Pages 22-35 from Winter 2014 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
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World renowned golf course architect Jim Fazio, is pictured here in front of the green complex and the new Tifeagle green of the 413 yard par four 14th hole at Trump International Golf Club in beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida.

"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."

Trump International Golf Club’s
Five Star Golf Experience

By Joe Stine, Editor - Florida Golf Magazine

        Built 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 Florida’s 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.
        The execution 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.
        Designer Jim 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.”
        “With the 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 you’ve 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. What’s 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 severely penal.

Towering Royal Palms separate the 1st Tee and the “world’s best” practice tee at Trump International Golf Club.

        Now, conditioning might be considered a major portion of the beauty factor, but don’t 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 you’re glad you didn’t because there you find such inspirational beauty. The landscaping and diversity of the vegetation is tremendously striking.
        Esthetics can 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.”
        Another interesting 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 special.”

Photographed on 1/2/2014, Trump International’s 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.1/2/2014, Trump International’s newest member, PGA Tour Player Lee Westwood and Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club

The Course Owner
        When asked, Mr. Trump also speaks fondly about Jim Fazio’s 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 the reward.

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 the right.

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 handicap levels.

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.

Pages 22-35 from Winter 2014 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email