PLAY + STAY ORIENTATION
Fly into the Orlando International Airport, a thirty-minute drive from the Walt Disney World Resort. Rent a car or use free Disney transportation both to and from the airport as well as within the resort. Avoid Christmas and Easter, which always promise to be busy, but otherwise visiting between November and March will find fewer crowds on the courses and moderate playing weather (temperatures generally range between the low fifties and mid seventies, with occasional rain).
All of Disney's golf courses are within a fifteen-minute drive of each other. All offer instruction and require the use of an electric cart (except Oak Trail), which is included in the green fee. For tee times and information, call 407-939-4653. All listed green fees for Disney courses are valid through January 10, 2002. Below, the best ways to have a Disney day.
MAGNOLIA, 1950 West Magnolia Palm Drive. The longest of the courses, it's named for the 1,500 magnolia trees on the property. The cohost, with the Palm, of the National Car Rental Golf Classic, Magnolia is heavily bunkered (ninety-seven) and watered (on eleven holes). Par/Yardage: 72/7,190. Slope: 136. Green Fees: $120 public; $115 resort guest. Architect: Joe Lee, 1971. T&L Golf Rating: ****1/2
PALM, 1950 West Magnolia Palm Drive. Carved out of dense woods, it's famous for water hazards, which turn up on nine holes. Number eighteen has been among the top ten toughest holes on the PGA Tour at least three times since 1986. Par/Yardage: 72/6,957. Slope: 138. Green Fees: $110 public; $105 resort guest. Architect: Joe Lee, 1971. T&L Golf Rating: ****
CELEBRATION GOLF CLUB, 701 Golf Park Drive, Celebration; 888-275-2918. Although located on Disney property, this rolling course is not part of Disney's ninety-nine holes of golf. Designed with an "old Florida" course in mind, Celebration features long grasses, lots of densely wooded areas, various water hazards and abundant bird life. Par/Yardage: 72/6,772. Slope: 135. Green Fees: $75$125. Architects: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr., 1996. T&L Golf Rating: ***1/2
EAGLE PINES, 3451 Golf View Drive, Bonnet Creek Golf Club. This low-lying course is packed with variety: sixteen holes with water, strategically placed bunkers (some two hundred yards long) and a variety of hole designs. Par/Yardage: 72/6,772. Slope: 135. Green Fees: $130 public; $125 resort guest. Architect: Pete Dye, 1992. T&L Golf Rating: ***1/2
OSPREY RIDGE, 3451 Golf View Drive, Bonnet Creek Golf Club. Osprey's traditional layout is full of elevated tees and greens (some twenty feet and higher). More than seventy bunkers provide a strategic challenge. Par/Yardage: 72/7,101. Slope: 131. Green Fees: $145 public; $140 resort guest. Architect: Tom Fazio, 1992. T&L Golf Rating: ***