Trump has 'monster' plans for Doral course

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By DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Donald Trump has monster plans for his purchase of the Doral Golf Resort.

Trump bought the famous golf resort outside Miami for $150 million and said Thursday he plans to invest more than $200 million to revamp the Blue Monster championship course and stop at nothing to make Doral the ultimate golf destination.

"It's a tremendous location, 800 acres right smack in the middle of Miami, and we look to make this one of the great places anywhere in the world for golf," Trump said Thursday. "It needs a lot of work. It's a little bit tired, and that's OK. And we're going to do something special."

The sale is to close June 1.

Doral has held a PGA Tour event since 1962, and it was elevated to a World Golf Championship in 2007. It is hosting a 74-man field this week that includes the top 50 players in the world ranking. Trump said the course would be shut down after the 2013 tournament, and Gil Hanse would renovate what is now called the TPC Blue Monster.

Hanse was selected Wednesday to design the course in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics.

Trump is likely to change the name of the Doral course but won't decide until the project is finished.

"When we have spent the money, and when it's at the highest level of luxury and highest level of golf ... then we are going to make the decision," he said. "But it will be in some form 'Doral.'"

Trump already has Trump International in West Palm Beach, which once hosted the LPGA Tour Championship. He also has courses in New York, Washington, along the coast in California. This is what happens when a developer has a passion for golf.

"I have friends that are very successful people and they love to garden," he said. "And I like to garden, too, I guess, in a much bigger way."

The sale includes three other golf courses, but not the White Course across the street, which was offered at a steep price because it still can be developed. Trump said the Red and Gold courses, which are adjacent to the Blue Monster, will be upgraded, and he has contemplated combining them into one great course instead of two ordinary ones.

Still, he said that would not match what Hanse has in store for the Blue Monster.

Among the ideas is to turn the par-3 15th into an island green, and clear out the left side of the 16th fairway to make it a par 4 that can be reached off the tee, with water down the left side.

He also will upgrade the small driving range and build a clubhouse worthy of the resort.

Hanse said he would try to keep the intentions of Dick Wilson, the original designer of the Blue Monster.

"It would not be accurate to call it a restoration," Hanse said. "It's a renovation because we think we are obviously making some significant changes to golf holes."

Trump said he turns down 10 offers for every golf course he buys, and he has big plans for Doral.

"Doral can be the absolute best," he said. "We are going to do this really right. I view it as a business, but it's not my main business. But more importantly, I will spend much more money on fixing Doral than somebody else because somebody else is looking for a return on investment. I'm not. I'm looking to make an amazing place, and the return will come. So I think it's a good thing for golf."

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