Donald Trump hires Coore-Crenshaw to build new Charlottesville course

Donald Trump
David Cannon/Getty Images
Donald Trump is set to add a golf course in Charlottesville, Va., to his portfolio.

Donald Trump has hired noted golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to build a new golf course in Charlottesville, Va., according to sources close to Trump.

The planned Charlottesville golf course will be public, and Coore and Crenshaw have already made a preliminary routing. The course will be built on the grounds of deceased media billionaire John Kluge's neo-Georgian, 45-room mansion called Albemarle House, which Trump purchased seven months ago.

All of these plans are in preliminary stages, but with permitting and approvals expected to move quickly, the prospects are tantalizing, according to Eric Trump, president of the on-site Trump Winery and Donald Trump's son.

"I've never seen a piece of land as good as this," said Eric Trump, adding, "My father's in love with the place."

Eric Trump can't compete with his iconic father for sheer bravado, especially when it comes to dishing out superlatives, but others share his view of the site's potential.

Last September, he told several media outlets that a handful of golf course architects had toured the property and those architects came away impressed.

"They all unanimously came back and said this could be one of the best golf courses in the country or in the world," Trump said.

Trump's course won't be the first-ever golf course on the property. Years ago, the Kluge estate housed an Arnold Palmer design, but Kluge's third wife, Patricia, who obtained the estate in a 1990 divorce proceeding, let the course go fallow. The old course will not be part of the new design. However, Trump said the new course will take advantage of the Kluge estate's historical setting.

"We can hit a pitching wedge to Monticello," Eric Trump said, referring to Thomas Jefferson's iconic estate next door. "Kluge had amazing taste in land, and coincidentally, so did Thomas Jefferson. We're situated on the same ridge as Monticello. It's incredible to look out from the top of the hills."

The Kluge property already houses a wildly successful winery, one that garnered many awards in its previous incarnation as Kluge Vineyard and Estate. Trump has continued the winemaking tradition. In March 2013, Wine Enthusiast gave the 2007 Trump SP Reserve a 91 rating, the highest number ever given to any still or sparkling Virginia wine. Kluge, whom Forbes named the richest man in America in 1987, died in 2010.

The choice of Coore and Crenshaw continues an interesting departure for Trump in his U.S. golf courses. Having already selected Gil Hanse to re-do Doral, Coore and Crenshaw would further Trump's evolution from the perfectly sculpted Tom Fazio-style to a more natural, minimalist approach to design.

For anyone who has sampled Sand Hills, Streamsong, Bandon Trails or Kapalua, the prospects of playing a vintage design on historical terrain, followed by a celebratory wine tasting, Trump's newest project is filled with promise.

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