Golf at Disney World
99 Holes of Golf "Drive" Golf Enthusiasts to Walt Disney World Resort
LAKE BUENA VISTA , Fla. -- Walt Disney World Resort has grown from a place offering a couple afternoons of golfing fun to a world-class golf-vacation destination with five championship-caliber courses.
With a total of 99 holes on 775 acres of the 47-square-mile property, Walt Disney World Resort is one of the largest golf resorts in the country. In addition to scenic and challenging courses, Disney's golf program offers instruction and well-equipped pro shops.
Combined with the vast offering of Walt Disney World hotels and entertainment meccas, the resort has earned a reputation as one of the great golf havens in the entire United States: one of 25 resorts earning a gold medal designation in the 2004 edition of Golf Magazine's biennial evaluation of America's greatest resorts; among the Top 75 Golf Resorts in America as selected by Golf Digest in 2002; and among the 75 Top Golf Resorts Around the World honored by Condé Nast Traveler in 2002.
The newest courses are Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines, introduced in 1992 and designed by renowned golf course architects Tom Fazio and Pete Dye, respectively. The Fazio and Dye championship designs join the Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista courses as championship venues. Rounding out Disney's 99 holes of golf is Oak Trail, a family-play nine-hole walking course.
The Magnolia and Palm courses, located on the northern portion of the Disney property near Magic Kingdom, were designed by Joe Lee and opened with Walt Disney World Resort in 1971. The following year, Lee added the Lake Buena Vista course, adjacent to the Downtown Disney entertainment complex.
Walt Disney World Resort has hosted the PGA TOUR for a fall Classic annually since 1971. Currently, the event -- the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort -- is played on the Magnolia and Palm courses. Walt Disney World Resort also hosts more than 400 other tournaments, camps and clinics, and other outings, large and small, each year. In 2002 and 2003 the Disney courses hosted the Coca-Cola/Tiger Woods Foundation Junior Golf Clinic as the world's most recognizable player provided instruction and an exhibition for young players from five cities.
And as for vacationers from all over the world: Now more than ever, golf can be thought of as the primary reason for visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. Here's what's in store:
[*] Fazio's Osprey Ridge is a course unlike any other. With uncharacteristically rolling Florida terrain, Osprey Ridge is enjoyable for the resort guest as well as the accomplished professional. Located in the northern section of Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club, Osprey Ridge is 7,101 yards from the back tees. From the middle tees it measures 6,680 yards, and from the forward tees it plays to 5,402 yards. Fazio designed Osprey Ridge with both the golfer and the environment in mind. Having disturbed as little vegetation as possible, the course winds through dense vegetation, oak forests and moss hammocks. Fazio himself considers this one of his best.
[*] To the south of Osprey Ridge at Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club, Dye's Eagle Pines is a stark contrast to Fazio's creation. With relatively flat terrain and a combination of traditional grass rough, sand and pine straw awaiting errant shots, Eagle Pines offers every player a unique challenge. Eagle Pines is a visually intimidating course, but a complete joy to play. At 6,772 yards from the back tees, 6,309 from the middle and 4,838 from the forward, Eagle Pines is enjoyed by all levels of competitors.
[*] As one of the two original Disney golf courses, the Magnolia opened in October 1971, and immediately became home for a PGA TOUR event. In true PGA TOUR style, this beautifully manicured course has all the earmarks of a golfer's paradise: elevated tees and greens, rolling terrain, and a very special bunker on the sixth hole in the shape of you-know-who. The Joe Lee-designed course is aptly named for its over 1,500 magnolia trees.
[*] The natural beauty of Florida woodlands makes the Palm not only a pleasure to play but also one of Walt Disney World's toughest. Rated one of Golf Digest's “Top 25 Resort Courses,” this Joe Lee course measures 7,015 yards from the back tees, 6,461 from the middle and 5,414 from the front. With greens recently rebuilt from the drainage basin up, this course is perhaps better than new. Save a sprinkle of pixie dust for No. 18 -- it's been rated as high as fourth toughest on the PGA TOUR.
Lake Buena Vista
[*] Built in 1972, this Joe Lee course stretches to 6,829 yards from the championship tees. LBV is a tough challenge to many, as native foliage looms close to the narrow fairways. The course is somewhat more forgiving from the middle and forward tees which measure 6,268 and 5,176 yards, respectively. The Lake Buena Vista course is located near Downtown Disney and Disney's Old Key West Resort.
[*] A par-36 executive golf course, perfect for a quick nine, practice, or the beginning golfer.
Walt Disney World Golf Fact Sheet
What: Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., offers 99 holes of challenging golf on five 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole family-play course as part of a complete destination resort covering 47 square miles in Central Florida, approximately 20 miles southwest of Orlando off of Interstate 4. The resort is open 365 days a year.
