When golf is not enough Off-the-course Orlando

By Erik PetersonDecember 8, 2010, 12:16 am
orlando off golf course

ORLANDO, Fla. – If there ever was a destination where golf is not enough, it’s Orlando. Between rounds at such PGA Tour staples as Bay Hill Club or Disney’s Magnolia, golfers can be entertained by everything from rollercoasters to spaceships. Here's a rundown of the best off-the-course activities.

Theme parks
Despite nearly 100 golf courses in Orlando, there’s no mistaking the elephant in the room: theme parks. With Disney, Universal and Sea World the area has plenty of variety, so whether your Orlando golf vacation is shared with family or friends, you’ll find a theme park that fits.

For golfers traveling with family, Disney’s Magic Kingdom is a sure bet. It doesn’t have the best rides in Orlando, but if you’re traveling with adolescent children let’s face it – Magic Kingdom is their Augusta National.

Beyond Magic Kingdom Disney has Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, all of which have enough rides and attractions to keep you engaged for an entire day. If you’re trying to pack multiple Disney parks into one day, consider the park-hopper pass which allows you the freedom to enjoy all of the Disney parks.

Sea World is another great spot for kids, with its mix of educational and entertaining exhibits. The stingray-themed Manta is arguably the best rollercoaster in town, and the Aquatica water park makes for a well-rounded Sea World experience.

While Sea World has the best single coaster, Universal has the best overall collection. The Incredible Hulk, Dragon Challenge and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit rollercoasters are all as thrilling as they are unique.

Though it doesn’t have much in the way of rides, Disney’s EPCOT is a fun off-the-course activity, particularly World Showcase, a giant area divided into 11 countries, each featuring restaurants and exhibits from that nation.

Universal City Walk is similar to EPCOT in that it’s another fun place to wander around. It offers bars and restaurants galore, including NBA City Café, Margaritaville and Pat O’Brien’s. Music fans will appreciate Hard Rock Café, which in addition to being a good restaurant, hosts dozens of top concerts throughout the year.

Disney’s version of Universal City Walk is Downtown Disney, a boardwalk full of restaurants, shops – even a five story arcade. There’s also a Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues.

Sports
When it comes to sports passion Orlando is a far cry from Boston or Chicago, but among major golf destinations, The City Beautiful definitely holds its own.

If you’re an NBA fan visiting between October and June you should check the Orlando Magic schedule to see if the team is in town. Not only are Dwight Howard and the Magic one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, but the team plays in the brand new Amway Center, which has all the bells and whistles of a new sports arena – including a bar that overlooks the court.

The arena is on Interstate-4 in downtown Orlando. Tickets are fairly easy to come by, whether through Ticketmaster, StubHub or good ol’ fashioned ticket scalpers.

Sports fans looking for something closer to Disney should consider ESPN Wide World of Sports, a massive sports complex that hosts more than 200 events each year. The Atlanta Braves host spring training here, and the college basketball Old Spice Invitational takes place each Thanksgiving. Check ahead though, because unless there’s an event going on there’s not much to do.

If you have a passion for college sports check out University of Central Florida football and basketball. Despite having the nation’s highest undergrad enrollment in the 2009-10 academic year, it’s known as a commuter school so tickets to either sport are easy to find. And what’s more? Both teams have been impressive of late, with football winning the 2010 C-USA Championship and basketball fresh off a 6-0 start to their season, including a win over No. 16 Florida.

Sightseeing
Though Orlando isn’t winning any awards for its natural beauty, there are still a few fun sightseeing activities you won’t find in most places.

One activity you won’t find at most other golf destinations is a helicopter tour. There are a few different companies, an inventory of which can be found with a simple Google search. Flying into the Orlando International Airport gives you a glimpse of the countless lakes dotting the Florida landscape, but getting a birds-eye-view of downtown Orlando, EPCOT, Universal and more is a unique experience.

If helicopters aren’t your thing, there’s also a helium balloon company in Celebration, Fla. that charters flights on a daily basis.
 
On the subject of flying, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Kennedy Space Center – even though it’s about an hour east of town. The Visitor’s Center is geared mainly toward kids, but if your travel schedule coincides with a shuttle launch it turns into a must-see no matter how old you are.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: