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Jim McLean's Golf Blog


Articles from Jim and his expert instructors.

Comparing the old Blue to the new Blue Dustin
Note: This is solely my opinion on the difficulty rating on each hole. It's my 23rd year at a Trump National Doral. The changes made to this resort have been incredible. I did the 1999 renovation and Gil Hanse did this all new 2014 restoration.

1.  The new first hole is far more difficult than the old one which had a round pancaked green. It's 50 yards longer and a lake is very much in play. MORE DIFFICULT
2.  This is a totally new hole and is slightly more difficult.  MORE DIFFICULT
3.  Essentially the same hole, but the driving area is pinched in slightly more and the slope off the right side of the green goes straight to the lake. MORE DIFFICULT
4.  Great new tee behind the lake, as was in the original Dick Wilson plans. Makes this one of the most beautiful and difficult par 3's in the world. MORE DIFFICULT
5.  Hole was lengthened by 20 yards and green built up. The fairway slopes the opposite way go the fairway. Very tight drive.  MORE DIFFICULT
6. The same hole but with huge fairway bunkers that require most tour players to lay up off the tee, thus increasing the length of the second shot. The green has less slope than the old green, but I still think the hole is slightly more difficult. MORE DIFFICULT
7. Great change to this hole in lengthening it and putting the green behind the bunker, except that the bunkering off the tee requires a perfect drive. So the drive is much harder, the hole is 40 yards longer, water is in play and the green is tough. MORE DIFFICULT.
8. This hole is shorter and you don't carry the old lake. Just about all tour players can get to this hole now. That wasn't the case before. The old green was super tough. EASIER
9. Could be even harder than #4. A heart stopping tee shot to a super narrow green with water bordering the right side. MORE DIFFICULT

10. The tee shot is now off the charts tough. The second shot is tough as well. The green complex is really tough. The hole is 620 yards. MORE DIFFICULT.
11. This hole use to have an option of going down the double fairway. Now the hole is much longer and everyone goes down the left side. Green is much tougher. MORE DIFFICULT
12.  Pretty much the same hole but tighter on the drive with a more difficult green. Also the second shot is very narrow. MORE DIFFICULT
13.  This was the toughest par 3 on the old course, and it had a small turtle back green that was tough to hit. The new green is much bigger and receptive. EASIER
14.  A new green is well bunkered and raised. The hole is much longer and the second shot is really tough. MUCH HARDER
15.  The old green was super narrow and raised. Very cool hole. The new green is now almost an island green, but it's a gigantic target.  EASIER
16.  Now a drivable par 4. It has magnificent bunkering. The old hole required a great drive and the green was more difficult.  EASIER
17.  The driving area was changed with another fairway that slopes the opposite way of the dogleg. The hole is very similar to the old hole. The green might be easier. SAME
18. The tee shot is now 10 yards longer. The water hazard is now in play for everyone. More trees planted on the right side. The hardest finishing hole in golf is now harder. MORE DIFFICULT.

So there you have it. MY SYNOPSIS OF THE FAMOUS NEW BLUE MONSTER.  It's a fabulous test of golf. It's beautiful and very much updated. A true test of golf talent. Tests all parts of your game.  Fifteen holes are more difficult, two holes are easier, and I rate one of the holes the same.

It's a must play golf course. And, by the way, the other 3 course at Trump a National Doral are fantastic, too. It's the best golf resort in Florida and it's now right up there with Pebble Beach and Bandon Dunes. Throw in Miami, the weather, the international airport nearby, the ease of getting to Trump National Doral and it might be  the #1 experience in overall public golf. The other 3 golf courses are truly remarkable,but The Blue is the "crown jewel". The 2015 Cadillac World Golf Championship will be the 45th consecutive PGA tour played on this golf course. The greatest players in golf have won here including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, and Ernie Els. All Hall of Fame golfers. The Trump National Doral golf course is known worldwide and the event is always on World TV.

The First Ever "McLean at Sea" Golf Cruise Grayson Zacker

Golfers will receive McLean instruction during a 7-night Mediterranean cruise aboard Celebrity Equinox, with special bonus for the first 50 players to book

PR Newswire

MIAMI, June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Jim McLean, founder and president of the #1 golf schools in the world, and cruise event specialist Landry & Kling are proud to announce they have partnered to plan and operate a series of exclusive golf cruise programs – McLean at Sea – beginning in 2015. McLean and his team of world-class instructors will sail aboard Celebrity Equinox for the first "McLean at Sea" golf school from Rome to Barcelona, for 7 nights, June 28 - July 4, 2015, visiting ports in Italy, France, and Spain.



The McLean at Sea group is limited to 144 golfers, plus families and friends. The first 50 players to book will each receive special bonuses including a personal video analysis of his or her swing by Jim McLean.

During the cruise, 144 golfers will have access to 10 hours of onboard instruction with Jim McLean and his instruction staff, and improve their skills ashore on championship golf courses. Instructors will utilize the Jim McLean teaching method and state-of-the-art golf instruction technology. Students will be grouped with golfers of the same skill level throughout the cruise.