5,232 - 7,516
69.4-76.5 / 125-140
5,311 - 6,957
69.5-73.9 / 126-138
Lake Buena Vista Course
5,194 - 6,819
68.6-73.0 / 123-133
Eagle Pines Course
4,838 - 6,772
66.6-72.5 / 119-135
Osprey Ridge Course
5,402 - 7,101
69.5-74.4 / 123-131
Oak Trail Course
2,532 - 2,913
64.6-68.2 / 107-123
Course Locations: Magnolia, Palm and Oak Trail in Magic Kingdom resort area; Lake Buena Vista in Downtown Disney resort area; Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines at Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club
[*] Instruction by PGA and LPGA professionals at all facilities, including Private Lessons, Video Analysis, Playing Lessons & Corporate and Group Lessons
[*] Premium golf clubs available for guest rental
[*] FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort -- PGA TOUR Event at Magnolia and Palm, held in October
[*] Polo Junior Golf Classic , held in November
[*] Master Starter/Tee Times/Tournament Sales/Pro Shops: 407/939-4653
[*] Overnight Accommodations/Packages: 407/934-7639
[*] Walt Disney World Media Relations: 407/566-6397
Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club Combines Fantasy and Functionality
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Whether off to the rolling hills and contours of the Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Ridge course or the low-lying links of Pete Dye's Eagle Pines, golfers are in for a not-so-typical round of golf -- beginning at the Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge clubhouse.
Under the direction of Disney Development Co., Gwathmey Siegal Associates of New York set out to design a clubhouse like no other in the world.
"We were challenged to design a clubhouse that would be totally memorable and recognizable as a Disney golf clubhouse," said Tom Sunnarborg, assistant project manager, Disney Development Co. "It combines bright colors and shapes -- very much in the style of entertainment architecture -- with functionality."
Golfers will notice the high-profile design as they are greeted at the club entrance by a sculpture of giant silver golf tees ranging in size from six to ten feet high. The distinctive exterior of geometric shapes ranges from purple to green to yellow in color. It is complemented by an interior layout designed with functionality, flow and efficiency for successful golf operations.
The central rotunda allows convenient access to the pro shop, banquet room, bar and grill and locker rooms.
Features of Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club include:
[*] Pro Shop -- full-service shop featuring all the golf gear you need. Unique crescent-shaped design with panoramic window gives guests a scenic view of the 18th green of both courses. Accessories range from golf shoes to designer golf bags to a selection of character and custom-logo sportswear.
[*] Rental Equipment -- Golf clubs, shoes and driving range balls are available for a nominal fee.
[*] Tournament Room features nearly 2,000 square feet of flexible function space to host a full tournament. The room also can open into a bar and grill area, accommodating 240 guests for an awards ceremony or luncheon.
[*] The Sand Trap bar and grill offers a selection of sandwiches, appetizers and bar snacks in a comfortable atmosphere. The space spills out to a covered terrace overlooking the finishing holes of both courses. The veranda can be used for receptions or small functions.
Playing From These Disney Golf Tips Will Get You In The Swing
LAKE BUENA VISTA , Fla. -- With an eye on exercises and practice techniques that will prepare golfers for special challenges such as those encountered on the five Walt Disney World championship courses, Disney head professional Kevin Weickel offers a series of tips that golfers can use before they head to the links.
Tips Inspired by Disney's 99 Holes of Golf
Disney's Magnolia course is the longest golf course at Walt Disney World Resort and places a premium on the long game. The secret to an effective long game is making an efficient shoulder turn. One drill to get the back muscles into shape is with a simple rotational exercise:
[*] Take your stance, with both arms bent at the elbows -- hands are up and palms open, facing away from you.
[*] Keeping your hands in front of your shoulders as you turn, slowly rotate your shoulders back, keeping them level.
[*] Feel the right knee remained flexed as the weight turns onto the right leg; the left foot should remain flat on the ground.
[*] Hold this position for a count of five and rotate through to the finish, keeping your shoulders level through the motion.
[*] At the finish: your back foot should be up with the toe pointing into the ground, your hands should still be open and in front of your shoulders.
[*] Hold for a count of five and start over.
Lag putting drill
The large greens on Disney's Palm course can be maneuvered with good lag putting. One drill to develop this skill can be done on the carpet at home using five tees:
[*] Place the tees three feet apart in a staggered "ladder" -- that is, three feet away from you, six feet, nine feet and so on.
[*] Starting five feet from the nearest tee, practice putting to see if you can make your ball stop against each one of the tees as you putt up the ladder.
[*] Move the tees further and further apart to expand your lag range feel.
