One of the most demanding tests of golf in the country
The sensational Silver Fox course at Trump National Doral is one of the most demanding tests of golf in the country. Water comes into play on 17 of 18 holes, and it’s striking, marble-white sand bunkers dictate that only well-struck drives and approaches are rewarded. Although there are only 50 bunkers on the entire course, they are strategically placed to require a demanding game off the tee and difficult approaches to the green. Draped in a wall-to-wall carpet of Celebration Bermuda grass, the course is both beautiful to look at and visually intimidating. The narrow landing areas require a demanding game off the tee, yet the greens are true, fast and accessible, so for the golfer who is playing well, a good score is within reason.
A dramatic and strategic opener greets the golfer who first comes off the magnificent roller-coaster bridge. With a back tee suspended into a lake on the left, a solid tee shot is a top priority. Steer clear of the fairway bunker on the left. The smart play is to aim just right of that bunker with a slight fade, avoiding the canal and trees that guard the right side of the fairway. Four bunkers protect the green—two on the left, one on the right and one behind.
On this beautifully designed, short par 4, either carry your tee shot over the left-hand fairway bunker, or aim at the right-hand bunker and draw the ball back into the fairway. A shallow, wide green slopes from back to front, so club selection on the approach over water is all-important. Beware: There is also a bunker behind the green on the right, so a prudent bail-out play might be short and right of the green.
This is a strong hole with a canal winding all the way down the right side of the fairway and trees up the left. There are no bunkers until 170 yards from the green on the right. The clever strategy is to lay-up short of that bunker and hit a medium- or short-iron approach. If you’re feeling daring, however, and want to have a go at the green in two, know that there is a pond close on the left and back of the green with bunkers to the right. The front of the green is open so a straight shot will roll onto the green.
This is a monster hole from the back tee, which also forces the golfer to hit a shot right to left through a shoot of trees. The green features a large swale and is surrounded by three bunkers and a chipping area short left. The long hitter can go for the green aggressively, but the shorter hitter might opt to lay up into the chipping area and play for a one-putt par.
No. 5 is a gentle dogleg-left flanked by a number of bottle-brush trees. Beware of the two strategically placed fairway bunkers 280 yards off the tee and the canal beyond the trees on the right side. Three deep bunkers guard the left side of the putting surface, but there is plenty of room to the right of the green for a conservative approach and a chip or pitch to save par.
The tee shot on this hole is perhaps the most intimidating in golf. A 230-yard carry, anything to the right will find the water. Aim at the left-hand bunker, 330 yards away. Then you’ll have approximately 160 yards to the green. You can run your approach onto the putting surface, but be sure to favor the left side—water comes perilously close to the right edge!
This tough one-shotter features an island green, reminiscent of the famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. But this hole is even more daunting because it’s longer and features elevated tees so the water is more visible as you’re taking aim. The small pot bunker in front catches a lot of shots that come up short, and the green is canted from back to front, so putts are very quick in that direction.
This hole features a back tee positioned on the island of the 7th green. From there you must hit a long and accurate drive to avoid the three fairway bunkers on the right side as well as the body of water even farther right. The second shot plays into an elevated green guarded by two deep bunkers front and right. Short left is a cautious alternative here—there is hidden water in front of those bunkers. The green is much longer and higher than it appears from the fairway, so be sure to hit enough club for your approach shot.
With water to the right and both bunkers and out of bounds to the left, there is no bailout on your tee shot. Accomplished players aim at the two fairway bunkers on the left and fade the ball safely into the fairway. A shot from the fairway requires a full carry to hit and hold the green. Do not go long—out of bounds awaits the golfer whose approach is too aggressive. There is plenty of room to miss short and left of the putting surface, which slopes significantly from left to right.
This daunting design features two bunkers positioned down the right side of the fairway and water down the entire left side. The illusion is of a narrow landing area, but the fairway is actually one of the widest on the course. The long kidney-shaped green is protected by a bunker short left and a grassy swale beyond. A smart play is to run the approach shot onto the two-tiered putting surface from the right side.
Although not particularly long, this hole can be deceptively difficult. The fairway bunker on the right pinches the fairway closer to the lake that runs the entire length of the fairway to the left. The green is reachable with an accurate tee shot but the second shot must carry a perfectly positioned, steep faced bunker about 75 yards short of the green. From there, a pond swings Around the green from the front right to behind this narrow green that will catch any wayward shots.
On this strong dogleg right, you need a long tee shot—over the water on the left—placed into the left side of the fairway to set up the best angle into the green, which is guarded by three deep bunkers. The farther left the tee shot is positioned away from the trees on the right, the easier the approach shot to the green. Hint: the first bunker on the right is deceptive. It’s a full 25 yards short of the putting surface.
The tee shot is all-important on this hole. Carry the water from the tee with a fade off the left-hand bunker. From the landing area framed by large ficus trees, you’ll have a medium iron to a well-guarded green. Three left-side bunkers encourage a bail-out to the right. Be careful of an overly aggressive approach: Water lurks behind the green.
This is a drivable par 4, but with water along the right side of the green and out of bounds left, the prudent play is to lay up off the tee with a 170-yard shot. Aim at the palm trees on the right and use the fairway contours to bring the ball from right to left into the center of the fairway, short of two fairway bunkers. From there you’ll have about 150 yards into the narrow green. If you’re feeling strong and accurate with your driver, you can have a go at the green, but it will require a 260-yard carry over the bunkers.
This hole doesn’t look that difficult from the tee, but looks can be deceiving. The green is heavily bunkered left, front and right. And more importantly, the putting surface features a severe false front. Any shot to the front edge will almost certainly roll back and off. So be sure to take enough club.
This hole is reachable in two after a good tee shot. The left side of the fairway is better than the right, which is heavily landscaped with palms. The landing area for a layup second shot is guarded on both sides by bunkers. Favor the right side with your approach to the green, which is protected by three gaping bunkers on the left. The green slopes down to a swale on the right, and there is a distinct ridge in the middle.
Club selection and solid contact are key here. The peninsula green is flanked by water front, left and behind. A good tactic is to aim at the back-right bunker and draw your shot onto the green. Fortunately, there is a large bail-out area on the right although the chip shot back to the pin will be downhill toward the water. You might choose to hit it there and play for a one-putt par.
This might be a short hole, but it’s treacherous with water down the entire right side of the hole and in front of the green. A 210-yard shot off the tee will keep you short of the middle bunker, leaving a 165-yard approach over water to a green that features a large hump in the right side. Beware: Because the green is angled from left to right, the farther right the pin, the longer the carry. This is a tough finishing hole.