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A Sampling of Orlando Golf
By Mike Duff

For the discerning golfer, finding a golf course for your next trip to Florida could be formidable task. If you use any of the travel guides you will quickly learn that Florida is divided into eight regions. Each region has a significant number of golf destinations to choose from. On a recent February trip to the sunshine state, four of us from the Michigan Golfer Magazine chose the Central region to tee it up. The Central region of Florida is home to one of the top tourist attractions in the world ĺ─ý Orlando. When you think of Florida golf, Orlando does not jump out at you. Most people think of magical mice, far-a-way mystical kingdoms, mammoth sea creatures and glitzy movie stars when they think of Orlando. However, you will be surprised at the amount and quality of golf courses in the Orlando area to choose from.

Our objective was to play four different courses in a four-day period within 20 miles of the Orlando area. Becki Schneider of Jameson Golf helped arrange our venues. We began our golf journey at the Joe Lee designed International Golf Club in the heart of Orlando. Our second day took us to the International Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. masterpiece located near Universal Studio. On the third day we visited Falcon's Fire Golf Club in Kissimmee, a Rees Jones design and we conclude our golf experience with the newly opened Orange County National that offers two magnificent courses, Crooked Cat and Panther Lake. Both of these beautiful courses were designed by Phil Ritson, Dave Harmon and Isao Aoki. All four of these courses had special qualities that made our golf experience one to remember.

International Golf Club, (800-371-1165, http://www.internationalgolfclub.com/).
Three tee boxes ranging from 6776 to 5077 yards with a slope rating of 134 and complete driving range facilities. Bermuda grass tees, fairways and greens. Traditional layout carved out of the natural terrain. Five water holes and seventy five bunkers. Close to the Orange County Convention Center and all major hotels and attractions. This a fair challenge to the average or above average golfer. Nothing tricky about this course but a fair layout using the landĺ─˘s natural vegetation to enhance a day on the links. Prices range from $70 off season to $105 in season.

MetroWest Country Club, (407-299-1099, http://www.metrowestorlando.com).
Four tee boxes ranging from 7051 to 5978 yards with a slope rating of 126 and complete driving range facilities. A Senior PGA qualifying course. National Golf Foundationĺ─˘s Achievement Award 4 years straight. Many consider it to be one Central Floridaĺ─˘s top five courses. Noted for their outstanding greens. A demanding course from the tips. Expansive bunkers, a trade mark of Jones. Strategic water locations. Elevations of 100 feet or more which make this a must play course while in the Orlando area. Prices range from $79 off season to $115 in season.

Falcon's Fire Golf Club, (877-878-3473, http://www.falconsfire.com/).
Four tee boxes ranging from 6901 to 5417 yards with a slope rating of 125 and complete driving range facilities. A spectacular clubhouse. It is well managed and maintained. Premiere golf tournament facility. Voted 4 stars by Golf Digestĺ─˘s ĺ─˙must playĺ─¨ courses. The amenities abound. First class service in every respect with complimentary valet parking and club cleaning. A real country club feeling. A links style course with extensive perimeter mounding and water coming into play on nine of the 18 holes. A challenging yet fair course for the average to above average golfer. Shot selection is important to making a low score. A great golf experience.

Orange County National, (407-656-2626, http://www.ocngolf.com/).
Four tee box selections ranging from 7278 to 5262 yards with a slope rating of 140 and complete driving range facilities. Both the Crooked Cat and Panther Lake tracks are outstanding golf courses. We only played Crooked Cat but drove Panther Lake. The clubhouse is beautiful and the service is outstanding. One of Golf Digestĺ─˘s ĺ─˙must playĺ─¨ courses. Distinct links style design with wide terraced fairways and native redtop heather grass. Features open, flowing fairways with few trees. Large sloping greens with 50 foot elevation changes.

The Panther Lake course offers 18 signature holes through natural oak hammocks, pine forests, scenic wetlands and freshwater lakes. A challenging 7295 yards from the tips. Two spectacular golf courses that offer some of the best golf in the Orlando area. Prices range from $90 off season to $125 in season.


May 2002 Issue Table of Content
HomePage | Courses & Resorts | Course Reviews | Golf Architects | Golf Business | Destinations
Golf Travel | Lodging | Golf Guides | Michigan Golf History | Tournaments | Michigan Golf Real Estate
Golf Academies & Schools | Warm Weather & Out of State Golf | Calendar of Events

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