Many are familiar with Tom Fazio as one of the most highly respected architects in golf, but lesser known is his big brother Jim Fazio who also does incredible work that is clearly displayed at Trump International Golf Club Palm Beach, which is fantastic. From the moment you arrive you know you are at a special place. Much of the inspiration for this golf course came from Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, this week’s host of the PGA TOUR (October 2020).
That inspiration turned into a reality with what Jim Fazio and the TRUMP GOLF team accomplished here. Many determine the quality of the architecture of a golf course by the type of land it sits on which has a direct impact on the ability to hold a golfers interest throughout the round. Prior to Trump International Golf Club being built, the land was nothing like the incredible elevation changes here today, turning what would otherwise be typical Florida course into majestic beauty that continues throughout the round. The experience is enhanced by one of the best caddie programs anywhere in the country. The golf operations are led by long standing PGA Professional John Nieporte who is as passionate as anyone you will meet in the business.
Standing on each tee, you will think you are looking at a picture frame photo, rather than a real golf course, that is how pristine this property is kept. The attention to course conditioning and maintenance here is such that on any given day, you could host tour players and they would find the course in condition sufficient to host a professional event, it’s really that good. You’ll find some of the purest putting greens not only in Florida but in the entire country.;
As for the course architecture, the routing is excellent and you never feel like you are on top of any other golfers as the separation between holes is wonderful. Elevated tees throughout the course not only create the views I described earlier but clearly define each hole. The approach shots are all fair but plenty challenging, just the way great architecture should be. Lots of water comes into play throughout the course and adds to the beauty. The final 5 holes of the course offer a wow factor that would rival the finishing holes of any course in the country.
The 14th hole is a dogleg left that faces a severe uphill approach shot, you will literally forget you are playing a Florida golf course seeing this kind of elevation change. It's not about length here but about accuracy as it’s not a long hole.
The 15th is not only my favorite hole on the course but it may very well be my favorite par-5 in the entire state of Florida. The first time I saw this hole, I could not believe the beauty and cleat risk / reward. The hole has a stream that runs completely down the right side and then cuts across the fairway as your near the green. If you hit a really solid drive you have a thrilling chance to take on this green in two shots for an eagle opportunity. On great par 5's an eagle opportunity brings a bogey or worse in play, thus defining what a true risk/reward hole is all about. This hole has it all, an elevated tee with an off the charts view followed by a risk/reward approach shot the will get your heart rate pumping.
The 16th is an uphill par-4 where you cannot see the green from the tee; once you come over that hill and see the approach shot that you are facing, you realize that you had better hunker down and hit a solid and accurate shot or likely wind up in the water that surrounds most of the green. The only bailout is missing right and that leaves a nerve-wracking recovery shot that isn't for the faint of heart. This two-tiered green comes at the perfect point in the round and I cannot think of a better 16th hole than this one. If you were here playing a match this is the type of hole where champions are made.
The par-3 17th is dramatic requiring a lengthy tee shot over water with a thrilling and unique water fall behind the green. It's a great opportunity take in the beauty knowing this special round is nearing conclusion. Nothing less than a solid shot will work out well on this challenging par-3. Luckily, once you are putting on this green, the modest undulation will be welcomed.
Finally, you arrive at the truly championship finishing hole that has one of the most elevated tees on the entire course offering you not only a panoramic beautiful view but a clear visual on the challenge ahead. It's a lengthy par-4 that requires an accurate tee shot followed by a slightly uphill approach shot to a slanting green that you do not want to miss to the right as there is plenty of water throughout this hole to give you fits. A par on this finishing hole will require you to hit two or three great shots.
When you walk off this course, undoubtedly there is the exact wow factor you would expect of a true championship experience that describes on of the best courses in the country. All who appreciate great architecture and what was accomplished on this piece of land by Jim Fazio, will be hard pressed to not consider this course one of the best in Florida and a top 100 in the United States.
Date: November 06, 2020