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On the links at Trump National Golf Club: Donald Trump's new Briarcliff Manor golf course a challenge for many.

Donald Trump has crafted a superb golf course in Briarcliff Manor, a bedroom community just one hour north of Manhattan. Trump National Golf Club is one of the most exacting--and thrilling--courses to be unveiled in New York in years.

Like the casinos that bear his name, it asks players to bet heavy on their own talent. Players are repeatedly confronted with deceptive tee shots and lies.

Trump has spent $40 million on the 7,291-yard course, which .was designed by golf course architect Jim Fazio. He has said publicly that his new club will become the "best course" in New York. It may also become known as the hardest.

During a scorching afternoon last month, a foursome that included this reporter played the course. The group completed 13 holes before a wicked thunderstorm cut the round short.

During that round, many stray tee shots ended up in the woods or beneath one of the many circuitous brooks and lakes that cover much of the course. Pars, needless to say, were few and far between.

The scenic elements are impressive. The course hugs the rolling hills, skirting the edges of the slopes and looping back towards the thick woods lining the fairways. Players rarely have an even lie. In this regard, it is somewhat of a links course--without pot bunkers. Its penal nature is also reminiscent of a links design.

The key to the course, it seems, is not to misjudge the hazards since freeing oneself from them can be painstakingly difficult.

"The course is difficult but fair. In my opinion, the course is set up for the accurate driver. Everything comes into focus if you can hit a consistent tee shot. If not, it will be a very long day," said banker Joseph Schmuckler, who represented one quarter of the aforementioned foursome. Schmuckler, for his part, spent some time in the sand on the front nine. He was forced to lay up from these deep sandy lies--going for the green from them is not always possible.

But the sand is one thing--the water another.

On number 13, for example, the green is backed by a 101-foot tall waterfall. But in front of the green is a small lake rather than a drop zone. The wind is liable to swirl here, making club selection vital. This hole is truly impressive. Trump had to blast out the shoulder of a hill to create this man-made cascade. He has called this hole "the single most expensive hole in the United States." After playing it, one doesn't doubt it. 5,000 gallons of water are pumped over the edge of the cliff every minute.

"I never came close to the green but really enjoyed the hole (No. 13). It's difficult to play golf looking at such a beautiful view," said Schmuckler.

The longer holes are no less challenging. Take number 12, a 555-yard par 5 that ends behind a 120-foot deep ravine. The small green is perched behind this ravine. If you are short, you are lost--the only way you'll retrieve a ball from this gully is by rappelling down.

The club is still a work in progress. A clubhouse designed by architect Robert Lamb Hart remains to be built, and several private homes will also grace the property.

So far, Trump has signed up over 200 members. The demand to join is apparently so high that Trump has doubled the initiation fee to $300,000.

It seems that Trump himself may be the course's biggest fan. On the hot afternoon mentioned above, Trump was out playing with a group.
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Author:Chapman, Parke
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 21, 2002
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