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Trump Buys Golf Course With Quite a Handicap

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The cliff-top golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes that shrank from 18 to 15 holes three years ago when part of it slid into the sea is being sold to tycoon developer Donald Trump, a course employee said Monday.

Trump visited the Ocean Trails golf course Monday, called a staff meeting at 2 p.m. and announced the purchase of the property, said the employee, who asked not to be named.

Trump could not be reached for comment Monday.

His plans for the land with spectacular oceanfront views were not known.

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Ken Zuckerman, a co-owner of the course with his brother until Bankruptcy Court stripped them of the property in February, said he met with Trump to discuss the property last year.

Zuckerman said he was not surprised by the sale.

“I knew [Trump] was interested in Ocean Trails because he told me, so it’s not a name totally out of the blue,” he said.

Ken and Bob Zuckerman had tried to restore the full course after the landslide, but eventually ran out of money. Credit Suisse First Boston called in their loan, and Bankruptcy Court transferred ownership to the bank.

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The bank hired Douglas Wilson Co. of San Diego to manage the property.

The firm could not be reached for comment Monday night.

A chunk of land around Ocean Trails’ 18th hole plunged into the Pacific in June 1999, while the course was still under construction. Two other holes--the 9th and 12th--were closed during subsequent preparations to ready the course for play.

A portion of the par-4 10th hole lies above what has been described as a dormant landslide. Geologists said that area is similar to the piece of land that fell into the sea. But city officials and the owners said in May 2000 that all 15 holes were stable and safe for play.

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The abridged, 15-hole course opened to the public in November 2000.

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Times staff writer Jesus Sanchez contributed to this report.


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