a Trump helicopter."

The Trump Turnberry website says: "The sky's the limit with exclusive helicopter charter now available for guests with quick and seamless travel to destinations across Scotland and beyond."

Royal Portrush, which is undergoing a major transformation for the Open in 2019, is a must-visit destination for golfers from all over the world and the experience doesn't come cheap.

It is estimated that with green fees and caddies' charges, the four-ball would have had little change from £1,000.

But they could have scarcely picked a worse day for their outing.

One regular said: "The conditions on Saturday were horrendous, probably the worst of the year.

"The wind and the rain were lashing the course. But it was probably just as bad in Scotland."

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