Fairway wood drill
Disney's Palm course has a few long par 4s and a couple of par 5s that could be reached in two using a fairway wood. (The hardest is No. 18, a long par 4 which has been ranked as high as 4th most difficult on the PGA TOUR.) When playing the fairway wood, be sure the club comes through the ball in a sweeping motion to maximize the loft on your wood. A drill that can help:
[*] Place a tee lengthways on top of the grass, with the point facing you.
[*] The tee is your target; sweep through the tee without taking a divot. When done correctly, the tee will fly through the air reacting in a manner similar to the way a ball would.
[*] Once you have been successful doing this, place a ball down and try to emulate the same sweeping motion.
Waste bunker practice
Disney's Osprey Ridge course is decorated with beautiful waste bunkers that outline the fairways and provide outstanding contrast to the design of the course. Their beauty can be intimidating, as they play in a slightly different way than a normal bunker. The sand is usually harder; therefore, you can play a shot that is closer to a normal swing. To get a feel at home, practice making swings on a piece of plywood:
[*] Place a plastic ball on the plywood and practice "scraping" the ball off with your swing.
[*] Take a normal stance, with the ball toward your front foot.
[*] When swinging, keep your legs quiet -- feel only your shoulders turning and your arms swinging.
[*] After impact, make a good follow-through as you normally would.
[*] If you swing too deep, the wood will rattle your club; your best swing will sound and feel like you are scraping the board ever so slightly with the bottom of the club.
Lining up the target
Disney's Lake Buena Vista course demands accuracy on the tee shot as well as the approach. Make sure you are aligned properly to the target by using this secret from the PGA TOUR:
[*] Standing behind your ball, align yourself with your intended target.
[*] Pick a spot 12 to 18 inches in front of your ball that's in line with your target; make careful mental note of that spot.
[*] Address the ball with your feet parallel to this imaginary line (ball to spot in front of ball).
[*] Swing your club over the spot as you hit the ball. This will ensure your ball starts on line to the target.
Putting on an undulating green
Remember what a phonograph record looked like if you left it out in the sun? Well, Pete Dye designed Disney's Eagle Pine course with greens that will jog your memory. So a tip here concerns putts that break:
[*] Practice your breaking putts by treating every putt as a straight one!
[*] Identify the point at which you feel the ball will break.
[*] Align your feet and putter face square to this target and putt straight to this point. The ground and gravity will take care of the rest!
Hitting off of pine straw
Pine straw decorates the rough areas of Disney's Eagle Pines course, and practicing a shot at home can be fun. All you need is common everyday pine straw (dry pine needles) and some pine cones. The trick to hitting a golf ball off straw is the same as hitting a pine cone from the straw:
[*] Play the pine cone forward in your stance as if it were a fairway bunker shot.
[*] Make a level swing and feel like you are swinging through the middle of the ball (or pine cone) and sweeping it from the straw! (This is also a great way to clean up the yard!)
[*] Hit the cone and try not to take a divot.
Disney's Oak Trail course is a walking-only facility. To prepare those legs for the walk, one good stretch for your Achilles will prove to be beneficial:
[*] With arms extended in front of you, place both hands against a wall.
[*] Lean forward slightly, keeping your right foot on the ground and the right leg bent slightly from the knee, and your left leg extended behind you with your left foot flat on the ground.
[*] Slowly lean forward against the wall, keeping the left heel on the ground. You will begin to feel the stretch run through the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for a count of 10.
[*] Switch legs and repeat the stretch.
A Golf-Lover's Guide to Walt Disney World Resort
[*] Walt Disney World features 99 holes of golf -- five 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole walking course. (Electric carts are required on the 18-hole courses and are included with greens fees.)
[*] Top architects have designed the Disney courses: Tom Fazio, Pete Dye and Joe Lee.
[*] All the courses have achieved designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System (ACSS).
[*] The courses are subtly stamped with the image of the world's most famous mouse: check out the bunker fronting the green on Magnolia No. 6, and the practice putting green at Disney's Eagle Pines & Osprey Ridge Golf Club (home of Disney's Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines courses).
[*] Special rates are offered during the summer months. Families can visit the parks and then shoot a late afternoon/early evening round of golf for greens fees as low as $25 per person. (Special rates are also available for morning rounds beginning after 10 a.m.)
[*] Junior Golf Camps for ages 8-16 are offered during the summer.
[*] Convenient transportation to all courses is offered to guests staying in the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Club cleaning, storage and transfer are also provided.
[*] Rental clubs and shoes are available.
[*] Private or group golf instruction from PGA Professionals is available. Private one-on-one Video Computer Swing Analysis is also offered.
[*] Tee times can be made by calling 407/WDW-GOLF. Guests with a resort confirmation number can reserve tee times up to 90 days ahead. Day visitors can book up to 30 days ahead.
[*] Top PGA TOUR players compete annually in the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort on Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses.
About The Disney Golf Head Professional
[*] Kevin Weickel is a native Floridian who became head professional of Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses in 1993 and head professional of Walt Disney World golf in 1994.
