Biltmore Golf Course Is a Jazz-Age Beauty

The Biltmore Hotel Miami (Image: Biltmore Hotel)

Jazz Age beauty the Biltmore Hotel has hosted celebrities ranging from the Duke of Windsor to notorious gangster Al Capone. (Image: Biltmore Hotel)

Donald Ross-designed Biltmore Golf Course in Miami is looking better than ever following a major redesign aimed at landing the Jazz Age beauty a PGA Tour Champions or a PGA Tour showcase.

(Last updated January 2021.)

Few golf resorts can match the pedigree of the Biltmore Hotel in Miami.

Located in the exclusive Coral Gables neighbourhood, the 271-room, Mediterranean-style hotel is a National Historic Landmark that in the Jazz Age years following its opening in 1926 hosted celebrities ranging from the Duke of Windsor and Babe Ruth to gangster Al Capone. And from 1931 to 1937, and again from 1959 to 1962, the property’s Donald Ross-designed Biltmore Golf Course was home to an annual PGA Tour event.

Babe Ruth and Al Smith golf at Donald Ross-designed Biltmore Golf Course. (Image: Biltmore Hotel)

Babe Ruth and 1928 U.S. presidential candidate Al Smith tee off at Donald Ross-designed Biltmore Golf Course. (Image: Biltmore Hotel)

A US$30-million updating of the entire 61-hectare resort culminated in the unveiling of the remodelled Ross course in December 2018. Using Ross’s notes and course drawings as his guide, architect Brian Silva resurfaced greens with TifEagle Bermuda grass and restored them to their original size and shape. About 100 trees were removed to return the course to the uncluttered look Ross intended. And 14 bunkers seen in his drawings, but never built, were added.

“We sought to bring back Ross’s original characteristics of play,” says Silva, a student of the classic designs of Ross, A.W. Tillinghast and C.B. Macdonald. In a nod to the demands of the modern game, Silva stretched the overall length of the course from 6,772 to 7,112 yards.

Begun in 2017, the property’s rejuvenation included the redesign of the luxury hotel’s guest rooms, corridors, main lobby, fitness club and spa. The Biltmore features elegant courtyards and fountains, a culinary academy, and the largest and perhaps most famous hotel pool on the East Coast of the United States. Prior to winning five Olympic gold medals and achieving Hollywood fame as Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller worked at the Biltmore as a swimming instructor.

The Biltmore is also home to the Jim McLean Golf School. McLean, one of the game’s top instructors, transferred his school to the Biltmore in 2018 following a 26-year run at Trump National Doral.

The Biltmore is now being touted as a future host of a PGA Tour Champions or a PGA Tour event.

Donald Ross himself couldn’t have planned it better.