Florida is rife with amazing, even world-renowned golf courses. This holds true from tip to tip and coast to coast across the state, but Central Florida can claim many leading places to play for enthusiasts of all skill levels. In fact, many of professional golf’s most famous players—for example, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer—have resided in Windermere and other nearby locales in the Orlando metro area.
If you’re looking for a new home in a place that provides easy access to an exciting selection of public and private golf courses, areas of western Orange County like Windermere, Winter Garden, and Dr. Phillips are ideal. In these areas, golf is quite popular for recreation and for social and professional networking, including among the region’s business and political leaders, entertainers, and other elites.
If golfing is an essential part of your lifestyle, these are some of the must-play golf courses in the greater Orlando area:
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge
This golf club in Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood was Arnold Palmer’s winter home until his death in 2016. Golf Magazine named it the third-best public course in Florida, and it’s hosted the PGA Tour since 1979. Better known for its challenging holes than its scenery, the course is geared toward experienced players. You need a family or corporate membership—or to stay at the on-site luxury resort—to play here.
Celebration Golf Club
The last course created by the collaborative efforts of Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior, this worthy golf destination is in the community of Celebration. It features the dramatically sloped greens and strategically placed water hazards the design team is known for. The course is about half an hour south of Orlando, Windermere, and Winter Garden. It’s one of the leading tournament venues in the region.
This historic golf course, established in 1924, is located in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood, just north of downtown. Get low Florida resident rates to tee off at this classic Orlando course that features notably narrow fairways and postage stamp-style, heavily bunkered greens. Also, don’t miss The Taproom at Dubsdread, one of the most highly regarded clubhouse restaurants in Central Florida.
The Golden Bear Club
In the heart of Windermere, this golf club focuses on local residents, particularly those living in the resort-style Keene’s Point community. The Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed course offers stunning scenery alongside the Butler Chain of Lakes. Various membership packages are available, and this prestigious club caters particularly well to the entire family—even the younger ones and non-golfers.
Isleworth Golf & Country Club
This isn’t just Orlando’s most prestigious golf communities… Isleworth is one of the country’s most famed and desirable golf communities. Plus, the 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer himself, is recognized as one of the best in the US year after year, by multiple expert and industry sources. Membership is required at this private course, with several levels offered to suit exactly what your entire family is looking for.
Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge
Located in Winter Garden, this often-overlooked option in the area offers three courses (one executive) and exceptional practice facilities that include a 42-acre circular driving range. Rates are relatively low here, providing a great value for the beautiful Central Florida scenery and intriguing course designs showcasing a variety of terrain and surroundings.
Shingle Creek Golf Club
Right down the road from Dr. Phillips and under half an hour from Windermere and Winter Garden, this is a beautiful course recently redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Design Company. Borrowing elements from a number of the world’s most beloved courses, there are thrills and challenges here for golfers of all skill levels. Take advantage of the extensive, well-equipped practice area, too.