By Joe Stine,
Editor - Florida Golf Magazine
in 1999, the spectacular design features of the original 18-hole
course at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida
make it extremely challenging, yet it can arguably be called
Floridas most scenic and enjoyable golf course to play.
With six sets of tees, the course measures 7,326 challenging
yards from the par 72 back tees, and 5,314 very playable yards
from the par 73 forward tees, making it very much in line with
the new PGA and USGA Tee it Forward initiatives.
of its architectural design is the product of a cooperative team
effort by renowned golf course architect and Renaissance
Man Jim Fazio, and golf course owner, Donald J. Trump.
Fazio said of his work, Golfers really like Trump International
because it is very playable. It's rated hard from the back tees,
but it's not rated hard from the front tees. They may not know
that, but they know they enjoy it.
trees, creeks and the rocks and the tinkling sound of the water,
Fazio said, I've never heard anyone say anything negative
about it, or that it's too hard. There's always a place to play
golf. If there's water on one side of the fairway there's always
another place to go. You don't have to airmail the ball over
a lake unless youve missed something. The angles are always
there to play the golf course and keep the ball going forward
even if it's on the ground.
The third nine
holes at Trump International Golf Club are referred to as the
New Trump Nine. Though unique in its own right, this
newer par 36, nine hole course, built by Jim Fazio in 2006, measures
3,605 yards from the back tees and is every bit as challenging
as the original 18 holes.
Though very much
a formidable challenge from the back tees, the forward tees of
the New Trump Nine are also designed with playability
for golfers of all skill levels in mind, plus its putting greens
which were built with TifEagle bermudagrass are fast as lightning.
Beauty and nature also abounds on the third nine holes at Trump
International and its signature hole is a spectacular island
green that rivals any in the world and must be seen to be believed.
Five major elements
stand out when you play The Championship Course at Trump International,
Variety of hole designs, Conditioning, Beauty, and Playability
coupled with Challenge.
In regard to
conditioning, The Championship Course and the New Trump Nine
are the best maintained golf courses in Florida. Whats
more, The Championship Course has 18 freshly re-grassed TifEagle
greens that roll like a table top at Stimpmeter readings of 11
and faster; impeccable bunkering that provides a consistent quality
and amount of sand; fairways that are immaculate, and roughs
that are meticulously maintained to add a challenge without being
Towering Royal Palms separate
the 1st Tee and the worlds best practice tee
at Trump International Golf Club.
conditioning might be considered a major portion of the beauty
factor, but dont kid your self, because a great deal of
the beauty at Trump International is by design. In fact, Variety,
Conditioning, Beauty, Playability & Challenge were all very
much major considerations for Architect Jim Fazio during his
design process at Trump International. But, one of the greatest
attributes designed into this course is its unending variety.
Variety by Design
One test of a
great golf course is the ability of the players to not tire of
ever playing it. At Trump International that feeling starts on
the panoramic elevated practice tee that entices you to want
to stay and hit balls. But then, when you get on the course youre
glad you didnt because there you find such inspirational
beauty. The landscaping and diversity of the vegetation is tremendously
add a tremendous amount to the enjoyment of a round and you get
it in spades at Trump International Golf Club. Jim Fazio
has also provided such variety in the design of the holes, particularly
on the back nine. There, no two holes even slightly resemble
one another in their look or the challenges they present. By
the time you get to hole #15, one of the most beautiful in Florida,
you think you have seen it all. But the three closers, #16, #17,
and #18 will test your nerve and your ball supply. When you conquer
them you will leave with a great feeling of love for the game
and the course.
design feature at Trump International is that there is water
on 14 holes. This means you had better be on your game if you
are trying to take the shortest route on your drive or when you
want to attack a flagstick for your approach. Also, because of
the size of some of the Jim Fazio designed greens and their contours,
the location of the flag can add considerably to the decision
making process. Putting your shot on the green, but in the wrong
place, may test your ability to two-putt, let alone make it.
When we asked
the architect what considerations he took into account for wind
in the design strategy of The Championship Course, Jim Fazio
told us, We designed the hard holes against the favoring
wind, so then when the wind turns around we still have some holes
that are deterred by that wind, so the course is balanced. All
the par 5 holes run in different directions. All the par 3 holes
also run in different directions. We have a lot of uphill shots
and downhill shots. The Championship Course has a real variety,
it's not a typical Florida Golf Course. It is unique and very
Photographed on 1/2/2014,
Trump Internationals newest member, PGA Tour Player Lee
Westwood and Donald Trump were at the driving range warming up
in preparation for a round of golf at Trump International Golf
Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The Course Owner
When asked, Mr.
