No other golf course in South Florida has more heritage, history and world recognition as The TPC Blue Monster at Doral. The TPC Blue, current home of the WGC – Cadillac Championship, has hosted prestigious PGA TOUR events for over fifty years. In fact, virtually every great name in golf has had a moment of glorious personal triumph on this world-class track.
Originally designed by Dick Wilson in the early 60’s, the Blue Monster has been modified and updated over the past 20 years to keep up with the demands of the PGA Tour players and improvements in golf equipment. Two of the most important remodels came in the hands of two-time Doral Golf champion and Hall-of-Famer Raymond Floyd and the second just a few years back performed by world-renowned golf instructor Jim McLean who’s golf academy is just a few steps away from the 10th fairway. But even with these changes and upgrades some feel (including myself) the monster has lost some of its bite and the ooh-ahh factor it once had. Since the 2004 Championship the amount of players outscoring the course has about doubled. Winners of the event finish in double digits and the lowest score to record belongs to Tiger Woods 23-under par in 2006.
In June of this year Billionaire Donald J. Trump rescued the resort from bankruptcy and promised to deliver great improvements to the aging course. The resort’s name was recently changed to Trump National Doral, famous golf course architect, Gil Hanse has been retained to work directly with Donald J. Trump and the PGA leadership to enhance and renovate the Blue Monster. Work will start right after the 2013 event and I bet every one in South Florida is as impatient as I am to see these results and its merited return to the upper golf course echelon.
Key Playing Holes
Hole #1 Par-5 (529 yards)
A truly unique experience starts right next to the starter shack at this exceptional golf course. Facing north and away from the clubhouse, Hole #1 is a great (wind aided) driving hole. Most Tour professionals playing the Cadillac event will easily reach the large and flat green in two shots. Take advantage of this easy hole, as the wide fairway will catch most drives. Today, my drive landed on the first cut (left side) and I was 209 yards way from entrance of the green. I miscalculated my second shot and airmailed my 4-iron past the green. I was able to go up and down for an easy birdie. Great hole to start!
Hole #9 Par-3 (169-yards)
A 15-handicap hole that looks easy on paper but can bring disaster to your score. The hole faces south-east against the perennial easterly winds so in most cases an extra club is a necessity. All carry water, lots of visual distractions and the ever presence of people walking back and forth from the resort to the driving range are the correct ingredients for disaster. Keep your golf basics in check, head down and hit through the ball and aim to the center of the undulating green. Even a bogie is a great score while playing this little devil.
Hole #18 Par-4 (467-yards)
It is already 2 pm and the sizzling South Florida heat is at its best (about 92* F). I’m tired and my scorecard (+7) only reflects how difficult this course still is. By now, playing the TPC Blue from the tips is ranking pretty high in my “most idiotic” things I have done this year.
Facing a 7 to 10 mph against the wind, I prepare to hit my tee shot. I laser measured the golf carts in front of us and from the tips to a safe landing area in the middle of the fairway is about 340 yards most of which are over water…. Not today …not ever! As you seen on TV, a huge lake guards the entire left side from tees to green and about 150 coconut palms and bunkers decorate the entire right side. Water phobia made my tee shot land some 10 yards right of the right cart path (fairway hole #1). On my second shot I hit a perfect 8-iron over the trees to the end of the fairway. My 3rd shot from 70 yards came within inches of the hole and I was able to tap in for par… I just witnessed a miracle!
On our last visit to the TPC Blue (October 2012) we were saddened to have encountered a course in less than optimal conditions with slow greens and several fairways not kept in ideal shape. Today (December 2012) we find a golf course that is in ideal conditions. Donald Trump and his staff have made several key visual changes like the incorporation of a beautiful water fountain right behind the putting green. if you ever wanted to walk the steps of the most famous players from Nicklaus to Palmer, Tiger and many more, the TPC Blue Monster at Doral is the place to do it. TPC Blue is truly the prima donna of golf here in South Florida.
- Courteous and knowledgeable staff
- Outstanding practice facilities
- Fast pace of play
- Tradition + History + grandeur
- Extremely expensive all year around