Blue Monster at Doral to be blown up next week, re-emerge as brand new

By Doug Ferguson
Published on

DORAL, Fla. -- Donald Trump last year signed a contract to buy the Doral Golf Resort, and he hired respected architect Gil Hanse to renovate the Blue Monster course that hosts the WGC-Cadillac Championship. But on Tuesday, the new owner made it sound as though the course was going through more than just a renovation.

''They are saying that the course is in the best shape in 25 years. It's a little ironic, because we blow it up on Monday,'' Trump said.

Work on the Blue Monster begins after this World Golf Championship is over. Trump said it would be a ''brand new, incredible course.''

''We started as a renovation,'' Trump said of the course originally designed by Dick Wilson. ''And as we got more and more into it, Gil and I started to say, 'Wow, we are really making it a much bigger and I think much more magnificent course. ... We are really doing massive changes.''

He said the first hole, which now is 529 yards as a par 5 and traditionally the easiest at Doral, would be extended 100 yards with a lake to the right of the green. The plan is to turn the par-3 15th hole into an island green, and his biggest change would be at the turn.

Trump said the green on the par-3 ninth would be moved to the right along the water that guards the 18th green. That would allow the tee on the par-5 10th hole to move farther to the left so that the tee shot is over water.

''What it does is it creates an incredible amphitheater for No. 18, No. 9, and even the tee shot on the 10th hole, which is now over the water,'' he said.

Ernie Els finally interrupted him.

''Where will the fairway be? It's just water,'' Els said with a laugh.

Hanse, also chosen to build the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro, had said last year he would try to keep the intentions of Wilson's original design, though he said it would not be accurate to call his work a ''restoration'' because of significant changes to some of the holes.

Trump said because workers will put 6 inches of ''pure, good soil'' on the fairways, the original dirt will be used to create mounds for better viewing.

''One thing I've heard is that by being flat, it's a little bit hard for the spectators to see you guys play golf,'' Trump said. ''So we are creating these tremendous slopes and mounds and the rough, and I think it will be really good for the players. It will look beautiful, but it will also be very good from a practical standpoint. People will be able to stand up on these hills and see what's going on in the fairway.

''I think it's going to be a really great tribute to golf, and we are going to basically be building a brand new course.''

Justin Rose, the defending champion, doesn't seem to mind. Besides, Trump said he would leave the 18th hole alone.

''By all accounts that 18th hole will not change significantly, which I think is a good thing because you still want to be able to come to Doral and recognize it as Doral,'' he said. ''But it needs to maybe get back to living up to its reputation as the Blue Monster. It's been fairly low scoring here the last few years, and I think a revamp is going to certainly do it some good.''