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Puerto Rico's Dorado East Course Undergoing Major Restoration


Robert Trent Jones II's design firm is overseeing a major restoration of the East Course at Dorado Beach Resort and Club in Puerto Rico.

The original 18-hole golf course at Dorado Beach was carved through tidal wetlands and still boasts wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. in 1958, and enlarged to the current 36-hole routing in 1966. The East and West courses at the resort consistently rank among the best in the Caribbean.

A $2 million upgrade of the East Course was completed in 1999. In that project fairways and greens were contoured back to their original designs and the bunkers rebuilt, while drainage and irrigation systems and new cart paths were installed.

KemperSports, the Northbrook, Ill.-based company that has managed Dorado Beach since 2006, will oversee construction of the current renovation, which began in September and is expected to take a year to complete. The philosophy being implemented by RTJ II is to recapture the original design while uncovering a more flexible and fun course for all players.

"The opportunity to be involved in the restoration of such a historic golf course is truly unique," said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. "We look forward to working with RTJII in bringing a masterpiece back to its former glory."

The restoration will include tee adjustments for length and angle; significant pruning and removal of vegetation to highlight views of the Atlantic Ocean and to uncover course features; re-establishment of the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design philosophy by recapturing the original green sizes and configurations; restoring the bunkers to their original styles and shot values; some bunker repositioning to address modern equipment; new fairway areas to allow bump-and-run shots; and revising surface-drainage patterns to allow the course to be return to normal after heavy rains.

Lake edges will be cleaned and reshaped to more clearly define the water hazards and improve aesthetics. The lakes will also be enlarged for more surface-water storage. Selective tree-pruning will allow more sunlight on turfgrass to enhance healthy growth and playing conditions.

"It's a treat for me at this point in my career to have the opportunity to refresh some of my father's most notable work. I came to Dorado as a teenager when my father was working here and started to realize how exciting golf course architecture is. It was a formative moment at the very beginning of my career," said Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

"To come back to this glorious location and revisit my father's work is especially meaningful," he added. "We are extremely excited about our work here, as the course will have greater flexibility and playing conditions, and will enhance the natural beauty, just as my father originally envisioned."

The Dorado Beach East Course has hosted numerous events over the years, including the 1963 Canada Cup, the 1964 Shell's Wonderful World of Golf event, the Senior PGA Tour Championship from 1990 through 1993, the Champions Tour's Tournament of Champions in 1995 and 1996, the PGA Tour's World Cup of Golf in 1994, and the Chrysler Senior Match Play Challenge in 1999 and 2000. By adding length to the course, Dorado Beach East can once again host such prestigious golf events.

Dorado Beach Club and Resort was once a popular destination for celebrities in the 1960s. Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Gerald Ford, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy have all been guests at the facility.

Jones, Jr. has designed more than 270 golf courses in more than 40 countries over the last 40 years. His designs include The Prince at Princeville in Kauai, Hawaii. The Links at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, Calif. and KemperSports-managed Chambers Bay in University Park, Wash., site of the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open.

For additional information about Dorado Beach, visit http://www.doradobeachclubs.com/dorado.asp?id=238&page=8724.