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The National course at Championsgate
Championsgate golf complex is situated just 10 minutes from the Disney theme parks off the US27.It was designed by Greg Norman and is the home of the world famous David leadbetter Golf Academy. The complex offers two championship golf courses and extensive practice facilities including putting and chipping greens, practice bunkers and a practice range.
On the day we played I was on the practice range alongside Vijay Singh and Bernhard Langer with their sons who were playing in the annual Father and son’s challenge which is held in early December each year on the International course.
Considering the effort that had been put into the preparation of the International course which was in magnificent condition for this event, the National course was in very good shape from the first tee to the last green. Golf carts are inclusive of the green fee and have GPS as standard for knowing all distances from tee to hazard or green. There are 4 level of tee’s on each hole to suit each golfers ability.
The international has a feel of the Carolina’s about it with plenty of water and trees and is a more traditional America course than the International, it opens up with a 400 yard par 4, which is good opening test for any level of handicap if you are to secure your par, followed by a par 3 which we played from the back tee at 203 yards into a stiff breeze, the 3rd is a par 5 of only 475 yards but it doglegs left then right to pretty narrow green. The 5th is only 311 yards but accuracy off tee is more important than distance as there is swampland to the left and bunkers galore to the right and the further you go off the tee the narrower the landing area. Hole 9 offers a birdie chance at only 361 yards. The 11th is a par 3 without bunkers and at just over 160 yards seems simple but you need to hit the green off the tee. The 13th is a par 5 of nearly 600 yards and needs 3 good shots to get to the green. The 14th? Well I hope you enjoy it, I did as I managed a par, but the first time you play it is daunting, it is a par 3 of between 170-210 yards and club selection is vital as you can barely see the pin let alone the green, you are faced with swamp all the way to the green and thick trees beyond a magnificent par 3. The 15th is 361 yards but has water down the left all the way to the green and anything on the left of the green runs into the water, there is another 600 yarder for the 17th and a 410 yard closing par 4.
The clubhouse has a well stocked bar and also a good restaurant. The pro shop offers a good choice and friendly staff. The gents locker rooms have one locker set aside with a Perspex door and has Payne Stewart’s items of apparel inside as a tribute. To sum this course up, I have played the International previously and enjoyed it, but out of the two when I go back it is the National I shall be playing.
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