Trump also speaks fondly about Jim Fazios design of the
Championship Course at Trump International. People often
ask me what I consider to be the signature hole on The Championship
Course at Trump International says Mr. Trump. Some
say 17 because of the big waterfall. Some people say 15, because
it's the most picturesque. But when people ask what is my favorite
golf hole, I usually pick three different holes, a par 3, a par
4 and a par 5. For a par 3, I would pick #7 because it's a pure
golf hole. For a par 4, I like #14 because it's so unusual for
a Florida golf course. It's like something you'd have up north,
and for a par 5, #15 is the prettiest hole we have because of
the elevation and the creek.
For a pure
golf hole, I also think #9 is hard to beat, but Gary Wiren likes
#3. Then, Trump added, When you have a hard time
picking out your favorite holes or the best holes, you've got
a pretty good golf course, because no one can really make up
their mind which is the best hole or the prettiest.
Speaking of the design, Here are photographs of ten different holes that
exemplify the variety-by-design of The Championship
Course at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach Florida.
Some good examples of variety by design :
LONG - Shown above, Hole #1 at Trump International
Golf Club is a very long 475 yard par four hole that can be tough
to reach in two. It is what Mr. Trump calls an opening
statement that besides the length off the tee has water
on the right, bunkers to the right, long right, and long left,
hitting into the prevailing wind toward an elevated bunkered
green with a steep drop off on the right.
SHORT - Hole #6 at Trump International is
a short par four 335 yard hole around a large water hazard that
is driveable for a long hitter. The green sits at an angle to
the tee so that holding the green on a tee shot becomes most
difficult at best. A large rise in the green offers a real putting
challenge if the flagstick is in the back. This can however,
be a risk reward opportunity with the risk greater than
DOG LEG LEFT - Hole # 4 at TIGC is a medium length
par four, 384 yard dogleg left hole that with a good drive can
be reached with a middle or short iron that challenges you on
the second shot. There is water to the right of the green while
a shot hit to the left into the bunkers or rough leaves you hitting
to a green that is difficult to hold as it slopes away from this
shot towards the water.
DOG LEG RIGHT - Hole #10 is an intimidating dog leg
right 419 yard par 4. The starting holes on both the front nine
and back nine at Trump International get your attention. Hole
#1 because of its length and #10 because of the large water hazard
that makes it a dogleg hole. Making the tee shot even more of
a challenge on #10 is an out-of-bounds to the left and the strong
chance of a lost ball if you hit it perfectly straight, but too
far and into the trees that border the fairway as it turns to
WELCOMING - Hole # 11 is a lovely treat. You come
over the hill from #10 and there before you is this attractive
welcoming 177 yard par 3 hole. Meandering down the right side
of the fairway is a tumbling brook which is more for beauty than
for challenge. But two large bunkers to the left of this sloped
green will be the recipients of many golf shots coming from all
TERRIFYING - The finishing holes at Trump International
are very strong, particularly #17, a 219 yard monster shot to
an island green. There is no room for error here and the number
of balls per foursome that play this hole that end up submerged
is roughly three. It is just a plain scary shot. If you move
up to a shorter tee that helps but doesn't eliminate the balls
from going into the water.
WATER to the left
of the green - Hole #3,
the first of the par fives on the Trump International course
at 539 yds., offers a "go for the green in two" temptation.
You had better have your a laser-like fairway club in hand as
there is a stream coming from an attractive waterfall that hugs
the green on the left side with the rough sloping toward it.
That plus the bunkers on the right with the green sloped away
from you certainly catches your attention when the decision time
for trying to hit the green in two comes around.
WATER to the right
of the green - The par
five 15th hole is 550 yards of gorgeous challenge that has a
water course meandering down what appears to be almost the middle
of the fairway. There is adequate room to hit your tee shot but
then any attempt to reach the green will most certainly tighten
up your swing. That is because the water will get you if the
dense stand of palms to the left doesn't. This hole makes you
gasp in awe of its beauty when you come around the bend from
the previous hole and first view it.
PLAYING UP to a
green - One of the many
interesting shots that you face at Trump International is the
shot up to the very elevated 14th. green on this 413 yard par
4. Besides accounting for the added distance the elevation may
require you must negotiate some heavy bunkering. The most difficult
bunker recoveries you face on the course are on this hole.
PLAYING DOWN to
a fairway - Mr. Trump,
seen here teeing off on #18, says, There is something special
about playing from a mountain top tee down to an attractive landing
area. On the home hole of The Championship Course at Trump
International Golf Club you get that opportunity. #18 is a very
demanding 469 yard hole with water coming into play both on the
drive and on the second shot. With the clubhouse in the background
your shot to the green becomes not only challenging but at the
same time, esthetically pleasing.