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.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”