[*] When he became a PGA Class A Member in 1992, at age 24, he was the youngest member with a teaching professional classification in the Florida Section of the PGA.
[*] He has created a golf apprentice training program that develops aspiring pros into management candidates, and he is working on golf-development programs.
[*] He travels through the country as a faculty member for the PGA of America education department, teaching their Golf Professional Training Program.
[*] Kevin has a degree in sports administration from Stetson University in Deland, Fla.
Walt Disney World Resort Earns Gold Medal In Golf Magazine's America's Best Resorts Awards
LAKE BUENA VISTA , Fla. -- Walt Disney World Resort has gained an endorsement as one of the top golf resorts in the United States, earning Gold Medal status from Golf Magazine and a reader panel of more than 23,000 golf enthusiasts.
Walt Disney World Resort is among just 22 golf resorts (and just 15 in the continental U.S.) to earn Gold Medal distinction in the 2002 edition of Golf Magazine 's biennial America's Best Resorts Awards. The honors are announced in the February issue.
Walt Disney World Resort, which features 99 holes of golf plus individualized private lessons and customized clinics, is one of two Florida resorts earning a Gold Medal. The other is next-door neighbor Grand Cypress Resort.
The 2002 Gold Medal list includes "golf mecca" names such as Pebble Beach, The Broadmoor, Pinehurst, The Greenbrier, The Homestead, The American Club and Kapalua Resort.
"To be regarded as one of the very best resorts that golfers seek out for memorable vacations is a gratifying and humbling honor," said Lee Rawls, director of golf at Walt Disney World Resort. "It is gratifying because it tells us that our pursuit of excellence has been appreciated by our guests. It is humbling because it puts us in the company of other world-class resorts, and maintaining this prestigious award will require us to continuously improve as we move forward."
Golf Magazine senior editor Brian McCallen stated in the announcement story that "golf remains the cornerstone of a visit" to an honored resort. "There isn't a souffl} light enough or a marble lobby big enough to save from oblivion a fine hotel with a mediocre course," he writes in the February issue. "Having said that, your time at the resort . . . [is] also about the comfort of your accommodations, the variety of off-course activities, and the quality of the experience for the amount of money spent."
Writing about Walt Disney World Resort, McCallen noted that "this 47-square-mile entertainment kingdom in central Florida continues to hone its reputation as the nation's number-one choice for a family vacation."
In addition to five championship courses, a nine-hole family course and instructional programs for golfers of all skill levels, Walt Disney World Resort offers a broad array of activities and facilities for golfers and non-golfers alike -- including a choice of 19 themed hotels, dining and entertainment, four theme parks and a multi-sports complex. Golf tee times and instruction can be arranged by calling 407/WDW-GOLF. Overnight accommodations are available through a local travel agent, by visiting www.disneyworld.com or calling 407-W-DISNEY.
Disney Golf Awards and Recognition
[*] Gold Medal Resort, presented biennially by Golf Magazine, in 2006, recognizing the top golf resorts in the United States (sixth Gold Medal honor since 1992)
[*] Among Top 75 Golf Resorts in America as selected by Golf Digest in 2002 and 2004
[*] Both Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney's Yacht & Beach Club among 75 Top Golf Resorts Around the World honored by Condé Nast Traveler in 2002
[*] Outstanding Golf and Meeting Resort, presented by Successful Meetings
[*] ACE Award from Successful Meetings
[*] Golf Tee Award, presented by Meetings and Conventions
[*] Golf Magazine's “Top Ten You Can Play” (Feb. 1993) included Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines--the first time that two courses from the same resort or facility were recognized
[*] Osprey Ridge ranked in the top ten resort or public golf courses in Florida, 1996, (#27 including all courses public and private) by Golf Digest's Places to Play
[*] Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines earned 4½ stars while Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista earned 4 stars in Golf Digest's Places to Play ratings
[*] The Palm has been listed by Golf Digest in the nation's top 25 resort courses
[*] The Palm's 18th hole has ranked as high as the fourth most challenging hole on the PGA TOUR
[*] Walt Disney World Resort's golf courses are a certified National Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary
[*] Golf Florida, which ranks the top 100 golf courses in the state (out of over 1,500 courses), included Eagle Pines, Magnolia, Osprey Ridge and Palm. Lake Buena Vista received an Honorable Mention.
[*] Host to a PGA TOUR event since 1971
[*] The Lake Buena Vista course is one of a select few golf courses in the country to host a PGA TOUR event, LPGA Tour event and a USGA event within a year's time (1995-96)
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Build a Better Mousetrip would like to express sincere appreciation to Walt Disney World Corporation for permission to include these press releases on our web site. Build A Better Mousetrip is not directly affiliated with Walt Disney World.