Get on Course

With summer over, golf in Central Florida becomes cool again. Here are five of the better tracks to play.



Reunion’s Watson is a links-style layout.

Reunion Resort, Reunion

Its three courses are reserved for resort guests and property owners, and that means no backups at the tees. The Arnold Palmer-designed Legacy and the Tom Watson-designed Independence are fun layouts to play. The Jack Nicklaus signature track not so much. The Legacy is a gentle layout, with swerves and curves and a short par 4 that tempts you to go for it, while the Independence is a tough linksland track, with mounds and bunkers everywhere you look. Reunion’s greens and fairways are superbly maintained. 407-662-1000; reunionresort.com
 



You’re in for hills and thrills at Bella Collina.
 

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando

Book a night at the lodge and you can get on Arnie’s winter home course, a PGA Tour venue. Bay Hill is one of the few local courses that still offers caddies, and you’ll need their help with reading the course’s superfast greens. Bay Hill turns 50 on Nov. 25, so get the anniversary special package—$167-$299 per person, golf included—and pay homage to the “King of Golf.” 888-422-9445; bayhill.com
 


 


You’ll putt on new greens on OCN’s Panther Lake.
 

Orange County National, Winter Garden

The famed Panther Lake course just went through a renovation, with Champion ultradwarf Bermuda now on its enlarged greens. The course combines parkland and linksland features, with changes in elevations among the highlights of the routing. OCN also just got new carts equipped with the latest GPS gizmos. $40s-$80s for Orange County residents. 407-656-2626; ocngolf.com
 


 


Bunkers abound on the Waldorf course.
 

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Renowned designer Rees Jones took what the land gave him, routing 18 tough holes through pine trees and around wetlands. The greens are sweet, but, oh, the strokes you’ll incur if your approaches miss them and land in the deep, gnarly rough or the bunkers. About the bunkers, way too many of them! Target golf, anyone? $90-$165. 407-597-3783; waldorfastoriaorlando.com/golf
 


 


You’re in for hills and thrills at Bella Collina.
 

Bella Collina, Montverde

It’s private, but you can ask for an “invitation” to play it. The Nick Faldo-designed track is loads of fun, with forced carries and blind shots adding to the challenge of playing on hilly terrain. The course, however, has erosion problems, with chunks of playing areas washed out. Lack of GPS on golf carts will cost you a few strokes the first time out. Still, for only $40-$50 to play, it’s worth the drive to Lake County. 407-469-4961; bellacollina.com/golf

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