Donald & Ivanka Trump
The $200 Million Makeover of Doral’s Blue Monster
Having met Mr. Donald Trump only on a few social occasions, both at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach and in New York, the prospect of being able to ‘chat’ with him inspired me to visit his latest project, Trump National Doral. A remarkable host, Mr. Trump rolled out a red carpet for all of us at South Florida Opulence, and for that we thank him.
Being able to mingle at arm’s length with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott was very special, even for me, who is not a golfer! During the press conference preceding the Cadillac Golf Championship at Doral, a true nature of this versatile mogul extraordinaire clearly emerged. Surrounded by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka, who all play an integral role in the project, it was apparent that Trump National Doral is not only dear to him as a golfer, but also as a patriarch of a family of which he’s very proud.
Q. to Donald: Of all your extraordinary projects, golf appears to be of great interest to you. Why golf? In your opinion, who is the best player in the world today?
Mr. Trump: I have loved golf since I was a high school student. I have always been attracted to the game on several levels—it’s a brain game, it requires patience and technique, and is a great way to get to know people. It’s a great business tool. I think Tiger, Rory, Phil and Ernie are the greatest players today—hard to choose just one.
Q. to Donald: Why did you choose Doral Golf Course?
Mr. Trump: I’ve always loved Doral. The Blue Monster is legendary, for one thing. Miami is an amazing city and area. So it’s very desirable on several levels. We are doing a total renovation and the courses will be designed by Gil Hanse. It will be the finest club of its sort in the U.S.
Q. to Donald: Why did you appoint your daughter Ivanka to spearhead the project?
Mr. Trump: Ivanka is a very good golfer and she knows the game. She’s also an accomplished businesswoman and has terrific insights into whatever project she works on. She has everything it takes to make it work and terrifically—she’s not just capable, but superb in her abilities.
Q. to Donald: How high do you set the bar? Are your expectations higher when it comes to your own children? Or, do you cut them some slack?
Mr. Trump: I don’t cut them any slack and they wouldn’t expect otherwise. The Trump brand represents the gold standard worldwide and that’s the bar. It has to be the best and all of us have the same expectations—the best!
Q. to Ivanka: How do you feel about leading the charge at Trump National Doral?
Ivanka: I’m excited about it. Our golf portfolio is already impressive and Trump National Doral is a significant addition to it. The end result will not only be a comprehensively beautiful resort but will provide an exceptional golf experience.
Q. to Ivanka: Do you feel pressured when working for your father?
Ivanka: No. I put pressure on myself to do the utmost best in my work. My standards are the same as his—so that makes things much easier to deal with. The scope of the project is enormous, but it is a challenge that I am enjoying.
Q. to Ivanka: How do you plan to make your mark on the Trump National Doral project?
Ivanka: We are not just renovating but redesigning an iconic 800- acre property. It will have the attributes of a cutting-edge resort while maintaining the grace and history for which it is known. There will be nothing finer anywhere.
Q. to Ivanka: Where and from whom do you draw your inspiration and creativity?
Ivanka: I draw my inspiration from history, art, architecture, fashion and design. However, my family is the most important thing to me—my husband and daughter, and my parents and siblings. We are close and are always there for each other. It’s the best combination of assets anyone could have!
Q. to Donald: Marjorie Merriweather Post, the first owner of Mar-A-Lago, was my late husband David Manson Weir II’s
godmother. So just after we got married, in 1971, I had a chance to see Mar-A-Lago in its absolute glory. You’ve acquired it in 1985.
Why have you chosen Mar-A-Lago?
Mr. Trump: If you’ve seen it, then you know why. It’s incredible. It’s like a Venetian palazzo only better.
Q. to Donald: You’re a genius when it comes to picking the crown jewels of real estate. Is it instinct? Did you learn it, and if so, from whom?
Mr. Trump: I learned a great deal from my father, Fred C. Trump, about real estate, including construction and development. That experience cannot be underestimated. However, there is a certain amount of instinct involved. You have to go with your gut sometimes. As time goes by, this instinct can be honed so that decisions can be made quickly. That is never an excuse to avoid due diligence—but it provides an advantage.
Q. to Donald: Your family — how do you manage NOT to play favorites?
Mr. Trump: Easy. They are all my favorites.
Q. to Donald: What is your biggest accomplishment to date, and why? Has it changed anyone’s life except your own?
Mr. Trump: Being a father to terrific children has been a great accomplishment. I am proud of them and they have a lot to offer. My three eldest have been very active—and effective—with their charities already. It’s just the beginning! They have already made a difference.
Q. to Donald: Is there ‘enough’ for Mr. Donald Trump?
Mr. Trump: Probably not and that’s a good thing. I am not a complacent person. I intend to keep on going for a long time to come. The world is an exciting place and that excitement does not escape me—ever! — Donald J. Trump