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February 06, 2014

A Meaner Monster: Donald Trump teams with architect Gil Hanse to make Doral scarier than ever

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Trump National Doral Miami
A rerouted fairway and added bunkers have enhanced the strategic appeal at the 442-yard, par-4 sixth at Doral in Miami. (Courtesy of Trump National Doral)

 

What do you say to a beast that's lost its bite? If you're Doral resort owner Donald Trump, that's easy: "You're fired." In the case of the legendary Blue Monster course at Doral, a better phrase might have been, "You're tired."

The Donald announced his solution at a memorable press conference in March 2013, on the eve of the WGC–Cadillac Championship. "They're saying the course is in the best shape [it's been in] in 25 years," he said. "It's a little ironic, because we blow it up on Monday."

Indeed, the Blue Monster, which opened in 1962, was due for a makeover. "Sometimes after 20, 30 years, courses need an update, and this course will benefit from it," said reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. "It needs to get back to living up to its reputation as the Blue Monster."

Trump agreed, bringing aboard red-hot architect Gil Hanse and associate Jim Wagner to execute his vision. The results are instantly obvious.

Once marshmallow-soft, the par-5 opener has been stretched to nearly 600 yards and features a new pond to the right of the green. The rinky-dink par-3 15th now demands a watery carry to a peninsula green. The par-4 16th remains drivable for big bashers, but a new lake guarding the left side amplifies the risk/reward drama. Hanse wisely left the par-4 18th -- one of the Tour's most dramatic, difficult closers -- virtually unchanged.

In all, liquid peril looms on 14 holes, up from six. Water, water, everywhere. Why so much? To modernize and toughen up a track that dates to the JFK administration. Mission accomplished. With newly sharpened teeth, this Monster is scarier than ever.

Trump National Doral Miami (Blue Monster), Miami, Fla. 7,450 yards, par 72; Green fees: $270-$500; (305) 592-2030; trumpgolfdoral.com

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