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|Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a must-play for your Orlando golf vacation. (Charles Sonnenblick/eclipsesportswire.com)|
Trying to pack an Orlando golf vacation into three days is a daunting task: With all the entertainment options, you can feel overwhelmed.
The same goes for a three-day golf trip to Orlando. Resorts and theme parks may have made the city's name as a vacation mecca, but with 100-plus courses, many sporting the biggest names in design, Orlando can stand with the top U.S. golf destinations.
"World-class architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Robert Trent Jones, Dick Wilson and Joe Lee validate Orlando as a golf destination with the quality to match its eye-popping quantity," according to FloridaGolf.com.
Variety plus pedigree equals a tough call deciding where to play, not to mention where to stay and eat. Here are a few tips to get you going on a great three-day golf itinerary in Orlando.
If you're looking for accommodation, look to the sign of the Mouse. The gargantuan Walt Disney World complex has several hotels and other accommodation options for every taste and budget. The resort also boasts six golf courses, several amusement parks and restaurants and shopping at Downtown Disney.
For something more low-key, try the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. Balconies adorn many of the 1,000-plus rooms and all come with robes and high speed Internet connection. Guests get access to the Ritz-Carlton Spa.
Once you're checked in, don't waste any time unpacking. Get your golf shoes and your clubs and head to the Osprey Ridge course at Disney, one of the Orlando area's most revered tracks. This Tom Fazio design earned four and a half stars from Golf Digest. Osprey Ridge lives up to the rating, with impeccably maintained holes and large-scale bunkering.
For dinner, get away from the glitz and hype of the Disney Empire and get into some barbeque. Aficionados will be in heaven at Cecil's Texas Style Barbecue, with locations downtown and on West Lee Road at Interstate 4.
Start your day at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge. The story goes that the King fell in love with the course after thumping Jack Nicklaus in a mid-'60s exhibition here; five years later it was his.
Palmer did renovations on Dick Wilson's original design in 1989 and 1997. Today the course hosts the Arnold Palmer Invitational (formerly the Bay Hill Invitational).
After last night's barbecue feed, you'll want something a little more upscale for Saturday evening. Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, named for chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken, features Latin and Caribbean fusion cuisine.
With return to real life imminent, you want something to make you forget you're going home. You'll have to keep your mind on your game 100 percent at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.
At 7,011 yards with a 133 slope rating, Lake Nona is one of Orlando's ball-busters, consistently ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the world. The Tom Fazio-Andy Banfield layout winds through natural pine forests and oak groves and runs along three lakes.
January 2, 2007
For a comprehensive club-fitting experience, Kiel Christianson tried out the Club Champion method, which has grown to many major U.S. markets.
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