Which Orlando golf resort is right for your group?

By Travel ArticlesDecember 21, 2012, 5:09 pm

Orlando has 110 golf courses within a 45-mile radius, and many golfers are overwhelmed by the choices. It's like arriving at some mammoth buffet where you're befuddled by all the sumptuous entrees and desserts.

If your group wants to play golf in Orlando, you may need some guidance based on your own needs and desires. Chances are, you probably fall into one or more of these group types:

Family getaway

'I want to take the entire family out on the golf course.'

Family bonding on the fairways is possible at Disney's Oak Trail, a 2,913 yard, nine-hole, par-36 walking course and the nine-hole 'Faldo' course at the Faldo Golf Institute -- part of the Marriott Grande Vista Resort -- which has a 2,308-yard, par-32 design.

Florida thaw out

'I'm snowed in up north and just want affordable, convenient golf in the sunshine with palm trees.'

If you need to thaw out and want to walk amid the palmettos and palms, tee up at Celebration Golf Club, a park-like design that weaves through a natural wetland setting (accommodations available on-site at Bohemian Hotel Celebration) and Orange Lake Resort, which has four quintessentially Florida layouts: The Legends, The Reserve, Legends Walk and Crane's Bend.

Follow the pros

'I want to stay-and-play where the pros compete and stay themselves.'

Have you got game? You'll definitely find out at these PGA Tour stops: Bay Hill Club & Lodge (Arnold Palmer Invitational in March), where the Dick Wilson/Arnold Palmer-designed Championship Course is an in-your-face challenge built along the shores of the Butler Chain of Lakes with one of the Tour's most celebrated finishing holes, a 458-yard, par-4 dogleg around a menacing lake.

Walt Disney World, home to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in November, utilizes the Magnolia Course and Palm Course during the tournament. Disney's Lake Buena Vista Course is a testy track often used for high-level amateur and junior tournaments.

Hitting for history

'I'm looking for an 'historic golf' experience. Is that possible in Orlando?'

You bet your history books there's historic golf in Orlando. The El Campeon course at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the Hills was designed and built by Scotsman C.E. Clarke in 1926. The third oldest course in Florida, El Campeon has very un-Florida-like tee-to-green elevations up to 85 feet.

Evoking a definite historic ambiance is the New Course at Grand Cypress Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design inspired by the Old Course in St. Andrews, with features such as a starter's hut overlooking the first tee, short flag pins, white fences, stone bridges, deep pot bunkers and a winding creek (burn).

Teach me, please

'I need a swing tune-up and want a resort with a good golf academy and teaching program.'

Orlando is home to some of the most celebrated golf instructors in the world. David Leadbetter, known for his 'holistic' approach and innovative teaching techniques, is headquartered at Omni ChampionsGate Resort, home to two 18-hole courses, the International Course and National Course.

At Shingle Creek Golf Club, an 18-hole Dave Harman design, the Brad Brewer Academy has the philosophy 'to help all ability levels and increase their love of the game by developing winning habits in practice and play.'

The Nick Faldo Institute has a top-notch instruction staff, a 35-acre dedicated practice facility, nine-hole course and custom club fitting.

High class, all the way

'I want luxury, sophistication and top-notch service, both on the course and in the hotel.'

If you want to luxuriate on and off the course, stay and play at these pamper palaces: Grande Lakes Orlando, a sprawling resort complex encompassing the Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels, is home to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course with a caddie program featuring caddies who wear white Augusta National-style overalls.

In the Bonnet Creek Resort area, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club adjacent to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Hotel is a Rees Jones design with high-impact features such as an elevated green encircled by continuous bunkers and innovative, exaggerated mounding.

At the Orlando World Center Marriott, Florida's largest resort and convention center, Hawk's Landing Golf Club, a Joe Lee-designed course, is an excellent resort layout situated just a few steps from the hotel's front door.

Convention center close by

'I'll be in Orlando with some co-workers at a meeting or convention and need to be close to the convention center. Where should we stay and play?'

You absolutely won't believe how close Shingle Creek Golf Club at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort is situated to the Orange County Convention Center -- it's less than a half-mile east of the OCCC. Rest assured, you can shed your nametag and briefcase and be on the course in short order.

Another option is Marriott's Grande Pines Golf Club, about a five-minute drive from the OCCC just off International Drive. Designed by Steve Smyers, with consultation from Nick Faldo, Marriott's Grande Pines is a true shotmakers layout with undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers and multi-tiered greens.

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Watch: Rory finds trouble, and more trouble, and more ...

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

Rory McIlroy was in a must-win situation against Brian Harman in order to have a chance to advance to the one-and-done portion of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

And, as you can see, McIlroy did not get off to an ideal start on Friday.

McIlroy lost the third, fifth and ninth holes at Austin Country Club. Harman led, 3 up, at the turn.

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Watch: Stefani makes hole-in-one, has no clue

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 3:18 pm

Shawn Stefani made a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th in the second round of the Corales Puntacana Resorts and Club Championship.

However, he never saw it go in.

Stefani knew he hit a great shot, and this isn't shown in the video below, but he just questioned everyone around him if they saw the ball go into the hole.

