Play Orlando's top golf courses for the pros

By Travel ArticlesJune 13, 2012, 4:00 am

Orlando has long been a magnet for professional golfers and aspiring PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Nationwide Tour and LPGA Tour players who are drawn by the superb inventory of championship-level layouts and year-round temperate climate that affords tee times every day of the year.

Enhancing the appeal is that many of Orlando's layouts are utilized for professional tournaments, U.S. Open local qualifiers and collegiate championships.

If you're a low-handicapper looking for an in-your-face challenge or a player with serious game considering a run at professional golf, Orlando has a bevy of tournament-tested courses that'll put you through a thorough skills exam.

Simply put, if you want to see where your game really stands, head to Orlando.

Orlando's PGA Tour courses

Dozens of PGA Tour pros live in the Orlando area, so they don't have to travel far for the Arnold Palmer Invitational staged at Bay Hill Club & Lodge every March.

Guests at the resort's 70-room lodge are afforded play privileges on this private course designed by Dick Wilson and Arnold Palmer, which has Arnie's imprint everywhere. The exceptionally conditioned layout has six doglegs with water in play on 10 of the 18 holes.

Nearby in Lake Buena Vista, Disney's Magnolia Golf Course hosts the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic every November. The longest of Disney's four championship courses, the Joe Lee-designed Magnolia weaves through 175 acres of dense Florida wetlands dotted with 97 bunkers and fragrant blossoming magnolia trees.

Disney's other courses include the Palm Course (Joe Lee), Osprey Ridge Course (Tom Fazio), Lake Buena Vista Course (Joe Lee) and nine-hole Oak Trail walking course.

If you have member connections, private clubs Isleworth Country Club and Lake Nona Golf & Country Club -- which alternate as sites for the Tavistock Cup -- are phenomenal Tour-quality layouts. The Tavistock Cup is a high-profile event that pits PGA Tour teams against each other every March.

Orlando's U.S. Open qualifier sites

In 2012, the USGA utilized four courses in the Orlando area for U.S. Open Local Qualifying.

In Lake Mary, a 20-minute drive north of downtown Orlando, Timacuan Golf and Country Club, which opened in 1987, has two distinctly different nines. The front nine holes offer rolling fairways, while the back nine holes snake through wetlands and Spanish moss-draped oak trees.

Southwest Orlando is home to MetroWest Golf Club, a Marriott Golf-managed layout with wide fairways that entices big hitters to grip it and rip it, and Orange Tree Golf Club, a stern test of tight-tree lined fairways, undulating greens and three spectacular finishing holes known as 'The Loop.' Lose concentration on holes 16, 17 and 18, and you can easily turn a good round into a bad one.

For Donald Ross fans, the Lakes Wales Country Club in Lake Wales, 53 miles from Orlando, which was built in 1926, is a palm-studded layout with smallish greens and signature Ross bunkering.

Orlando's mini tour venues

Moonlight Tour, the highly successful, long-time mini tour with alumni such as Keegan Bradley, D.A. Points and Tripp Isenhour has staged its tournaments on Orlando-area golf courses since 1992.

Among those on the Moonlight rotation are Black Bear Golf Club, a links-style design by P.B. Dye in the town of Eustis; Falcon's Fire Golf Club, a Rees Jones design in Kissimmee near Walt Disney World; Forest Lake Golf Club, a layout in Ocoee with rolling fairways, natural lakes, lush tree growth and no homes bordering the course; and Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club in Davenport, known for its sugar-white sand bunkers and generous landing areas.

The female pros like Orlando, too. The Suncoast Ladies Series, a mini-tour based in central Florida, attracts impressive fields to its tournaments, which are staged predominantly on Orlando area courses. LPGA Tour players who've played the Suncoast this year include Maria Hjorth, Anna Nordqvist and Amy Yang.

Tournament sites for the Suncoast Ladies Series include Marriott's Grande Pines Golf Club, a Nick Faldo/Steve Smyers design on International Drive close to the attractions; Harmony Golf Preserve, a Troon Golf-managed course designed by Johnny Miller built on a 260-acre wildlife preserve; and Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, where the highlights include elevated bunkered greens, an island green at No. 7 and scenic views of boats navigating Disney's waterways.

College-tested layouts

College golf is an important part of the fabric of golf life in Orlando.

Rio Pinar Country Club in east Orlando, which has hosted PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events, serves as the home course for the University of Central Florida's men's and women's golf teams and Rollins College men's golf team.

Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey In The Hills is home to 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships. The resort complex features the classic El Campeon Course built in 1917 and the Gary Koch-designed Las Colinas Course, which debuted in 1992.

Every October, Isleworth Country Club hosts the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, one of the most prestigious tournaments of NCAA men's Division I.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-0-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 0-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 1-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-0-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-0-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-1-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1
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Watch: Bubba hits 366-yard tee shot ... with an iron

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 6:47 pm

You know Bubba Watson is plenty long off the tee. And when you put a little wind to his back and let him hit downhill, the ball is bound to travel a great distance.

But, still, this is a 366-yard tee shot at the par-4 ninth hole at Austin C.C. ... with an iron. Yeah, it runs for a long time. But, again, 366 ... with an iron.

Watson won the hole with a par and made the turn, 2 up, in his Day 2 match against Marc Leishman at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

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Romo starts hot, stumbles to 77 in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 5:14 pm

There was plenty of good, but also plenty of bad for Tony Romo in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

But the back nine wasn't as kind for the 37-year-old, who dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. It added up to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, which left Romo ahead of only Guy Boros among the players who had finished in the morning wave.

"I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn't commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo said. "I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week."

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo was even par through 12 holes before a three-putt bogey from the fringe on No. 13. A nasty lie in the rough led to a double bogey on the par-5 14th, and Romo had to hit provisional tee shots on both Nos. 15 and 16. While he ultimately found his original ball on both holes, he left with a pair of bogeys.

"I really hit some good shots, and I'm close," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."

Romo will tee off at 1 p.m. ET Friday in the second round alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Horschel, Kisner & Perez join "Feherty," Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 22, 2018, 5:10 pm

PREVIEW: Perez details rocky collegiate golf experience at Arizona State

Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Pat Perez – each winners of multiple events on the PGA TOUR – will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

“This might be the biggest group of benign social deviants I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to,” said Feherty. “They’ve been responsible for nine career wins on TOUR collectively, but they’re each also capable of getting into some mischief.”

The episode – filmed in Naples, Fla. – will touch upon several topics, including:

  • Their respective upbringings and corresponding introductions to golf.
  • Reflections on their junior golf and collegiate playing days, and how it helped prepare them to compete as a professional.
  • Contemplating which mulligan(s) they’d take in their life if given the opportunity.

Future guests on Feherty this year include Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley and Paul Goydos, among others.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver and Golf Films.