Renovated Dorado Beach reopens


Renovated Dorado Beach reopens
Sean Dudley

The famous East course at the Dorado Beach resort in Puerto Rico has reopened after an eighteen month renovation programme led by the Robert Trent Jones II firm.

The renovation of the East course is part of a much larger programme of works at Dorado Beach, including a new Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel, a new spa and beach club, all designed by San Francisco-based SB Architects.

“Bringing the East Course back to its former grandeur is just the beginning of our complete renovation of the legendary Dorado Beach Resort,” said Eric Christensen, the resort’s CEO. “With the opening of Dorado Beach this year and a Ritz-Carlton Reserve next year, this will again be one of the world’s top resorts for golfers and guests from all around the world.”

The original Dorado Beach course was carved through tidal wetlands near the Atlantic Ocean by Robert Trent Jones Sr, and opened in 1958, and was enlarged to its current 36 hole routing in 1966. The resort also includes the Plantation Sugarcane course and Plantation Pineapple course.

“It was truly an honour to restore one of my father’s original masterpieces,” said Robert Trent Jones Jr. “The restoration of the East Course has enhanced the natural beauty, playing conditions and flexibility that my father had originally envisioned over 50 years ago.”

The project included tee adjustments for length and angle, significant pruning and removal, re-establishment of Trent Jones’s design philosophy by recapturing the original green sizes and configurations as well as implementing a return to the ‘runway tee’ style and restoring the bunkers to their original style. Some bunkers were repositioned to accommodate technological advances in modern equipment.

All eighteen greens were rebuilt and resurfaced with Champion ultradwarf bermuda, while surface drainage patterns were revised allow the course to be played quickly after rainfall.

KemperSports, which has managed Dorado Beach since 2006, oversaw construction for the 18-month restoration project. “The East Course is a true historic masterpiece,” said Kemper CEO Steve Skinner. “The restoration team has done a wonderful job in bringing the design back to its original glory.”

See the forthcoming January 2012 edition of Golf Course Architecture for a detailed article about the Dorado Beach project