Walkabout Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 course unfurls an emerald tapestry of immaculate fairways, dazzling greens, and cerulean waters fit for club-toting artistes of all abilities. Once demystified by former world Top 10 golfer Chris DiMarco—who set the course record with a blistering round of 64—the relatively difficult course can flummox golfers with its tight fairways, fast greens, and landing areas consistently flanked by water, which comes into play on 13 holes and houses a cabal of head-cover-eating waterfowl. Duffers acquaint themselves with the course's obstacles immediately, as the first hole—a par 4 measuring 435 yards from the back tees—features a dramatic dogleg right where any attempt to cut the corner must contend with a serpentine pond and an expansive bunker, perplexing golfers with the first of many risk-reward scenarios characteristic of the course. Five tee options temper the course's lengthy and challenging nature, making it enjoyable for those yet to fully develop their orb-mashing fortitude or players mistakenly wielding a throw pillow for a club head.
The Airpark Golf Academy transforms wobbly swings into ball-smashing swings with personalized lessons and instructional camps. During the 50-minute individual lesson, students get personalized instruction to help them improve club grip, posture, and footwork during post-swing celebratory dances. Using your own set of clubs or a loaner set from the academy, attack driving-range balls (included in the deal) under the tutelage of academy-owner Joe Luthe. More than 150 players of all skill levels and hairstyles have worked with Joe to lower their handicaps and improve their swings.
Towering palm trees rise above the ivory clubhouse at La Cita Country Club, their leaves like natural sentries watching over a realm of genteel social gatherings and athletic recreation. Golfers circle the clubhouse as they hunt pars across the Club’s scenic 18-hole golf course, where water comes into play on all but four holes and attracts white egrets, hawks, eagles, and golf carts longing to see their own reflection. Metronomic rhythms of serves and backhands resonate from the La Cita Racquet Club, which houses six lighted, outdoor Har-Tru—green clay—tennis courts and two air-conditioned racquetball courts.
The Club also encompasses an outdoor pool, where guests can swim laps, work up a sweat in group fitness classes, or run a black market for swimming goggles in the shadows cast by white parasols. Those who prefer to stay dry during a workout can head to the health club, which fosters fitter lifestyles with treadmills, weight machines, and stairmasters.
Harmony Golf Preserve is an award-winning golf destination that prized as a Top 10 Orlando Golf Course in 2011 from Golf Orlando Florida. Course architect and US Open Champion Johnny Miller designed a layout that would work in concert with the local wildlife. The result is a sprawling championship course that melds seamlessly with the natural wetlands and wooded thickets of the 260-acre wildlife preserve that surrounds it, earning the distinction of a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
While acting as a haven for feathered and furred animals, the course challenges golfers with tricky doglegs and undulating terrain, culminating in the course’s signature 9th hole, whose treacherous sand bunkers and water to the left of the green demand precision off the tee or a generous bribe to the mulligan maestro hiding in the thickets.
During course play, players can stop at a beverage cart or at the Grill on the Turn to refuel. After penciling in their final score, golfers can savor artisanal dishes and bask in the elegant, old-Florida atmosphere maintained by Graze, the clubhouse restaurant. Harmony Golf Preserve also helps players of all stripes cultivate their skills and clubbing techniques at The Performance Academy, while budding golfers can equip themselves with brand-name equipment and apparel from the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
The 18-hole course at Winter Pines Golf Club was first drawn up in 1968, and continues to surround golfers in a Technicolor terrarium marked by brightly flowered landscapes and deep emerald turf as it celebrates its 45th birthday. The front nine presents a traditional, par 36 layout that stretches to 3,026 yards, complete with two par 5s just upwards of 470 yards apiece but still well southwards of the 100,000-yard distance at which holes can apply for statehood. Golfers having trouble with the par 5s will find a respite on a par 31 back nine stocked with five par 3s—including four in a row from holes 14 through 17. Those hoping that these indicate can-of-corn iron shots and no-hands aces will come to a rude awakening, however, when they find themselves staring down tee shots of more than 210 yards on holes 12, 15, and 17.
During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.