Trump Has Big Plans for Doral
By Conor Nagle under Architecture

Soon, Donald, all this will be yours.

The exploits of comedy property magnate Donald Trump are a favourite subject of this blog, but whereas covering, say, his ongoing dispute with the Scottish government or his slightly suspicious Bronx public course deal are matters of choice, oddball detours from PGA Tour business, the billionaire’s purchase of Doral Resorts (the venue for this week’s Cadillac Championship) has made matters Trump genuinely newsworthy.

Today at a pre-tournament press conference, he and architect du jour Gil Hanse explained their lofty plans for the “tired” venue.

While Hanse will supervise a redesign of the championship layout, the $200 million renovation itself will be helmed by a dynastic dream team of Ivanka and Erik Trump. Safe hands.

We pick things up with The Donald in full flow:

DONALD J. TRUMP: The judge just approved the deal on Friday of last week, and we close on June 1, and we are going to put probably in excess of $200 million into the deal to bring it back to a level that even Doral has never seen.  Ivanka is going to be working on it very strongly.  My son, Eric Trump, who is right here, is going to be down here and working on it very strongly, and we are going to do some job.

“… We hired Gil Hanse and his firm, and they have already come up with plans that are absolutely amazing; respecting the course and respecting the great tradition of Doral, very much respecting it, and I think that was important to Gil.  I know it was important to Gil.”

Once an extensive renovation of the courses, clubhouse and surrounding facilities is completed, will a rebranding draw the venue into alignment with other centrepieces of the Trump brand?

DONALD J. TRUMP:  Well, we are going to think about that.  It’s going to stay Doral, at least for the next year, and I’ll always be keeping the name Doral in some form [uh-oh].

“When we have spent the money, and when it’s at the highest level of luxury and highest levels of golf, because this will be the highest levels of luxury; the course will be the highest levels of golf, then we are going to make the decision.  But it will be in some form Doral.”

He speaks about the Trump prefix as if it’s an honour that exceptional properties earn (through attainment of “the highest level of luxury”, naturally), rather than the biproduct of muscular boardroom negotiations.

Trumpology 101: Always be selling, always be promoting.

Q: Would you have any hopes of getting a U.S. Open here eventually, a PGA Championship?

DONALD J. TRUMP:  Well, we have a big championship now, and frankly, in July, you couldn’t have it here.  We do have other ‑‑ I have a course in Washington which is phenomenal on the Potomac, I have a course in Bedminster, New Jersey, which is, I believe ‑‑ I think they have announced it.  If they have haven’t, I’m going to say this off the record even though we are on live television.  I’m hearing rumours about getting the U.S. Women’s Open.

“We have an amazing facility, two courses; Tom Fazio; in Bedminster, New Jersey that everybody is raving about and we have gotten tremendous reviews, and likewise in Washington.

“But this area could never have a U.S. Open, because when you get into July and August, it’s a little hot.  I think the course could do it very easily, but the weather would be a little bit too hot.”

The Trump Organization’s takeover of Doral – effective as of June 1, 2012 – will be followed by a six-month closure of the site, during which renovations of the clubhouse and hotel will take place.

Recontouring of the Blue Monster will take place in the months immediately following the 2013 Cadillac Championship.

Conor Nagle