Michael Patrick Shiels and travel writer Larry Olmsted after a round on Doral's famed Blue Monster course.

Flip on the television in your guestroom at the Marriott Doral Resort and Spa, in Miami, and you will find a channel showing nothing but exciting highlights of five decades of PGA Tour golf events staged on the 650-acre property. Take your eyes away from the TV to look out your sliding glass door and you’ll see, only steps away, the precise spot on the Blue Monster course’s 18th green where the likes of Tour stars Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Ernie Els and others tapped in for tournament wins. Of course you’ll be tempted to try it for yourself, and you can, because at Doral you’re in the action from the moment you arrive.

The iconic surroundings – the hotel, the windows of the circular restaurant behind the green and the fountain – are instantly recognizable after years of seeing them on television. But it’s your turn, now, and when you grab your putter and head to the practice green adjacent to the first tee, you are surrounded by palm trees and flags of many nations, reminding you that you are at a tropical, world destination. Southeast Florida has always exuded multicultural intrigue, and Doral, only a few miles from Miami International Airport, does, too. You’re likely to hear bikini-clad sun seekers having conversations in several languages around the elegant swimming pool adjacent to Doral’s stand-alone European-style spa and Pritikin Longevity Wellness Center. If your preferred style of wellness is a mojito and live Latin jazz music, celebrate your day in the Bossa Nova Lounge. You’ll know you’re not alone in your tastes if you choose the Champions Grill because photos of celebrities making merry at Doral adorn the walls. Don’t be surprised if you spot an actual celebrity during your stay, either.

Can you play golf like a star, though?

The internationally famous feel of Doral permeates the property while superstar golfers populate it

Famed instructor Jim McLean, who has worked with over 100 big name pros and taught actors like Bill Murray, has his flagship golf school at Doral. Individualized, half-day coaching sessions quickly compare your swing to that of a tour pro and allow you to learn and play on one of Doral’s five courses the same day. Can McLean’s instructors really teach you something useful in two or three days? “Oh sure,” said McLean, who, himself, played in the Masters and U.S. Open. “When you come down and put away your cell phone and immerse yourself in a playing lesson with a professional, you gain an understanding of your swing and absolutely get better at the golf school.”

The PGA Tour will enjoy Doral again March 8-11 for the $8.5-million WGC Cadillac Championship.

For more information, visit or call (800) 713-6725.


Michigan-based travel writer Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at or via


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