One Perfect Hole

The $64 million question

In a land of famous face-lifts, the 18th hole of the new Trump National Golf Club, 20 miles from Los Angeles, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, tops them all. The hole was scheduled to open in 1999, but a cracked sewer line caused it to collapse into the ocean, plunging the entire course (then called the Ocean Trails Golf Club) into bankruptcy. Enter Donald Trump, who paid $27 million for the links in 2002. "I said, I can fix up the old course or I can build a new one and make something great, " he explains. "It would have been a shame just to fix up the old one." He spent $64 million on the fallen hole and another $200 million on the rest of the original Pete Dye–designed layout, adding waterfalls and other extras. "The insurance company paid for much of it," Trump says. "I probably spent the least." Still, he isn't tempting fate—a chunk of the cost was for equipment that measures land movement. "If anything ever happens in Los Angeles," he says, "that's where I want to be standing." Greens fees, $200–$300. At 1 Ocean Trails Dr.; 310-265-5000;