For the first time, the Bruce family headed south this winter, spending an enjoyable week in central Florida, in and around Orlando. While we didn’t head south to golf, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for a few off season rounds.
As shared in an earlier blog my parameters for golf on this particular family vacation were a combination of price, distance from accommodations and quality of course. In all honesty, price and distance were the main factors, but I wanted to avoid any real duds.
On our first full day in Florida I got an early started with a 7:00am tee time at Orange Lake Resort. Orange Lake opened in 1982, but golf wasn’t added until 1998. It is a pretty interesting facility, featuring two 18 hole courses, two 9 hole par 3 courses (one that is lit for night play) and multiple driving ranges on the property. The community is so big that the two 18 hole courses have their own clubhouses on opposite sides of the resort. The resort seems to be a combination of owned properties and short term rentals managed by Holiday Inn Club Vacations.
My round was played a the Reserve Course, which was the “lesser” of the two 18 holes courses. The Legends course was designed by Arnold Palmer and comes with the price tag of a course designed by Arnold Palmer.
The Reserve course is the newest course on the property having opened in 2005. Designed by Michael Dasher, the Reserve plays between 5119 and 6505 yards. The par 71 course has a rating of 71.8 from the back tees and a slope of 137.
Orange Lake Golf
8505 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747
Orange Lake Resort is located right on the 192, just off the I4. Its a pretty busy area, so the resort was easy to find. Once inside the gates, the community seems pretty secluded even though you have two highways just outside.
Seeing as it was my first round since November, I tackled The Reserve from the Whites, playing 6031 yards (69.4/128). My initial impressions of the course was that it was very flat, with lots of water and big greens.
Being within a housing development it would be hard to qualify the course as scenic, but it did have it moments and had an abundant amount of wildlife on the course, from alligators to cranes.
The course wasn’t very long, even from the back tees there were only two par fours over 400 yards, but the location of ponds and streams always made you think, both off the tee and on your approach shots. There were quite a fair number of fairway bunkers, but most didn’t come into play for me from the whites. I hit a lot of wedges into greens.
While the greens had some undulation to them, they weren’t overly intimidating. The bunkering and mounding around greens was fairly minimal as well.
The course conditions were ok. I suspect it was their normal winter conditions, the fairways were a little thin in places and the rough was dormant brown. The greens were green, in decent shape and rolled pretty true, so that was good.
The most memorable hole on the course was the par 3 5th, a longer (171) par 3 over water, with water left and long as well.
I didn’t actually make it to the practice area. I arrived well before my tee time, just before sunrise, but once checked in they had my paired with a group and on the tee, which was ok as I would rather play with them than behind them.
Based on what I read though the facility features two driving ranges (one lit for night practice) as well as practice greens and short game areas. The resort is also home to the McCord Golf Academy.
Bits and Bites
- Biggest disappointment of experience was that they didn’t have any logo golf balls, which I usual collect when I play a new course. They did however have a simple yardage book free of charge (they called it a players card), which was great since I managed to leave my range finder in my suitcase at the hotel.
- I played well, considering it was my first round in a couple of months. I couple of birdies and no blow ups had me at 78.
- For $50 with cart it was pretty good value.
See you at the turn,