Perhaps better known as the home of one of the world’s most celebrated tourist resorts, Walt Disney World, Orlando is also a popular golf destination.
Located right in the heart of Florida, ‘The City Beautiful’ and its outlying area is home to well in excess of 170 different courses and more than 20 golf academies.
As a former ‘North American Golf Destination of the Year’ and with courses designed by the likes of Nicklaus, Dye, Fazio and more, it’s clear that Orlando is no Mickey Mouse golf destination.
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge on Bay Hill Boulevard rightly attracts much of the plaudits and attention of golfers visiting the city. The host venue for the Bay Hill Invitational - one of the PGA Tour’s most popular events - it is a superb course and it is not uncommon to see the man himself, Palmer, enjoying a bite of lunch in the clubhouse.
Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is also well known to most golfers as the ‘home’ club of many of the game’s top players, including Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and so on.
Dramatically named clubs, like Mystic Dunes and Falcon’s Fire, are also well worth a look, whilst Shingle Creek (top image), Champions Gate and the Grand Cypress Resort (above) will also surely appeal.
One ‘hidden gem’ of a course, however, is Celebration. Opened in 1996, it is just a matter of minutes from Disneyworld and sits within the quirky community of Celebration (below), developed by the Walt Disney Company.
Eschewing the finest in 1940s American architecture, with each house individually painted from a palette of colours provided by Disney, it is a perfect little place, with a golf course that is a real treat to play.
Dubsdread also comes highly recommended, as does Hunter’s Creek and Harmony Golf Preserve, the latter having been designed by two-time major champion Johnny Miller.
All this is just for starters, too, proving that the thrills in Orlando are not just restricted to the theme parks. Pay it a visit for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.