Planning for Orlando

As of February 15th I am off work for a month on parental leave. Luckily for me (and the little guy), my wife will also be home for the month. With no work to worry about and Ottawa still under snow we explored some options of heading somewhere warm. Friends of ours in the Toronto area happen to be in a similar situation so we joined forces and rented a house in Orlando, FL (technically in Clermont, FL) for a week in early March.

While this isn’t going to be a golf trip, I have slotted in time for two rounds while in town and I am looking forward to the rare opportunity to play during the “off season.” But with the opportunity comes some planning, especially considering I need to fit the rounds into a schedule that involves more than just me wanting to play golf. Some considerations:


What Courses to Play?

The Orlando area has a lot of golf courses, of varying price points and quality. The biggest considerations for me is distance from where we are staying (looking for somewhere within 10 – 15 min drive), price (south of $50) and quality of the course (something a little nicer than the local muni). As I have never played in the area before I am counting on courses reviews I find online to get an idea of course quality.

With the above in mind I have zeroed in on the following courses:

Highlands Reserve Golf Club

  • Under 10 minutes from where we are staying
  • $49 Green fee before 9:00am
  • 4 out of 5 star average rating on GolfNow 
Highlands Reserve Golf Club (Photo Credit: Highlands Reserve Golf Club)

Orange Lake Resort (Reserve Course)

  • Less than 15 minute drive from where we are staying
  • $45 – 50 Green Fee
  • 3.5 Star out of 5 on GolfNow
The 16th at Orange Lake Resort – The Reserve Course (Photo Credit:

To Bring my Clubs or Rent?

As a previous Air Canada Altitude member, it was never a question as I could bring my clubs at no cost. Having not traveled as much in 2015 as I did in 2014, I won’t have any status and would be subject to extra bag fees.

Originally, I figured I would just rent and looked into a golf club rental company as I figured it would be cheaper than renting from the course. I came across, which as a decent selection of Nike clubs for $39 a day. However, when I went and worked out the costs through Air Canada it looks to be $35 each way, so still a little cheaper then renting for two days. In the end I think I have decided to bring the clubs.

How to Prepare?

In all honesty I am not much of a practice guy, although I try to during the season as I know I benefit from it. During the off season I rarely pick up a club and instead really focus on other sports I enjoy such as hockey and squash. So, the prospect of an off season round leaves me a little perplexed. On one hand I want to play well, I always want to play well when I tee it up. On the other hand, its March, I haven’t swung a club since early November and I likely won’t swing one again until end of April. Best approach may be to just go and have fun and keep my expectations low.

One thing I am going to do is head over to GolfOMax a week or so before we go and get some swings in on the simulator. I figured at the very least that will give me a chance to stretch out the golf swing muscles in advance.

Anyone played either of the courses I am looking at? Any feedback on winter golf in Florida in general?

See you at the turn,





4 Comments Add yours

  1. Aaron,

    Sounds like a great trip is coming together! I have never played golf in that area so can’t give you any direct advice on that. As far as preparing, like the others have said focus on having fun and don’t sweat the score. Having said that, I have found it’s always a good idea to ease yourself back into golf with hitting some balls a couple times before heading on an off-season trip to get your body accustomed to swinging again. Nothing technical, just getting your body back into the groove and feeling that clubface on the ball again. Nothing ruins a golf trip like tweaking/injuring something the first round! Have fun.


  2. Only played Southern Dunes in Orlando area. It was pretty solid.

  3. mrj803 says:

    Two rounds in early March sounds ideal, Aaron.

    I’d have to agree with Jim on this. The focus wholly should be fun. Interestingly, this could free you up to play some great golf. Your research seems spot on – balancing a value sweet spot with the convenience of not being too far from your vacation home. I will look forward to hearing about the golf experience and congratulate you on taking some paternal time. While it sounds cliche, they really do grow up fast! Enjoy Florida and the early season golf!

    Cheers, Mike

  4. Brewcee

    Sounds like a fun trip. I would suggest that focusing on enjoying the golf in the off-season and less about the score will help make your trip a resounding success! Regardless, I am looking forward to hearing about your trip!


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