Mickey Mouse must have a lot of free time. After all, he is a semi-retired, multi-billion-dollar star of several top-grossing films and TV shows. So we got to thinking – what exactly does Mickey do with himself these days?
Word is he can often be found romancing his long-term partner Minnie at their favorite Orlando steakhouse Del Frisco’s, catching the game with Donald Duck and Goofy at Gator’s Dockside and enjoying a few refreshing brews with Baloo Bear and The Beast at The House of Beer.
But, as it turns out, Mickey’s favorite pastime is a round of golf (Goofy caddies, naturally). And no wonder! Orlando has 170 golf courses and was named “North American Golf Destination of the Year” two years ago.
Host to a high profile PGA tournament and a heavy handful of courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio, Orlando is a golfing paradise for beginners and scratch players alike.
With so much choice on offer, picking a course can be as intimidating as hitting your first tee shot in front of an impromptu gallery. Stay on par with our pick of Orlando’s top 5 golf courses.
Home to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it would be criminal not to list this PGA Championship course. The handicap to realizing your championship playing dreams? You’ll need to be a resident at the club’s 70-room lodge to get access to the course – and that won’t be cheap.
If you can’t afford Bay Hill, then Errol Estates makes a great alternative. Half an hour northeast of Apopka in northwest Orlando, its well-maintained holes are similar in design to Bay Hill yet offer even more variety.
Opened to much fanfare 12 years ago, Gregg Norman’s two 18-hole courses are located only 10 miles from Disney World. The tough layout of the International course won’t be to every player’s taste, but fans of coastal links will appreciate its deep bunkers and wind-swept look.
Located only 20 miles north of Disney in Ococee, Forest Lake enjoys the quality of a Tom Fazio design minus the glitzy fairway-lining developments. Its undulating greens are said to be worth the visit alone – happy putting.
As much as we tried, we couldn’t resist adding the four Jack Nicklaus-designed courses at Grand Cypress to this list. Sure, Nicklaus’ tribute to St. Andrews lacks a little authenticity and has more than a whiff of exclusivity, but the test of accuracy that its manicured holes demand is pretty irresistible.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Image: Cypress Hill Resort)