Orlando may be known for its gigantic theme parks, but there's certainly more to this Central Florida city than just Walt Disney World and Universal. The city lives up to the Floridian tradition as a prime golf destination, with more than a dozen world-class golf courses right within its city limits. So, when you plan your next getaway, you can consider an Orlando golf vacation. You can play while your kids get immersed in theme park magic, or you can take them to one of these top Orlando golf courses and spend quality time with them hitting the greens.
Magical Orlando golf at Walt Disney World
The House of Mouse has 4 distinct entries to this list of top Orlando golf courses: Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, and Oak Trail. As its name suggests, the 6,870-yard Palm Course evokes Florida's tropical vibe with its palm trees, clear lakes, and sandy hazards. The 7,516-yard Magnolia Course is all Southern charm with its magnolia-lined fairways, but do take note of the water traps when you try to sink your ball in the green. The 6,745-yard Lake Buena Vista Course is notorious for its 7th-hole island green, where you may be tempted to throw a tantrum of Donald Duck proportions if you miss your landing. If you're playing with the kids, Oak Trail may be ideal. This 2,913-yard course has only 9 holes with rolling, oak-lined fairways. Their layouts are designed specifically for junior golfers.
Shingle Creek: Orlando golf respite in busy tourist hub
Shingle Creek Golf Club offers a respite from the crowds and the noise of Orlando's International Drive, which serves as the city's main tourist hub. At Shingle Creek's 18-hole, 7,213-yard championship course, you can feel as far removed as you can possibly get from the throng without actually leaving the I-Drive neighbourhood. Plus, you get to enjoy sloping greens and fairways surrounded by cypress trees, with layouts designed by Arnold Palmer. At certain holes, you can also get a glimpse of Shingle Creek, this Orlando golf destination's namesake waterway and the northern headwaters of the Everglades. After your game, you may feel fortified enough to brave the I-Drive crowds once again and explore Orlando attractions in the area, such as SeaWorld, Madam Tussauds, and the ICON Orlando Ferris wheel. Or you can chill out at the private pool of your vacation rental.
Legacy Orlando golf at Celebration Golf Club
Celebration Golf Club takes pride in the fact that it's one of the few existing golf courses bearing the combined designs of father-and-son tandem Robert Trent Jones, Senior and Junior. The team-up resulted in a natural, park-like, 7,028-yard course with gently rising hills surrounded by an abundance of cypress trees. However, while all that green may look refreshing to the eyes, they can hide cleverly placed water traps that can bog down your game. If you feel the need to practice your swing before your tee time, you can head to the driving range first. But the driving range in this Orlando golf course can be an interesting game in itself, as you're required to hit the greens on floating islands in a lake. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the expertise of a golf pro from Celebration's Golf Academy to give you pointers on how to improve your swing and targeting.
Stay-and-play Orlando golf at Reunion Resort
Who needs to brave the crowds at Disney World or tramp about the I-Drive if you can stay put at Reunion Resort, playing golf all day and taking it easy at night? If golf is all you want to do on your vacation, this Orlando golf resort has 3 18-hole championship courses for you to choose from: Nicklaus, Palmer, and Watson. The Jack Nicklaus Course has a smooth, park-like layout with elevated greens. It's considered to be one of the toughest Orlando golf courses because it invites you to choose between taking big yet risky shots or plan your game more carefully with shorter drives. The Arnold Palmer Course can get you sweating with its sudden changes in elevation, while the wide fairways and strategic sand bunkers of the Tom Watson course can challenge your skill in the short game. After your round, you can head back to your vacation home rental to relax at your private pool or watch a movie in your state-of-the-art home theatre.