Waldorf Astoria Golf Club bursts onto Orlando golf scene

By Erik PetersonMarch 4, 2010, 12:00 am
waldorf astoria golf club

ORLANDO, Fla. – With close to 100 public golf courses and not one but two long-standing PGA Tour events, you could argue that Orlando already has all the golf it can handle.

But despite its high concentration of golf as well as the current state of the economy, Waldorf Astoria plunged into the golf biz last fall with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Golf Club. But with Rees Jones as course designer, it ensured it won't be just another golf resort in an already crowded market.

For more golf in Orlando, or to plan your next trip, visit OrlandoGolf.com
Carved from a rare piece of vacant wetlands in the heart of Disney, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club was 10 years in the making before it opened in conjunction with the adjoining Waldorf Astoria and Hilton hotels.

This is Jones' first course design in Orlando, but he's confident of its place in the region's golf scene.

'The course is different than any in Orlando, because it has an old, classic look,' Jones said.

The bunkers, in fact, were carved to be reminiscent of hazards designed at courses a century ago.

Jones earned the moniker, 'U.S. Open Doctor' for his reconstruction of such classic venues as Bethpage Black and Congressional Country Club. And while Waldorf Astoria Golf Club doesn't have the history to host a U.S. Open, Jones believes its inviting characteristics could attract the state's biggest amateur events.

'There's no housing,' he said, 'and the tees and greens are near each other. So if you had a state amateur here, you could easily walk it.'

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: Design overview

Contrary to most resort golf courses in Orlando that feature generous fairways and large greens, Waldorf Astoria GC is more of a shot maker's delight – particularly around the greens, which are small and elevated with run-off areas. Short-game shots require creativity and precision.

True Florida golf characteristics shine through, though, as eight holes include water hazards off the tee, and eight holes feature water into the green. But most of the water is behind the greens.

Five sets of tees ensure the course is suitable for every level of golfer.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: Key holes

Since Jones built Waldorf Astoria Golf Club as a tournament-caliber golf course, it's no surprise that the meat of the round begins on the back nine and continues until the end.

The 624-yard 12th is the longest hole by 60 yards. Adding insult to injury, it plays into the prevailing southerly wind.

Taking golfers from one extreme to the other, No. 13 is an enticing 322 yards from the tips, the shortest par 4 of the day. But before you quickly pull driver, notice the imposing lake that hugs the entire left side of this dogleg left. It's a classic risk-reward opportunity.

The 14th and 15th holes take you through the most exposed part of the golf course. With water and bunkers in play off the tee and into the green, just try to hang on if the wind is blowing.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club's 17th is a whopping 482 yards from the tips, the longest par 4 on the course.

The home hole is a reachable par 5, but the green falls off on three sides into water.

If you can play Nos. 12 through 18 without getting into too much trouble, you'll probably beat your partner, whether it's a friendly game or the Florida Amateur.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: The verdict

Because of Orlando's coffee-table-like topography, golf courses can't survive on aesthetics alone. Elements of style and service are imperative. As you'd expect from a luxurious hospitality company, Waldorf Astoria pulls out all the stops in this regard, with such items as valet parking, a modern clubhouse and towels dampened at one end for easy club cleaning during your golf round.

The golf course feels like a modern, private club that's well maintained. Though it's smack dab in the middle of Disney, you wouldn't know.

For the high-end, traveling golfer who's not exactly giddy about a return trip to see Mickey, a stay-and-play at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando will bring that elusive sense of calm to your family vacation. So relax and enjoy the trip. Just remember to keep the wheels greased for that tough stretch on the back nine.
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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.