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Trumping the competition

With difficult tee shots and tricky lies throughout, Trump National challenges the best golfers.

By Brian LichtermanPublished: June, 2012

For those of you who have played every course around, are tired of the same old routine and are looking for a challenge, you might try Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes. Because it’s a Donald Trump property you can expect the usual – stunning clubhouse, top-tier amenities, quality pro shop and high-end clientele. However, you might be surprised at what a challenging golf course Trump National is.

Set on the side of jagged California cliffs on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the course weaves back and forth, sometimes along the Pacific Ocean, and offers a unique golf experience. Hidden tee boxes and turning fairways make it easy to feel isolated on the course and give it a private feel most public courses don’t attain.

Formerly the Ocean Trails Golf Club, Donald Trump and his team invested heavily to make the course his own. White sand bunkers, gargantuan greens and some of the toughest par-4s in the Southland highlight the course. Waterfalls accent the first and seventeenth greens and add to the already spectacular views of the ocean.

The Pete Dye and Donald Trump signature design challenges players through risk/reward shots on nearly every hole. There is a constant “should I or shouldn’t I” feel. To add to the difficult shots, almost every lie will be above or below your feet. There are hardly any flat lies to be found.

A famous hole is the opening par-4 first. It’s short, 314 yards from the blues, and fairly straightforward, so where’s the difficulty? It’s in the island-style green you hit into backed up by a gigantic waterfall. One misstep here could mean opening with a bogey or worse – posting a +3 is not uncommon here.

From there you play several doglegged par-4s and -5s with some of the quickest, toughest greens around. On the par-3s you’re taking dead aim at the flagstick; the others require a lot of strategy and judgment in shot making. Leave your ego in the clubhouse.

Another tough one is the finisher – a par-4 that stretches to 512 yards from the tips with a massive force carry to get over the red tees. It’s more playable from the other tee boxes but it’s too tempting to trot back to the elevated mound where the back tee box lies.

From the tips it’s beastly, but from the blues it’s manageable for better players. Either way, it’s a fun and challenging round of golf.


Length, in yards, of the longest hole on the course, the par-5 7th.

235, 225, 240
Length, in yards, from the black tees of three of the four par-3s – Nos. 8, 11 and 17 respectively.

Total yards between the black and blue tees.

Dollars invested by Donald Trump into the course, making it the most expensive golf course ever built.

Square feet the clubhouse sits on.

Dollars it takes annually to join the VIP club and save 40 percent on daily rates.

Different practice areas including a double-sided driving range, two short game areas and three putting greens.

Total yards it takes to simply carry a drive from the black tees to the red tees on No. 18.


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Readers Feedback:

I would not play a donald trump course for anything. the man thinks golf is only for the rich just check the prices of all the courses he owns. the average golfer who has had to work for a living can't afford him..
Comment at 6/14/2012
I LOVE Trump National LA. It is so picturesque and yes very challenging. You must play target golf here. Some fairways are hidden shots and very narrow and of course all balls roll to the ocean so it makes putting very difficult. What's not to love??????????
Comment at 6/14/2012
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