Category: Doral

February 06, 2014

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

Posted at 11:21 AM by Pete Madden

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;

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March 11, 2011

Doral celebrates 50 years as host to annual PGA Tour event

Posted at 2:08 PM by Jeff Ritter

P1-alfred_298x342 In a slumping economy and shifting marketplace, it's no small feat when a corporate-sponsored sports event lasts five decades.

But that's the story at Doral, where this week marks the 50th edition of the PGA Tour's annual stop, now dubbed the WGC-Cadillac Championship. It's the third-longest running Tour event, behind the Masters and the Colonial. The tournament - and its venue - have evolved dramatically over the years, but both have stayed true to their roots.

That Doral narrative begins with the husband-and-wife team of Alfred and Doris Kaskel, who built a fortune as New York developers before seeking out a piece of land in South Florida for a golf course. In 1959 they purchased a boggy, undeveloped 2,400-acre plot to create their vision of a world-class country club.

"Ever see photos of the Everglades?" says Ryan Hershberger, a golf manager at Doral and the resort's resident historian. "It originally looked like that."

The Kaskels named their new development "Doral," a combination of the names Doris and Alfred (Alfred, pictured at right, is said to have joked that he wanted to name it "Al-Doro," but it was his wife who called the shots.) The Kaskels were not only wealthy and ambitious, but also connected. Renowned architect Dick Wilson was brought in to design the first 36 holes, which today are the Blue Monster and the resort's Red Course. It wasn't long before family friends Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason became frequent guests at the new Doral County Club. Soon a whole city began cropping up around the resort, and in 1962, the PGA Tour decided to move its annual Miami event to Doral. Billy Casper won that inaugural tournament, which was called the Doral Country Club Open Invitational, and pocketed a cool $9,000. (The $50,000 purse was the highest ever at that time.)

The event has provided many great moments, including Greg Norman's Sunday 62 in 1990 which led to a playoff win, and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson's Sunday shootout in 2005, when Woods prevailed by one. Jack Nicklaus won this event twice. Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman match Woods with three titles. There's some serious history here.

There's also, of course, a resort, and it's a fine destination for folks who love a spa and a good round of golf. Doral has sunk more than $100 million into renovations over the years, and today the resort boasts 693 suites and five championship golf courses. The latest big additions are a trendy new lobby bar, the Bossa Nova, and a Latin-themed steakhouse, Mesazul. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim McLean runs his golf school right off the driving range. While this week marks the 50th anniversary of the Tour stop, they're waiting until next year to throw a big 50th anniversary bash for the resort. Alfred and Doris would probably be quite pleased.

As for the tournament, Billy Casper's $9,000 winner's check from '62 is ancient history. The 2011 champion will snare $1.4 million out of an $8.5 million purse.

Now that's progress.


(Images courtesy of Doral Resort)

March 07, 2010

What's New This Month? The Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral

Posted at 10:13 AM by Joe Passov

The Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral
Miami, FL
Green Fees: $125-$250

Even good teachers know when to take advice. When Doral turned over the task of reworking its off-campus Silver course to swing guru Jim McLean, he went straight to his pal, legendary architect Tom Fazio. April_doral_600x450

McLean's goal was to create a layout that could compete with Doral's fabled Blue Monster. Mission accomplished. Existing real estate and boundary issues handcuffed the design team, so the effect is occasionally claustrophobic. But as a test of golf, this blows the Blue Monster away. Still, run-up possibilities to the subtly contoured greens make it playable for most.

You'll surely remember the "Bermuda Triangle," with two beefy par-4s that bracket the island-green par-3 14th. But the opening trio of par 4s, ranging in length from 418 to 446 from the tips, might be Florida's toughest start.

Bottom line: There's a new monster at Doral.

For tee times call 305-592-2000 or visit

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