We love central Florida for its Disney World theme parks and kids attractions, but sometimes adults need their playground, too. Here are some of the best luxury golf resorts in Orlando.
Yes, there are places to escape Orlando's ankle-biters and theme-park screams.
And some of the best spots to escape the Orlando madness is at a golf resort.
Rest assured, finding upscale golf doesn't require signing papers for a multi-million dollar villa in PGA Tour player hotbed Windemere. High-end golf courses for the vacationer exist here, too.
Just about every Orlando hotel caters to families, though some resorts spend a little more T.L.C. on mom and dad's tastes.
So if you're willing to pay a premium for quiet, luxury accommodations and, of course, the best golf, Orlando has a handful of upscale options as good as anywhere in Florida.
Any resort good enough for Arnold Palmer is good enough for any of us.
The intimate confines of Bay Hill Club & Lodge is Arnie's home and also hosts the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational, which yields yearly 18th hole fist pumps from Tiger Woods and co. Amenities and conditions are top shelf, but the finishing three holes are considered one of the PGA Tour's most difficult stetches.
It's also a timeless test; little has changed on the course in 40 years, lending itself to shot making and not brawn.
The golf club is private but opens its doors to those guests who stay in the 64-room lodge on site.
Orlando's newest golf resort opened in the fall of 2009 with the intentions of becoming the area's most luxurious yet.
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, is set on nearly 500 acres of natural Bonnet Creek property, surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World property but with no real estate development surrounding the golf course, the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, something few Orlando-area courses can boast.
The golf course was designed by "Open Doctor" Rees Jones and is challenging enough at more than 7,100 yards to warrant consideration for future state amateur tournaments, though four other sets of tees will let guests pick their level of pain.
Conditions are king at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes, a Greg Norman-designed course that prides itself on fast, tight and firm playing conditions year round.
A Certified Audubon Sanctuary Course, the course is a scenic area play, winding through natural wetlands, live oaks and cypress heads.
After golf, the hotel features 584 guest rooms, a 40,000-square-foot spa and 11 dining options on property among a range of other resort activities.
Just southwest of Orlando, the Reunion Resort boasts three 18-hole designs from three different golf legends - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson - all kept in championship-ready condition. The golf options also include the ANNIKA Academy.
Accommodations here boast plenty of peace and space, with one-, two- and three-bedroom villas lining the fairways, many of which feature private pools and balconies.
It's easier than you think to do Walt Disney World on the upscale. The golf courses, all recently renovated with new TifEagle greens, run fast and pure, especially during the winter and spring months.
While the PGA Tour is hosted at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort's Magnolia course and Palm course, the most luxurious golf experience of the four courses is Osprey Ridge, a Tom Fazio design that, while in the middle of the resort, feels far removed, thanks to imaginative shaping.
For accommodations, the Grand Floridian is typically the luxury resort that has the lowest ratio of kids on property creating havoc, or stay in the Key West Resort or the new Animal Kingdom Villas.
The Villas of Grand Cypress are AAA Four-Diamond, spacious accommodations with private terraces and scenic golf and waterway views.
February 9, 2010