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March 5 2013

6:53 PM

Turf Talk: TPC Blue Monster


The finishing hole at TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM contributor

There’s a new name affixed to the TPC Blue Monster this year, one that commands at least equal billing even as he breathes new energy into the longtime centerpiece of Doral Golf Resort.

Or as it’s now known, Trump Doral. See?

The grand overhaul begins this spring, when new owner Donald Trump begins signing checks for sweeping changes on the 1962 Dick Wilson design that include toughening the par-5s and giving players a lot more blue (read: water) to deal with.

But even as the WGC Cadillac Championship plays one more version on the old model, Trump’s fingerprints can already be found on the property.

“The Trump organization is very highly detail-oriented,” said Jeff Haley, the PGA TOUR agronomist who oversees TPC Blue Monster’s setup.

As an example, Haley said, many superintendents simply remind workers to avoid areas of thin growth during weekly vertical cutting. Trump Doral staff goes out with flags to definitively show where to steer clear.

“We’ve never had the golf course so neat, tidy and clean – ever,” he said.

Pros also will find faster landing areas this year, after a heavy topdressing last year to break down the organic matter that builds up in soil over time and makes the ground soft. Nearly all of the bunkers also were refurbished after a wet summer that brought more than 60 inches of rain to Greater Miami.

“You can’t just dump [new sand] in,” Haley said. “You’ve got to get it at the right depth and make sure the consistency is precise.”

Crews will hand-water the bunkers this week to guard against buried lies.

“They are saying that the course is in the best shape in 25 years,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “It's a little ironic, because we blow it up [next] Monday.”

Light showers are in the Wednesday forecast, but temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s are slated to greet competitors all week. With only mild breezes expected, scores could go deeply low in the Monster’s current state.

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