KISSIMEE, Fla. -- In discussing the virtues of Celebration Golf Club in Kissimmee, we first need to deal with a couple of misconceptions.
No, The Celebration Golf Club isn’t a private getaway available only to the residents of the Disney master-planned community. You and I can play the rare collaboration of Robert Trent Jones Junior and Senior. It is just that its convenient location near Disney World, I-Drive and the airport with stay-and-play packages through the Celebration Hotel makes it feel private.
And no, you don’t have to play through the landmark windmill at the final hole of this gem that Golf Digest recently gave 4-1/2-Stars in its Best Places to Play edition! The club is also ranked in the top 5% in the country in overall conditioning and service standards (how about not just iced towels on warm afternoons, but scented iced towels)! The windmill only marks the beginning and end of an experience worth celebrating.
But what would you expect from one of the flagship amenities of Disney’s unique Celebration town concept. Yet the course and the town never intrude on each other’s ambiance. Opened in 1996, the front-nine plays nearer the town of Celebration than the back nine, which has grown into its extensive marshes and wetlands. While measuring just over 6,800-yards from the tips, there’s water on 17 of the 18 holes, meaning only those players with handicaps of five or under should journey back to the black tees. Many of the Orlando-area pros claim it’s the longest 6,800-yards you’ll ever play. Even the 6,300-yard gold tees have a rating of 70.6 and a slope of 129. Yet with larger-than average greens and five sets of tees, including a beginner-and-family-friendly set of tees measuring only 2,200 yards, everyone can celebrate the game at Celebration.
And how good is Celebration for tournaments? Buick is bringing back the largest amateur golf tournament in the world, its National Scramble Championships to Celebration for the second consecutive year and Robert Gamez’ Celebration Invitational charity event has become a Monday-after-Bay-Hill staple.
One magazine reader’s poll rated head professional Kenny Nairn the area’s Golf Pro of the Year. You might want to take advantage of the expertise of Kenny and the staff at the Celebration Golf Academy well before, or after, you tackle the three demanding par-4’s that finish up the front-side. If you conquer them, you’ll be tempted to try to drive the short par-4 10th. You’re liable to have deer, turkeys, or even a gator in your gallery as you play toward the great finishing hole, a true 3-shot par-5 that plays back to, but not through, the aforementioned windmill that guards the clubhouse and marks the site of the acclaimed Windmill Tavern.
The Tavern’s attention to detail goes right up to serving Barney’s coffee at breakfast and selected microbrews with lunch. The tavern can also be configured to host meetings, banquets, weddings and golf outings for groups as large as 200, utilizing the outdoor Tavern Green for a range of events from preliminary gatherings to closing ceremonies.
Celebration Golf Club was named the 2004 “Business of the Year” by the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce for its combination of community involvement, impact on economic development, co-worker satisfaction and guest service.
And if you don’t bring your clubs on that Disney family vacation, Ping’s Regional Clubfitter of the Year has the newest models of Ping and Callaways available for rent. For more on an experience to Celebrate, call them locally at (407) 566-GOLF, toll free at (888)2Play18, or visit