Every conceivable string wsas being pulled and the boys flew down to southern Florida for Super Bowl XLII, for this was just another excuse to get in a few more rounds. The first course I contacted was the famed Doral Golf Resort & Spa, and each time we tried to secure a tee time we were told it was full and reminded, “You know the Super Bowl is that week?” While we were in Miami, we tried TeeBone (http://www.teebone.com) and secured the White Course, better known as the Great White.
Doral, of course, is the home of the course known as the Blue Monster, but as any avid golfer can tell you, there is more to Doral than that one course. The “factory,” as we came to call it, has five courses, and the Super Bowl had them running nearly 24/7 during the week before the game. We played the Great White on Saturday.
Redesigned and reopened on December 6, 2005, the new Greg Norman design provides a balanced challenge for every level. There are hundreds of bunkers, strong prevailing winds, thousands of palm trees (this was the most dramatic change) and a large number of water hazards. “Coquina” or crushed seashells are prevalent on many holes and add to the course challenge. Norman used native trees and Scottish-style bunkering on the 14 holes where water comes into play to add to the charm of the layout. Bunker quality and drainage were a key factor to the course redesign. As Greg Norman said, “The Great White is a departure that complements the other four courses at Doral very well.”
Hole 3 (360 yards, par 4)
As you ponder your shot from the tee, think like Clint Eastwood: “Do you feel lucky?” You must decide whether to cut the corner on this dogleg left or to take the safe bet and aim right. Neither is completely safe as the risky shot could land you in the drink and the “safe” shot means your approach is over three deep bunkers guarding the green. It’s your decision.
Hole 4 (195 yards, par 3)
Your shot off the tee must carry water all the way to the green. Tee shots that fade off to the left may also become wet. The only safe area, to the right, is protected by two bunkers. This layout, coupled with the changing wind, makes this a very difficult par three.
Hole 5 (572 yards, par 5)
Some might think that Norman received a discount on his purchase of coquina when they see the amount of crushed seashells to the left and right of this fairway. From the box, two large trees “beautifully frame this long par 5,” or at least that’s what the yardage book says. I can tell you that slamming your ball into one of them and having it fall into the coquina is not so beautiful. Hole five is a long par five; you will need to stay out of harm’s way and have three clean shots to make par. Take care on your approach as a series of bunkers guard the green on the left and a native area on the right will catch those who meander in that direction.
Hole 9 (434 yards, par 4)
How much do you want to cut off and how much do you want to risk? That is the question of the day. Choose your angle of attack from the tee box. This slight dogleg left creates a real dilemma as water runs the entire length of the left side. On the right side of the landing area are two traps, which will make your chance of hitting the green in regulation even more difficult. Once you have made your perfect drive, you are ready to approach the green with a high to midiron. Just remember that this green is narrow, three bunkers guard the approach on the right and the water is on the left.
Hole 14 (602 yards, par 5)
This long par five double dogleg makes you think for each shot. Off the tee, you must avoid the clump of trees on the right (and the coquina in which they grow). The landing area is very small and your second shot again must stay clear of the trees on the right and avoid the water that runs along the left side of the fairway starting about 200 yards before the green. The green is very small and protected by the water on the left and two bunkers in front. Making par will be an achievement here.
Hole 16 (194 yards, par 3)
Water, water everywhere … and you will be wondering how you will walk away dry from this hole. From the tee box there is no margin for error, with water in front and on the right of the green and twin bunkers protecting the left flank.
Hole 17 (452 yards, par 4)
A drive down the left side of this fairway will put you in perfect position for this dogleg left, but not too far as you need to avoid the trees and your old friend the coquina. A position to the left will leave you a shorter approach to the green, but this is a long hole and there are six traps to the far right to catch those who fade on this shot. The green is a large double shared with hole 13.
Hole 18 (529 yards, par 5)
Brace yourself for a good finishing hole. (It was the end for some of my group.) I happily drove my ball perfectly down the center, and proudly walked to it while watching my fellow golfers pounding out of the coquina left and right to put their balls back into play. A pair of traps on both sides of the fairway can catch any drive left or right of your target. The second shot must be carefully (or luckily, in my case) placed, hugging the left side of the fairway crossing over a coquina waste bunker that cuts across the entire hole and avoiding the water that comes into play on the right. The water runs from about 100 yards from the green up the entire right side and is very close to the green. Two traps guard the front, and three catch balls in the back.
DORAL GOLF RESORT & SPA
4400 NW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33178
tel 800 71 DORAL
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