"My customized 'Golf School At Sea' will offer total game improvement focusing on full swing, short game, and course management; all while sailing to some of the most alluring ports in Europe," McLean said. "This will be the voyage of a lifetime!"

McLean at Sea students will have a chance to perfect their game in Livorno, Italy and Nice, France on 9-hole championship golf courses; the final 18-hole tournament will be played in Palma de Majorca, Spain. Meanwhile, non-golfers will have the opportunity to explore enchanting Mediterranean destinations, with a half day excursion included in Nice, France.

Landry & Kling CEO Joyce Landry adds: "We have lots of surprises planned for Jim's golfers and guests who should be sure to book this golf cruise program through the McLean at Sea website to participate in events exclusively for our group."

To book, visit

Erik Compton "Turning Point" Golf World June 2014 Grayson Zacker

Erik Compton is Tied for 2nd at the US Open! Grayson Zacker

From early childhood, golf prodigy Lucy Li didn't want to leave course Grayson Zacker

Jim McLean has coached child prodigies at his golf schools around the world for decades, so he thought he had seen just about every kind of young hopeful out there.

Then came Lucy Li.

The 11-year-old from the suburbs south of San Francisco became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open by winning the sectional at Half Moon Bay in California by seven strokes last month. Her journey to Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, where the tournament begins Thursday, is the quickest and most unique of anybody in the field.

A sixth grader with braces and a sharp short game, Li's family came to California from Hong Kong and she has been training at McLean's golf school in Miami since she was 7. As he has with many young golfers when they arrive, McLean gave her the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"

Li not only read the book. She memorized it.

"She's incredibly smart," McLean said. "And an incredibly fast learner."

That much is clear. Little else about Li's life is. Her family has declined interview requests, only issuing a statement through the USGA that she is honored to play in the prestigious tournament.

Those who have watched Li's rapid rise tell a story of a girl who skips down fairways and brings candy bars to club members, a focused competitor with a powerful swing and polished putting, and a youngster whose family has dedicated time and money to grow her game.

McLean said Li is homeschooled through an online Stanford University program and spends the winter months training with him in Miami, where she is watched over by her aunt, Tao Zeng, an eye doctor. The rest of the time Li spends in Silicon Valley with her father, Warren Li, a computer consultant, and her mother, Amy Zeng, a former table tennis player who works in the technology industry, he said. Li's brother, Luke, studies at Princeton.

McLean said Li's mother tried pushing her toward other activities such as music, ballet and aerobics. But Li's brother played golf competitively, and she wanted to be just like him.

"She started to like golf, and then all she wanted to do was golf," McLean said. "It didn't come that easy for her. She worked."

Joby Ross is a golf instructor at Mariners Point in Foster City, just a few short miles from Li's home in Redwood Shores. Ross remembers Li's brother and cousin practicing at the course first, but the family later turned their attention to Li after she began whacking a few balls on the range while waiting for them to finish a tournament.

"They were very serious with her more than the other two," Ross said. "Her mom and her aunt were always with her. They would use the practice and short-game area for hours on end. I'd see them in the morning and they'd bring a lunch with them, and they'd stop and have a little lunch break and continue practicing, chipping and pitching and they'd go onto our grass tee where they could hit shots. It was a pretty extensive practice session for a young kid."

Ross had his concerns about whether Li's family pushed her too hard at an early age. A few times, he saw her having a tantrum with her mom and aunt.

"She was crying and I asked, 'What was the problem?'" Ross recalled. "She seemed pretty frustrated and I thought, 'Well, maybe they were making her be out there too long.' And they said, 'Oh, she's just upset because we have to leave, and she wants to stay.'"

Hollis Kelley, an instructor at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, said Li plays the course often when she is in California. He said Li is a favorite in the pro shop, where she often hands out Quaker Chewy chocolate chip granola bars to the staff.

"For her size, she has extraordinary power," Kelley said. "Because of her stature, at this point she couldn't overpower a golf course. But pound for pound, she's very powerful. She has a great short game. Her game is pretty boring. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. She shoots a couple under par and it just seems like it's an everyday thing for her."

Li set a record last year in the U.S. Women's Amateur as the youngest qualifier at age 10. She also was the youngest in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links to reach match play, losing in the first round to a college player.

Li captured the girls' 10-11 division at the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Augusta that preceded the Masters this year. Then she beat second-place qualifier Kathleen Scavo by seven strokes at Half Moon Bay to surpass the mark set by Lexi Thompson, who was 12 when she made it to the 2007 U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles.

McLean also coached Thompson — along with several other PGA and LPGA players over the years — but thought Li was too young to train when her mother first called him. He said he changed his mind after Li and her mother met with him in Miami, when he saw the family's commitment and Li's love for golf.

"I couldn't turn them down," he said.

McLean said he has put a heavy emphasis for Li to play the course instead of practice on the range. He said Li has made the biggest strides with her short game since she arrived, and her consistent ball-striking ability and concentration is rare for a golfer of any age.

Even still, he believes making the cut at the U.S. Open is asking "way too much" of Li — and not just because of her age.

"I don't think that's a reasonable expectation for anybody playing one LPGA event a year," he said. "But it wouldn't be the first time she's surprised us."


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