Review: Trump International Golf Resort

Donald’s PGA tour stop in Puerto Rico & more.
You can’t help but want to play a PGA tournament course, especially one in Puerto Rico owned by Donald Trump.  The resort has 36 holes, the Championship course and the International course.  It really felt like there were 27 similarly styled holes and an odd, but awesome 9 holes.
The Championship Course.
This is where they hold the Puerto Rican Open each March to huge crowds.  It is a really solid test of golf.  It can play over 7000 yards from the back tees and has a great mixture of holes.  It starts with a solid par 4 that is wide enough to begin, but length is important.  Like most holes the greens have decent undulation and roll ever so true.  The holes kind of meander here and there crossing paths with the other course.  As you weave through the flat mostly open front 9 you have multiple lagoons that can grab a ball and keep it.  The shorter par 4 3rd is a great hole.  Lots of sand and kind of a risk reward sort of hole.  The 5th is a reachable in 2 shots par 5.  But with water to navigate off the tee, placement is important.  The 6th is a beautiful par 3.  It has danger all to the left of the green.  The 8th hole is another great par 3 that plays plenty long with some danger short and left.  Finishing brings you right back to the clubhouse with a  nice dogleg right par 4.  After you grab a snack off to 10 you go.

The back 9 has some really great holes.  The 11th – 13th were some of the best on the property.  The par 3 11th hole is a great beginning to the ocean stretch of holes.  You can see it in the background. The 12th hole is the signature hole as it plays right out to the ocean where the green has  a giant sand trap and water hazard behind it (beach and ocean)  The 13th plays away from the ocean, but again it is a solid par 4.  Then you play a stretch of holes that plays near the road which goes to the Gran Melia beach resort.  The 15th is a long par 5 that takes you to the far end of the course.  The 16th hole is a great par 3 with danger right.  The 18th is a great finishing par 5.  It might be reachable in two by really big hitters, but amateurs are not going to reach.

I can see how this makes a great championship layout.  It has lots of space, excellent conditions and a great variety of holes.

The International Course
This course is much better than expected.  While the acclaim is the Championship course because of the tournament, the International is much more interesting.  The front 9 is fascinating.  It starts off rather tame, but once you get to hole 2 you know that this 9 is far different that the other holes of the resort.  Suddenly hills start coming in to play.  The 2nd hole is a par 3 which takes you to a high tee box vista to shoot down to a green guarded by a stream.  The 3rd hole is a great uphill, but shorter par 4.  The 4th is another great hole as you tee off the top of a hill down the valley to only have to go back up a hill again to reach the green.  The 8th is another par 3 similar to the 2nd.  You hit from high up on a hill to this low green.  I hit the green and plugged, almost like a fried egg.  The 9th hole brings you back to the clubhouse.  After another snack off to 10 we headed.

The back 9 is flatter much like the Championship course, but much more tree lined and secluded.  Many of these holes are wound through the mangrove forest.  The 11th hole began  a whole new feeling of seclusion, cut between the trees, this hole felt tough, probably wasn’t but no one in our group played it well.  There are a number of long drives between holes on this 9, but the best holes were the 15th-17th.  The 15th is a great par 5 that requires you to avoid the lake on the right side.  The 16th plays out toward the ocean again and the 17th plays away from the ocean, but still offering the great sounds and sense of the ocean.   You wrap up with a solid dogleg left to feel like you just had a great day courtesy of Donald Trump.

The whole place is done with class and style as expected from Trump.  It really is a treat to play all 36 on the resort.  Sure the Championship is played by the tour guys, but the International shouldn’t be overlooked; it’s variety is excellent.

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Quick Hits
+Outstanding conditions
+PGA tournament course
+Ocean holes
+Great variety
+36  holes