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Swinging in South Beach

By the time you read this, minds will no doubt have been made up as to which is cooler, this year’s film version of Miami Vice or the vintage 1980s television original. For most Miamiphiles, though, the point is moot: The arrival of the movie, two decades after the celebrated show completed its run, simply underscored the city’s enduring status as a nexus of style. Whoever you think makes the more nuanced Crockett, the more complex Tubbs, the sleek art deco and neon backdrop of South Beach continues to play a starring role. Propelled by Miami’s popularity, the city is experiencing what’s been described as a golden age of architecture, with some of the world’s finest architects designing eagerly anticipated civic, commercial and residential spaces. The rapid growth is a double-edged sword, however, when it comes to golf. Given the various demands on real estate here, the greater Miami area hasn’t attracted the profusion of new course construction seen almost everywhere else in Florida—home to more than 1,200 courses, the most of any state in the country. On the other hand, several of Miami’s iconic golf resorts—Doral, Turnberry Isle and The Biltmore—are reopening this fall and winter after extensive renovations and have never looked better. A paucity of golf is not the problem in Miami; it’s the abundance of so much else—hip restaurants and nightclubs, modish hotels and pools—that may overwhelm you. So break out the T-shirt-and-blazer ensembles and start growing that stubble.

Where to Play

DORAL GOLF RESORT & SPA, BLUE **** 1/2
The Blue Monster, as it’s universally known, is one of those larger-than-life courses, though the reason for its renown is a running debate. Yes, certain holes are legendary, particularly the 437-yard par-four eighteenth, an object lesson in risk- reward, with water running along the entire left side and pinching in at key places. But, some argue, that’s mainly because Doral has hosted a televised PGA Tour event annually since 1962, the year after it opened; and besides, the decision to stage the tournament at the expansive Doral Golf Resort & Spa has much to do with logistics. The Blue Monster, this line of argument goes, can no longer even be considered monstrous, as it stretches "only" 7,100 yards from the back tees. I say rubbish. In addition to the copious water hazards and some 120 bunkers, the course is defended forcefully by the frequent winds. The layout boasts some great par threes, including the 237-yard fourth. Furthermore, the resort staff is adept at moving golfers around Doral’s five courses (which receive 150,000 rounds a year), and walking—a rarity in Florida golf—is allowed. Finally, the Blue Monster recently underwent a four-month renovation, during which the greens were resurfaced to roll more smoothly and the bunkers rebuilt to restore some of Dick Wilson’s tricky strategic elements.
4400 N.W. 87th Avenue, Miami; 305-592-2000, doralresort.com. Yardage: 7,125. Par: 72. Slope: 130. Architect: Dick Wilson, 1961. Greens Fees: $225–$250.

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