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To a Tee

A look at what’s new and notable at some of Central Florida’s foremost golf clubs.

Golfers from near and far flock to Central Florida for the chance to play some of the country’s top courses, each with their own unique beauty and set of challenges. Orlando Family Magazine reached out to the very best to find out what exciting changes are taking place from the course to the clubhouse as well as to learn about their special offerings for 2019.

PUBLIC
Celebration Golf Club
What’s New: The Windmill Restaurant has been updated with new flooring, window treatments, chairs and coverings for the outdoor patio and the tables will be replaced this month.
For the Kids: In addition to the club’s popular after-school junior golf academy, Celebration also offers summer camps with information for this year being made available later this month.

Falcon’s Fire Golf Club
What’s New: The club’s restaurant, Falcon’s Nest, has a new menu complete with specialty hot dogs like the Alligator Dog along with several entrée salads and signature hot and cold sandwiches and wraps.

Metrowest Golf Club
Special Rates: As part of the Hampton Golf managed facilities, guests at MetroWest can take advantage of a special reciprocal program that will allow them to play sister courses across the state and as far as Duluth, Minnesota and Elizabethton, Tennessee for either $49 or $29, depending on level of membership chosen.

Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge
What’s New: After being walking only for the past few years, carts will now be allowed on the Tooth 9-hole course this year. By June, a new cart fleet with upgraded seats will arrive and the club has also revamped their Pace of Play policy to better suit guests.
Food and Drink: Every Friday night, the Orange 83 Pub and Grill serves up several specialty hamburgers like the doughnut burger—a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts—along with a side, drink and dessert for $9.95.

Orange Lake Golf
What’s New: All the lights on the lighted 9-hole, par 3 course have been replaced. Jimmy Bilsky III was brought on in January as the new general manager.

RESORTS
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge
What’s New: The biggest recent changes at Bay Hill include the addition of a new two-acre short game practice facility as well as the complete renovation of the driving range. There have also been a number of leadership changes, most notably the appointment of Jon Podany as CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises and president of the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Charitable Foundation; Don Emery as the new president and general manager of Bay Hill Club; Mary Hornbeck is the new food and beverage director and Kristin Raymond has been named the director of human resources. Finally, Bay Window, the club’s dining location, now features a new menu as does the Splash Casual Poolside dining location (formerly the Terrace Café).
Special Rates: For a limited time, Young Executive memberships are available to individuals and their spouses, provided both are under age 40. The membership offers the same privileges as a Resident Golf membership and a down payment of $10,000 is due at joining with the balance of $5,500 due at age 40.

Bella Collina
What’s New: The club has recently added a practice facility complete with a short game area as well as specialty shot locations, which showcase on-course conditions and strategy scenarios. Lighting has been added to the tennis courts and the 19th Hole and Cucina restaurants have a new menu.
Special Rates: In addition to golf and sports membership offerings, Bella Collina is now also offering a special individual tennis membership for $150 per month. The membership includes dining privileges along with access to the full-service spa and salon and various member events.

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
What’s New: The Joe Lee-designed course recently reopened after completing a $300,000 renovation of all the bunkers and adding a Mickey-shaped sand trap on No. 9.
Special Rates: Members of the Disney Vacation Club and theme park annual passholders are afforded special discounts with greens fees running as low as $55 on summer weekends.

Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course
Special Rates: As a member of the Player’s Club, you can experience many ways to enjoy golf here and at Disney’s sister courses. For $29 a month, you can get access to all the practice ranges with unlimited balls; attend daily clinics hosted by golf director of instruction Michael Schlager; obtain a seasonal membership with one, three, six or nine month options; discounts on food and merchandise and much more.
Unique Offerings: While refreshment carts are certainly not exclusive to the club, the Disney-themed carts here certainly are and make for a solid photo opportunity.

Disney’s Palm Golf Course
Special Rates: For those looking to play multiple rounds at neighboring Disney courses within 10 days, the resort offers a special discount with its Golf Around the World Pass. Pick up a card in any of the Disney Golf pro shops and after your initial round of golf, each subsequent round will be discounted up to 50 percent off once you reach five rounds or more.

Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando
What’s New: The club has debuted a new $2.5 million, 16-acre practice facility with an 18-hole putting course and a double-ended range as some of the highlights. Plancha, the clubhouse restaurant, has launched “Sundays at Plancha,” featuring a la carte breakfast and lunch options along with bottomless mimosas and bloody marys.
Food and Drink: Members enjoy a 15 percent discount at the resort’s six restaurants, including signature steakhouse Capa.

Grand Cypress Golf Club
What’s New: The club recently introduced two new events, the Member Club Championship and Member Guest Tournament. Robert Goia is the new executive chef and has created a new breakfast, lunch and dinner menu for the clubhouse with a highlight being the grass-fed burger topped with barbecue pork belly.
Unique Offerings: Villas of Grand Cypress now offers guided fishing tours with golf team member Mike Byers where members and guests can explore the many lakes amongst the greens and learn about what they are reeling in.

Mystic Dunes Golf Club
What’s New: Mystic Dunes is now run by ClubCorp, the largest owner and operator of private golf and country clubs in the U.S. The club has been spending lots of money and energy trying to improve the course conditions.
Food and Drink: Sustainability is a big deal at Kenzie’s restaurant and bar, as the club works with local organic farms within 100 miles to source ingredients for the kitchen.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes
What’s New: Kevin Kremer is the club’s new director of golf operations. Additionally, Fairways Pub has been redesigned with a new bar with 24 more seats. The dining area has also been renovated and increased its outdoor seating by 18. There’s also a new breakfast menu being offered on the weekends from 6:30 until 10 a.m.

Reunion Resort
What’s New: The stunning 12,000-square-foot Nicklaus Clubhouse overlooks its namesake course with panoramic views of the 18th hole from the outdoor terrace. Inside, you’ll find the very polished Traditions bar, a fitness center, locker rooms and more.
For the Kids: Reunion will be offering junior tennis camps the second and third weeks of June and July from noon to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday for kids ages 4 to 17. Pricing is $60 per day and children are grouped according to their age and abilities.

Shingle Creek Golf Club
Special Rates: Shingle Creek offers a special monthly golfing academy membership, which includes one hour of private instruction, unlimited range balls, access to the golf academy player development studio, reduced cart fees at twilight and complimentary play on select Wednesday afternoons.

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s April 2019 issue.

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