Florida Guide > Golf
Golf at Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida
Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Walt Disney World, but if you rate every location you stop at in relation to its distance from top quality golf courses then this should be high on your list.
The Walt Disney World Resort is the largest golf resort in the world with five ‘tour’ level courses. These are the same courses the pros play during the annual PGA-tour events. The major event used to be known as the National Car Rental Golf Classic, and is now the annual PGA FUNAI Classic and features most of the PGA Tours top players. The final round is always played at Disney's Magnolia Course.
As you would expect with this standard of course you will find modern clubhouse facilities, full-service pro shops and golf instruction. The instruction from full PGA pro staff is available by appointment only.
A recent report stated that Disney is planning to spend millions on the clubhouse located at the Shades of Green Resort where the Magnolia and Palm courses are located. As well as this the Palm course has reopened after a new irrigation system was installed. However one of the biggest improvements will be starting in 2004. Beginning with the Palm, there are plans to close one of the five courses each summer in order to install new Tifeagle putting surfaces. This grass is said to be the best available for courses with climates like Florida give a smooth fast surface.
Disney requires that you have proper golf wear on the all courses, so you can't just go from the parks in your shorts and T-shirt. Spike less golf shoes are required or you may use alternatives like ‘SoftSpikes’ or tennis shoes. However should you need equipment rental, everything including shoes, are available if you are unable to bring your own and are lucky enough to get a last minute reservation.
While all this may sound like your ideal holiday it’s not something that you can normally just turn up for. The popularity of the courses means that at most times you will need to make a reservation. One of the most important things you need to know is that peak season is from January to April, because of the climate. The PGA Classic is normally held around mid October so you should remember this when planning any trips if you really want to play.
You can book up to 90-days ahead if you have a Disney Golf Package or are staying at either a WDW Resort or a resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard. Otherwise, you can call 30 days ahead to secure preferred times and locations. Call 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653). The other thing that important is that all tee times are set for foursomes. If you're party is less than four, you'll be paired with other golfers. None of this is included in the cost of park passes so here is an indication of cost for 2004.
If you don't want to play and you're lucky enough to visit Orlando during the PGA Classic, practice rounds are open to spectators at no cost. Tickets for tournament play are available on site each day for a fee, ranging from $15-25/round, depending on the round.
18-hole course greens fees including required cart vary with course and season. Here are some examples: rates range from $129 to $174 for WDW Resort/Hotel Plaza Blvd. guests; $134-$179 for day visitors. Twilight rates, available throughout the year beginning at 3 pm daily, are about $60 to $80. Tee times must be guaranteed with a credit card and must be cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the tee time to avoid payment.
Resort Guest & Day Visitor Golf Rates are per person for greens fee, use of electric cart and pre-round practice balls. Twilight Special Golf Rates are per person for greens fee and use of electric cart but pre-round practice balls are not included. Twilight Times: (Sept. 27 - Oct. 26 start @ 3:00 pm due to Daylight Savings) and (Oct. 27 - Jan 16 start @ 2:00 pm) Replay rates are 50% of applicable full rate on same day; on space-available basis and may not be reserved in advance.
Finally, remember that lessons are available from full PGA pro staff by appointment only. Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653) and, of course, there is an additional fee.
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