With two of the other courses at the Trump National Doral Golf Club named “Blue Monster” and “Red Tiger,” it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when confronting the Golden Palm course. Despite a title based in vegetation, this 18 may be a venus flytrap (especially its bunkers).
Gil Hanse was involved in significant restoration of all the courses at Doral, providing a similar recontouring of the greens at Golden Palm. Palm trees evoke thoughts of island beaches, and players at Golden Palm must be wary to stay away from the “beachfront property” at Doral.
Dick Wilson was the notoriously tough architect behind “Blue Monster,” and Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin got their chance to challenge Wilson’s beast when they designed “Red Tiger.” Although Golden Palm is less lengthy than those two, and most would consider it a touch tamer as well, many would also argue that it’s got the toughest finishing hole of the three. A par four, it plays 470 yards from the back tees, but it will be only the last 40 that matter to many players. While Blue Monster has a daunting Cape-style closer, Golden Palmer requires a full approach to an island green.
Golden Palm went through a much needed redesign by Gil Hanse after Trump bought Doral. I would rank Golden Palm as the second best course on property, however….
The first hole is fairly welcoming, slight dogleg right with a water hazard on the left. This should not really come into play unless you hit a horrible duck hook on your approach. The 2nd hole is a par 5 dogleg left with very narrow landing areas. You get to decide how big your appetite is on your drive as you must carry the water hazard. There is also a water hazard right, but really should not come into play. The par 5 4th is very similar in look and feel to the 2nd. Dogleg left, carry over water. The landing area off the tee is more expansive, but the water hazard goes all the way down the left to a well protected green. It is the number 1 handicap hole. The long par 4 5th is an interesting hole. A bunker left in the landing zone, but the green is tucked right and is well protected. The green is wide and but not very deep, a difficult approach shot. The 7th is rated the 15th handicap hole. I do not know how, from the tips it is 228 yards, water left and a plethora of bunkers right and left. The 8th is another long demanding par 4. Slight dogleg right with water all the way down the right side. The par 3 9th is another paradox. From the tips 242 yards all carry over water and is rated the 17th handicap hole!?!?
You can exhale a wee bit on 10. While there is water all the way down the left side there is a generous landing area. A well placed drive should leave you with a wedge. Looks more intimidating than it is. The par 5s, 11 and 16 are very similar. Narrow and straight, the 11th is a bit longer and has water all the way down the right side, 3 shot holes. I really liked the short par 3 12th, what you see is what you get, all carry over water. Yes, I am transparent, I birdied it. The short par 4 13th is a birdie oppty, fairly generous fairway with a bunker left, Decent drive should give you a wedge in. The 14th is a longer par 4, with a carry over water on your tee shot to a narrow fairway. Water also comes into play on the left for errant approaches. The par 3s, 15 and 17 are essentially the same hole, yardages slightly different, with a carry over water. The par 4 18th is straight, fairly narrow, but what makes it a good finishing hole is the island green.
As with most things Trump, not a lot substance, over rated and over priced. Go to Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, don’t forget to thank me later.