Blue Monster comes back to life at Doral

 

After an extensive overhaul, the Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral has reopened for play.

 
The sixth hole of the revamped Blue Monster, which reopened Saturday, presents a maze of sand traps to negotiate.
The sixth hole of the revamped Blue Monster, which reopened Saturday, presents a maze of sand traps to negotiate.
Courtesy of Trump National Doral

Special to the Miami Herald

The Blue Monster came back to life on Saturday, doing what it does best — agonizing golfers and having them enjoy every minute of it.

The well-known golf course at Trump National Doral had some notables, including new owner Donald Trump, taking divots out of its fresh new fairways.

In March of last year, Trump promised that he was going to “blow up” the course.

The pieces came down quite nicely.

“It’s a brand-new course, not a re-do,” Trump said after finishing his round. “We felt it was just an amazing piece of land that we could do something spectacular with, and we built a new Blue Monster. It’s a bigger course with bigger lakes. It’s a more spectacular course.

“The old Blue Monster was a good course, but this is better. There is nothing like this in golf.

“I had a great time playing it.”

Trump, an experienced and accomplished golfer, was playing a “friendly,” as they say in soccer, and didn’t keep score Saturday. He said he played “good golf,” but added, “If I broke 80, I would be happy.”

Saturday’s play signaled the course now is available for the general public to play, although tee times are limited.

Actually, Trump wasn’t the first person to play the course as other South Florida notables were swinging away Friday.

One of those was Eddie Carbone, executive director of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, which is one of golf’s premiere events that is held at Doral every March.

Carbone remembered playing the Blue Monster back in the ’90s. “I really liked it back then,” he said. After playing the new Blue Monster, he added a couple more reallys, saying, “Now I really, really, really like it. Actually, I was blown away.”

The course has a rich history, which Carbone thinks was honored in the overhaul. “The look and feel of the new course keeps the tradition, but they were also able to make it a better course,” Carbone said.

Massive amounts of earth were moved to allow mounds to be created so that spectators could see players and shots better.

“The changes are for people who play,” Carbone said, “but also for the spectators.”

An example: Fans, from one spot, can watch the tee shots on 16, the action on 15 and also see the players on the 14th green.

Carbone’s favorite hole is the par-4 16th. It’s 325 yards from the back tees, so it’s potentially a hole that can be driven. One problem: There’s a 285-yard carry over water.

Playing from the shorter white tees, Carbone tried to reach the green. Splash . “I rinsed the ball,” he said with a laugh. “But one of the players in my group did put it on the green.”

Will the scores be higher for the pros when they show up for the Cadillac Championship? “So much depends on the wind out there, so it’s hard to tell,” Carbone said.

However, there are two things Carbone said he is sure of. “The course is real fun to play, and it’s also going to be amazing for the fans.”

• Tee times for Doral can be made by calling 305-592-2000. Reservations can also be made for other courses — Gold, White and McLean — in or near the Doral complex. The Red Course is being worked on and is shut down.

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