Classic Florida resort golf awaits at Disney

By November 9, 2010, 8:45 pm


One of the most memorable shots at Lake Buena Vista Golf Course comes on the short par-3 seventh hole to an island green.

With the Children's Miracle Network Classic returning to Disney World, we uncover the secrets that make Disney a world class golf resort.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A golf traveler's worst nightmare is showing up to a tee time only to discover the golf course is fresh off the necessary evil that is aerification.

However, tee it up at Lake Buena Vista Golf Course on an early June morning at a time where most central Florida golf courses are in a transition period, and you can barely tell.

On Walt Disney World's four golf courses, that 'nightmare' scenario never happens. Leave it to Disney to ensure golfers have a virtual guarantee the course they tee it up on will always be in good shape.

'We close each course for 11 days in the spring (for aerification),' said Gary Myers, manager of golf course operations at Disney. 'So we're always able to provide guests with a course that is in good shape.'

Because Disney has four golf courses, one or two can close at a time in order to apply seasonal maintenance, whether it's for spring or fall aerification or fall over-seeding. Golf traffic can then be directed to the other courses. Maintenance schedules are staggered, so there's always at least two Disney courses open for play.

So if you are teeing it up during the summer or fall shoulder maintenance season, don't fret when the course you want to play is closed; it's for your benefit, and another perfectly worthy Disney course is ready for play.

Lake Buena Vista: Classic resort golf

A regular design name in Florida, Joe Lee built Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. It opened a year after he built Disney's Palm Golf Course and Magnolia Golf Course in 1971, which coincided with the opening of the Magic Kingdom.

These days, the Children's Miracle Network Classic is held on the Palm and Magnolia each year, L.B.V. holds a unique designation as hosting a PGA Tour, LPGA and USGA event in its history.

While Disney's newest course, Osprey Ridge Golf Course, is encircled by nature – even the Palm and Magnolia are mostly in seclusion despite their location minutes from the Magic Kindgom – Lake Buena Vista is the most resort-feeling course at Disney by far.

You pass over roads on a few occasions and tour buses pass by between some holes on the front side, while playing through Disney's pastel Old Key West Resort on many parts of the front side. This is resort golf in the heart of the action at Disney World. It makes for a convenient play since so much is so close.

It's also the most player-friendly of the courses with a shorter championship length at less than 6,800 yards.

But you still have to hit the shots to score at Lake Buena Vista Golf Course as evidenced as early as the par-5 opening hole. A large fairway invites players off the tee, but a pond creeps in on the left near the raised green just enough to make you think about going for the green with a long iron or wood early on.

Water carries are required early and often, both off the tee and on the approach, while holes No. 6 and No. 7 each require a short iron shot to peninsula greens protected on three sides by water.

After the 10th hole, the course brings you deeper and quieter into nature, passing through forest and over canals. On the par-3 16th hole, the tee box plays alongside a canal that often has small tour boats passing by. This is your gallery moment to wow some onlookers with a smooth swing before moving onto the finishing holes.

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course at Walt Disney World: The verdict

Low-handicaps may be better suited for Disney's Osprey Ridge or Magnolia, but Lake Buena Vista Golf Course is an especially family-friendly design that can still show its teeth on the back set of tees. There are four total sets of tees playing as short as 5,300 yards.

If your group has a beginner or you just want to play nine holes, check out Oak Trail Golf Course, located at the flagship facility with Palm and Magnolia across from the Polynesian Resort.

Condition standards are as high at L.B.V. as the other Disney courses, and the TifEagle greens that were installed in 2007 still run quick and smooth, making putting a joy here. Golf carts are equipped with GPS at each Disney course, and walking is allowed.

Where to eat after golf at Lake Buena Vista

Dining options onsite are limited to a beverage cart, so for a proper 19th hole, the nearby Turf Club at Saratoga Springs Resort is a fitting option. Or just a few minutes from the golf course, you can visit the ESPN Zone at the Boardwalk Resort, home to scores of TVs and full-menu pub grub and entrees.

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:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''