STEVE PIKE ANYWHERE: Trump National Doral

Trump National Doral is one of the country's most spectacular golf clubs, following a $250 million resort-wide investment, situated in Miami on 800-acres each of the four championship golf courses have been fully redesigned, including the world-renowned Blue Monster, which played host to the PGA TOUR for almost 55 years.

DORAL, Fla. – The Blue Monster is the most famous of Trump National Doral Miami’s four courses, but it’s certainly not the only one worth the Doral experience, following a $250 million resort-wide investment.

The resort’s other three courses – Red Tiger, Golden Palm and Silver Fox – each stand on their merits. And while a golf trip to Trump National Doral – a few miles west of Miami – wouldn’t be complete without challenging the Blue Monster, it also wouldn’t be complete without challenging at least one of the other courses.

And like them or not, the Trumps have done an outstanding job of renovating the historic resort that was a longtime host to various PGA Tour events and one-time home of legendary comedian Jackie Gleason.

Golf architect Gil Hanse redesigned the historic Blue Monster Course, reaffirming its reputation as one of the country’s most challenging golf courses, measuring 7,608 yards and featuring many strategically placed deep bunkers, long fairways, undulating greens, deep Bermuda rough and an assortment of water hazards.

Of Trump Doral’s four courses, the Red Tiger might be the easier of the quartet, although it’s loaded with water hazards. Re-designed by Gil Hanse, the same architect who renovated the Blue Monster, the Red Tiger plays only 6,395 yards from the tips, but because it sits on only 201 acres, it requires more local knowledge than the Golden Palm and Silver Fox.

The Golden Palm (7,012 yards) reminds many players of the Blue Monster because of its tree-lined fairways and wide-open vistas. It also has some great bunker designs along the fairways and some heavily contoured greens. If you don’t want to pay the freight to play the Blue Monster ($250 off-season) but still want to play a course as close to the Blue Monster as you can get, tee it up on the Golden Palm.

Doral Silver Fox course, which has five sets of tees, has water come into play on 16 of 18 holes and the features include marble-white sand bunkers and Bermuda grass, making it appeal to the eye.

The bunkers on the Silver Fox (7,006 yards) aren’t as demanding as on the Golden Palm – – there is only 50 – but water comes into play on 16 of the 18 holes, beginning with an opening drive on the first hole and ending with water all along the right side of the 18th fairway. The combination of the white, marble sand bunkers and wall-to-wall Celebration Bermuda grass makes the Silver Fox one of the more beautiful courses in all South Florida. It’s also one of the toughest.

And then there is the world-renowned Blue Monster – Dick Wilson’s masterpiece that in 2014 was restored as close as possible to its original design, which played host to the PGA TOUR for almost 55 years. At 7,590 yards, the Blue Monster features long, flowing fairways (stand on the first tee and you get the idea), Bermuda rough and deep bunkers. The undulating greens always present challenges, particularly for first-timer to the Blue Monster.

Doral Red Tiger features two island greens at No. 6 and No. 14, and is popular because it promises a fair test of golf at any level of play.

By the way, the Blue Monster isn’t named because of its water hazards, but because of the original blue tee markers from when the course opened more than 50 years ago. It’s a classic South Florida layout that’s a “must play’’ at least one time in South Florida.

Want to play each of Trump Doral’s courses? I suggest you begin with Red, then Gold and Silver and work your way up to the Blue.

https://www.trumpgolfdoral.com/

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Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career includes covering Major League Baseball, the NFL and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the PGA.com web site for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and can be reached at spikee41@hotmail.com.

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