Dubbed the ‘Kingdom of Golf’, the Doral Resort is one of the world’s finest comprehensive golf resorts, boasting 5 separate championship courses, and is certainly a fantastic option for anyone thinking of embarking on a USA golf holiday. Although the resort offers its guests luxurious accommodations, outstanding restaurants and bars as well as world class leisure facilities, including a lavish European inspired Spa which offers a staggering choice of over 100 health and beauty treatments, the main attraction for golfers from all over the world is the revered Blue Monster Course.
Originally designed by the well known architect Dick Wilson, whose other work includes the Championship Course at Bay Hill, the Blue Monster at Doral has been consistently developed over the last 20 years to enable the resort to host the big boys from the PGA Tour and that is exactly what it will be doing this week.
The Blue Monster – 8th Hole
This week the WGC Cadillac Championship comes to town and following Rory McIlroy’s coronation as the world’s best player and Tiger’s stunning 62 in high winds that had previously brought play to a halt, the excitement is palpable. With the log jam at the top of the world rankings golf has not been so unpredictable for years and while we are all unsure over who will best cope with the challenges that lie ahead we can be sure of one thing; the Blue Monster will certainly play its part.
Virtually every great name in golf has had a moment of glorious personal triumph on this world-class track. Measuring well over 7,000 yards and featuring a series of strategically placed bunkers, choppy rough and a seemingly endless array of giant water hazards – hence the name ‘Blue Monster’ – the Blue Monster calls for laser like accuracy from tee to green and a steady nerve once safely aboard the lightning quick putting surfaces.
This view of the 18th on the Blue Monster gives us a good idea of just how tricky this hole can be. Approach shots will often be played with a long iron or even a wood due to the sheer length of the hole…a daunting test, especially when the wind gets up!
Although this challenging course will be a great test for any average club golfer holidaying at Doral, the guys on tour routinely tear it apart…until they reach the monstrous 18th that is! In fact since this championship has moved to Doral the lowest winning score has been 10 under par with the last four champions in a row being required to card at least 16 under! While the likes of Tiger, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson have gone low on the course as a whole its main feature, the par 4 18th, has consistently been one of the toughest holes on tour. This hole is so good in fact, that it was ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World.
At 467 menacing yards from the back tees, this famous finishing hole features a, let’s say, sizeable water hazard that runs along the entire left hand side of the hole, copses of palm trees and groups of bunkers within range from the tee down the right and a sloping green that creates countless problems of its own…piece of cake then!
Looking back down the Blue Monster’s 18th Hole
Last year the hole played as the 33rd toughest of the 918 holes played on the PGA Tour. Finishing the year with a stroke average comfortably over par, the hole yielded just 27 birdies over the four days to the 66 world class players in the field. It also rather predictably exacted 65 bogeys, 19 double-bogeys and two dreaded “others.” Former Masters champion Zach Johnson summed up the par 4 18th nicely when he said, “It’s one of the best par-5s on the PGA Tour!”
Although the Blue Monster is the star attraction at Doral – and you can see why by tuning into the golf this week – there are four other golfing gems awaiting your arrival at this famous Florida resort. Designed by the likes of Greg Norman, Jerry Pate and Raymond Floyd, these courses all pose different questions of your game than each other and thanks to their varying degree of difficulty Doral is a suitable golf break destination for all.
To get you in mood for the action on the Blue Monster this week here is a video of the top 10 shots from tournament play on this spectacular course.
Blue Monster Highlights
The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen!