Florida Guide > Golf
Golf - an overview
Each plane that touches down at Orlando International Airport brings hundreds of visitors ready to hit the theme parks and area attractions. Many of them bring with them their golf clubs, in the hope of getting a round or two ( or indeed many more) during their stay in the area, after all, it is known as the entertainment capital of the world, and entertainment takes many forms.
The area around Orlando has so many courses for visitors to choose from – there are around 130 courses within a 45 minute drive of the International Airport. It would be impossible to mention them all here, but maybe we can wet the appetite of visitors to the area.
We all know that Walt Disney World is home to Mickey and his friends, but did you also know that it is also home to 5 championship courses where the Disney Classic is played?
Eagle Pines, designed by Pete Dye, is the newest of the courses and features challenging bunker play. The Magnolia is long, yet forgiving with it’s extra wide fairways, just don’t get caught out by the 1500 or so Magnolia trees which line the course.
The Palm, one of Disney’s originals, is not as long as Magnolia,but has many holes where water comes into play, and speaking of water, there is also the famous island at Lake Buena Vista for visitors to negotiate.
Or why not try Osprey Ridge. Cut from the forests of the region, the Tom Fazio designed course has many elevated tees and greens and is an excellent test of golf.
Orlando itself holds a PGA Tour event every year at The Bay Hill Club. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the courses are open only to those either invited by a member or those who book lodgings at the hotel. The 18th hole at Bay Hill is considered one of the toughest on the tour.
The Reunion resort also themes Arnold Palmer – together with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Each has designed a championship course, The Legacy, The Tradition and The Independence. This too is a private club and you need to be a guest of the resort to play.
Close to Reunion is the brand new development of Championsgate which is home to The David Leadbetter Golf Academy as well as two challenging courses designed by Greg Norman. The International was undoubtedly influenced by his success at The Open, a tough links course with small, slick greens it has the highest stroke rating in the State. The National is a classic Americanstyle with Southern woodlands and wetlands.
Who can forget Norman head to head with Nick Faldo at The Masters ? Well, Faldo helped design Grande Pines Orlando, one of Central Florida’s dynamic, new courses. Centrally located on International Drive, it is sure to be attractive to keen golfers.
Falcon’s Fire is conveniently located in the “ Maingate “area, and is a popular choice for visitors. It demands accuracy from the tee and features water on many holes.
Celebration has lots of admirers – tranquil yet fun, visitors are reported to come back time after time . Strategically placed hazards and challenging greens demand good approach shots and consistent putting and make for a good test. Visitors speak highly of the service, the friendliness of the staff and the condition of the course.
These are some of the names visitors often recognise, but with so many courses to choose from, surely there is something for everyone – maybe it is a Scottish Glen at Grand Cypress or sand dunes at Southern Dunesthat catch your interest?
Maybe it is the Orange County National that becomes the highlight of your stay, rated in several magazines as one of the best courses to play in Central Florida.
Everyone has their favourites and recommendations – care to share them?
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