A Golf Channel cameraman finally gave him the news and Stefani responded with an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Trio lead Kia Classic; Davies shoots 82

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2018, 3:01 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Laura Davies had a nightmare round days after contending for a title at age 54, and Caroline Hedwall, Jackie Stoelting and Hee Young Park topped the Kia Classic leaderboard.

Davies shot a 10-over 82 on Thursday at rainy Aviara Golf Club - four days after tying for second behind Inbee Park in the Founders Cup, and five days after shooting a 9-under 63 in the Phoenix event.

Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies opened double bogey-bogey-par-bogey. She bogeyed Nos. 9, 10 and 12, had another double on 15 and bogeyed 16. The 82 was the World Golf Hall of Famer's highest score on tour since also shooting 82 in the 2013 Marathon Classic. On Monday, she jumped 208 spots to No. 155 in the world.

Hedwall, Stoelting and Park shot 66 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills. Ariya Jutanugarn, also coming off a second-place tie in Phoenix, was a stroke back with 2015 champion Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Nicole Broch Larsen.

Hedwall closed her bogey-free round with birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth. The Swede played her final 10 holes in 6 under. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways because of the damp conditions.

''I hit it really well and started making a couple putts in my back nine,'' Hedwall said. ''I'm really happy with how I'm playing and looking forward to the rest of the days.''

Stoelting finished with a birdie on the par-4 18th. She had seven birdies and a bogey.

''I hit a lot of fairways,'' Stoelting said. ''I don't necessarily hit if far, but keeping it in the fairway is super key this week. The rough is much thicker this year than last year.''

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Hee Young Park birdied the final three holes, finishing on No. 9.

''The greens are really soft,'' Park said. ''So, easier on the second shot.''

The 40-year-old Kerr had a bogey-free round.

''I like this golf course,'' Kerr said. ''I think it's a tough golf course and you can't fall asleep on any shot. I mean, it's just a really great course. The layout. The rough is high. You got to pay attention. I think that's maybe why I play a little better here than some other places.''

Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 31 on the front nine.

''It's rain today and a little bit windy, but my irons help me a lot,'' Jutanugarn said. ''Just start to make some putts. ... It's pretty tough for me. I always feel like the course here is really hard because the greens really bumpy, and you're not going to hit far here.''

Lydia Ko and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu topped the group at 68.

Ko also played her final nine in 31. She missed the cut last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix.

''I holed some really good putts on my back nine,'' Ko said. ''I didn't hit the ball fantastic, but just being able to hole some good birdie putts was key.''

She won the 2016 event at Aviara.

''This is a pretty tough golf course,'' Ko said. ''Putting is a huge key around this course where if you do miss a green, making those clutch par putts and then making those birdie opportunities that you get.''

Jennifer Song and Jeong Eun Lee also shot 68. Brooke Henderson had a 69, and Lexi Thompson a 70.

Inbee Park was at 71 with Singapore champion Michelle Wie and 2014 Kia winner Anna Nordqvist. Top-ranked Shanshan Feng had a 72, playing alongside Park. Defending champion Mirim Lee shot 74.

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With old clubs returned, Kim (and new clubs) starts strong at Kia

By Randall MellMarch 23, 2018, 1:53 am

Almost two months after her golf clubs went missing, the same clubs she used to win last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, In-Kyung Kim was happily reunited with them this week.

She fetched them and her golf bag two days ago at the Carlsbad, Calif., police department.

A man bought them as a used set from a sporting goods store in the area, with Kim’s LPGA I.D. still in the golf bag.

Notably, Kim celebrated with a return to the leaderboard Thursday in the first round of the Kia Classic.

Kim opened with a 5-under-par 67, though she didn’t use her newly rediscovered clubs. She stayed with the replacement set that she put together after her clubs went missing. Her Women’s British Open clubs never showed up after she got off a plane in Southern California upon her return home from the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

“It was really difficult at first,” Kim said of getting used to her new set of clubs. “I really worked hard, like worked a lot, went to the factory like a dozen times.”

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Kim said she made several visits to the factory folks, trying to get the loft and lies of her new clubs just the way she wanted, close to the configuration that helped her win the Women’s British Open.

“They were like, `I.K., are you ever happy?’” Kim said.

Actually, only five of Kim’s “lost” clubs turned up with her golf bag at that sporting goods store. Still, Kim was happy to get three wedges, two hybrids and her golf bag back.

“It’s kind of good to have a conclusion,” Kim said.

Kim can thank a “What’s in the bag?” segment with Ladies European Tour TV analyst Alison Whitaker for leading to the retrieval of her clubs. Kim explained to Whitaker how her clubs went missing during the telecast of the HSBC Women’s World Championship three weeks ago.

A golf fan in the San Diego area saw Golf Channel’s telecast of that segment.

“One of his friends bought the tour bag,” Kim said. “The other friend knew about my story, and he was like, `No, dude, that's not for selling. It's stolen.’”

Kim was delighted to meet the men who returned her clubs when she picked them up at the Carlsbad Police Department.

“Just good for me,” Kim said.