Trump purchased the course in 2002 for $27 million and spent $30 million renovating it bringing the property's total development cost to more than $260 million. The money spent on the course now means it charges $195 to $295 for a round of golf, making it the priciest public access course in Los Angeles County. But both duffers and low-handicappers alike are treated well in return.
The course features country club-type amenities such as a five- star restaurant, golf carts equipped with global positioning equipment, complimentary golf accessories and valet parking. It's also the first course designed by Trump, with a layout aimed at giving the links the broadest possible appeal, unlike many country clubs where the courses are aimed at golfers with lower handicaps.
The design features land connections between the fairway and green on every hole. That allows duffers to reach every flag while allowing skilled golfers to hit a green on the fly. (In addition, the course has five sets of tees creating a course length that ranges from just 4,700 yards to a championship distance of 7,300 yards.)
General Manager Mike van der Goes said the course is projected for 30,000-35,000 rounds per year, but is temporarily on pace for a higher number of rounds as golfers test it out. "People want to be pampered, especially if you are here to conduct business," he said. "People are willing to pay for value as long as the perception is met."
Still, Trump National, which comfortably accommodates up to 150 golfers per day, handles a fraction of the volume seen at traditional public courses. Municipal courses such as those run by the City of Los Angeles survive by offering inexpensive golf to as many people as possible, with many facilities hosting more than 100,000 rounds per year. "The aesthetics will suffer with more play. We do a good job of capping daily play levels," van der Goes said.
The facility opened in January and already more amenities have been added. "Donald Trump wanted us to expand the locker room for tournaments after watching how people used it," van der Goes said. Other additions include a barbecue and refrigerator cart added alongside the course because people did not want to spend time picking up food at the bar and lounge.
Already the course is drawing a host of tournaments and charity outings. And with its ocean views, the facility is also a coveted wedding and banquet location. High profile events use the course including the televised Michael Douglas and Friends charity golf tournament and an LPGA Championship tour event, although the women's tour canceled its local stop last year when title sponsor Home Depot Inc. moved funding to Nascar.
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