Golf | Doral Makeover

Doral changes include clubhouse, rooms, course as Blue Monster gets more teeth


A total redesign of the Trump National Doral Miami golf course will make taming the Blue Monster a challenge for the pros.

What began as a facelift of the Trump National Doral Miami resort has become a full-blown redesign of the clubhouse and famed Blue Monster golf course.

New owner Donald Trump never does anything halfway. He has invested hundreds of millions in purchasing and refurbishing the Doral facility, which will play host to the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship professional golf tournament from March 6-9 on the Blue Monster course.

“For Mr. Trump, it’s his vision to turn this property and tournament into a world-class destination,” said Darren Helfrick, the general manager of golf at Doral who is overseeing the work on the golf courses.

Helfrick, Eddie Carbone of the PGA Tour and tournament director Butch Buchholz gave a sneak preview of the transformation of the Doral resort on Thursday. The changes to the clubhouse and the course are significant.

The clubhouse

Basically, the clubhouse has been gutted down to the steel. There is going to be a new pro shop, expanded from 4,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. New locker rooms are being constructed for the PGA Tour professionals.

One of the most significant new features for fans attending the tournament is a 8,000-foot terrace that overlooks the property. The terrace faces the putting green, No. 1 tee and 18th hole green. It gives an expansive view that wasn’t available from the old clubhouse.

The interior ballrooms and restaurants also are being completely redesigned.

The management group promises that the renovations of the clubhouse will be completed in time for the tournament. Some of the other major changes, such as rooms and lodges, might not be finished by March, but that shouldn’t affect the fan experience on the property.

The golf course

Rest easy, golf fans, Trump didn’t mess with No. 18, the infamous finishing hole that gives touring pros headaches when the wind is blowing in their faces with the title on the line late on Sunday afternoon.

But that’s about the only hole that hasn’t either been redesigned or completely changed. Only four holes didn’t receive some kind of makeover.

A few statistics on the course that was redesigned by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner (under the watchful eyes of Trump, who has visited the property he purchased for $150 million 12 times since April):

• The course, which should be open for play in December, has been expanded from the 7,334 yards it played in 2013 to 7,450 yards in 2014.

• All new grass has been planted on the tee boxes, fairways and greens, and the greens have been enlarged by an average of 30 percent.

• More than 5,000 new trees have been planted throughout the property.

• Helfrick said water only came in play on six holes for professionals on the old Dick Wilson design. Water now comes into play on 14 holes.

• The practice facility has been expanded nearly three times and will have LED lighting.

Some of the more significant changes to the holes include:

•  No. 1: The par 5, which used to be driver and mid-iron for the pros and was an eagle hole, is no longer a pushover. The hole has been lengthened to nearly 600 yards, the green has been reshaped and a pond now sits to the right of the putting surface.

•  No. 15: The par 3 is now a carry over water at about 170 yards to a peninsular green.

•  No. 16: The par 4 is now a risk-reward 325-yard hole with water all the way down the left side but is reachable. “The pros used to just blast away on the old 16th, but now they will have to carry the ball all the way to the green,” Helfrick said.

•  Nos. 8 and 9: These two holes have undergone complete redesigns from the tee box to the greens. The green on the par-5 eighth was moved to the left, and the par-3 ninth is now a carry completely over water and has been stretched out to 195 yards.

And the fan experience should be enhanced by the way the designers have put mounding around some of the green complexes. One example is an area between the green on No. 2 and the green on No. 16. Fans will be able to watch the action and enjoy cocktails at a planned “nightclub experience,” according to Carbone.

It remains to be seen how the pros will react to the new design, but one thing is for certain: The Blue Monster has gained some significant teeth.

And, in case you were wondering, the green fee will be $450, and you’ll have to use a caddie if you want to check out the changes.

For information on the tournament, go to . For information on the resort, go to .

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    Thursday, September 18th through Sunday, September 21st Course Info Site: RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill (Senator Course), Prattville, Alabama Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1999) Par: 72 Yardage: 6,607 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,276 yds 1 - Par 4 370 yds 2 - Par 3 165 yds 3 - Par 4 390 yds 4 - Par 4 369 yds 5 - Par 5 540 yds 6 - Par 4 385 yds 7 - Par 3 174 yds 8 - Par 5 507 yds 9 - Par 4 376 yds Back Nine: 36 3,331 yds 10 - Par 5 547 yds 11 - Par 4 400 yds 12 - Par 4 391 yds 13 - Par 3 163 yds 14 - Par 4 363 yds 15 - Par 4 389 yds 16 - Par 3 152 yds 17 - Par 5 515 yds 18 - Par 4 411 yds Tournament Info Year: 7th Television: Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 6:30-8:30 p.m. (et) - taped, - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-5 p.m. (et) Champion: Stacy Lewis Runner Up: Lexi Thompson Tournament Record: 269 (Katherine Hull, 2010) 54-Hole Record: 199 (Cristie Kerr, 2010) 36-Hole Record: 131 (Stacy Prammanasudh, 2007) Course Record: 63 (Stacy Prammanasudh, Amy Hung, Angela Park, 2007; Maria Hjorth, 2008; Yani Tseng, 2009; Mika Miyazato, Lindsey Wright, 2010; Lexi Thompson, 2012) Total Purse: $1,300,000 Shares: 1st Place - $195,000; 2nd Place - $119,470; 3rd Place - $86,125 2012 Final Leaderboard Stacy Lewis 270 Lexi Thompson 272 Haeji Kang 273 Mi Jung Hur 273 Angela Stanford 273 Sarah Jane Smith 274 Beatriz Recari 274 So Yeon Ryu 275 Hee Young Park 275 Meena Lee 275 Past Winners 2013: Not Held. Runner up: 2012: Stacy Lewis (270). Runner up: Lexi Thompson 2011: Lexi Thompson (271). Runner up: Tiffany Joh 2010: Katherine Hull (269). Runner up: Brittany Lincicome 2009: Lorena Ochoa (270). Runner up: Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang 2008: *Lorena Ochoa (273). Runner up: Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung 2007: Maria Hjorth (274). Runner up: Stacy Prammanasudh * - Won in Playoff Formerly called Navistar LPGA Classic (2007-12). Top Contenders Stacy Lewis 2007: 2008: mc 2009: T-57 2010: mc 2011: T-6 2012: Won Lexi Thompson 2007: 2008: 2009: T-27 2010: T-16 2011: Won 2012: 2nd Angela Stanford 2007: T-7 2008: 2009: 2010: T-58 2011: 3rd 2012: T-3 Lizette Salas 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: T-16 Brittany Lincicome 2007: mc 2008: 2009: 2010: 2nd 2011: T-18 2012: T-21 Sun Young Yoo 2007: T-25 2008: mc 2009: T-37 2010: T-16 2011: mc 2012: T-28 Brittany Lang 2007: T-53 2008: T-70 2009: T-2 2010: T-29 2011: T-4 2012: T-39 Katherine Kirk 2007: T-38 2008: T-11 2009: T-23 2010: Won 2011: T-34 2012: T-46 Tiffany Joh 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2nd 2012: 70th Cristie Kerr 2007: 2008: T-2 2009: T-17 2010: T-3 2011: mc 2012: NOTES: The LPGA Tour travels to Alabama this week for the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Two of the top-8 players in the world are in the field - world No. 1 Stacy Lewis and world No. 8 Lexi Thompson.

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