Just when I thought I knew everything about the EPCOT resort area, I take a right turn and find an area I never knew existed. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven by the Bonnet Creek Resort Lane sign on the way to Downtown Disney and never realized there are not only a few hotels back there, but an incredible golf course, the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club Orlando.
I honestly can’t believe this isn’t a Disney Course as it is so well maintained and one of the closest courses to my DVC home the Boardwalk. This Rees Jones designed course will certainly test your golf skills. The course winds through a large wetland preserve which of course brings water into play! The course is surrounded by large pine and cypress trees enhancing the beauty of this course. At one point you can see Pop Century just beyond the trees reminding you how close you are to Disney property.
When we arrived we were greeted at the bag drop with a warm welcome. After a complementary cup of coffee and checking in, we were directed to the large practice area. The practice balls were stacked nicely and deserved far better than my swing! The true test of a practice area for me is the putting green. I want to judge the speed of the putts and have it match the speed on the course. Although my putting needed some help, the practice green matched the playing greens perfectly.
The Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is a public course with the private course feel. The course offers a 5-tee system which gives every level of golfer the experience they are looking for. The greens are inviting, but certainly challenging. With all the rain that Florida had that week, I had to go “retro” and pull out the Bridgestone E-6 orange balls to help me find them in the long rough. I was playing better (although still not good golf) than the last time I played, so I kept the Bridgestones out of the water this round! I did seem to find some very well placed bunkers just off the fairway and surrounding the greens.
If you are looking for a great golf experience, I would recommend the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club of Orlando. The only drawback was the price of the drinks on the golf course. $24 for a round of beers was a little outside our price range. You may want to save your money and enjoy the “19th hole” called The Clubhouse Grille. If you want more information on the course or the hotel, check them out on-line at www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/golf.