Not only does Orlando host two PGA Tour events each year, it's also a hotbed for many of the game's top PGA Tour and LPGA pros, not to mention thousands more aspiring golfers.
So it makes sense the city is going to have some beastly golf courses, worthy of hosting PGA Tour or mini-tour events, as well as serve as home bases for scratch golfers trying to make a living with their golf game.
The visiting golfer has access to just about all of the best courses in town for scratch golfers, so make sure you pack your A-game on your flight to Orlando.
If most of the pros can't break par at the PGA Tour's Bay Hill Invitational, chances are you're not going to come close at Arnold Palmer's joint. Tweaked and enhanced several times since 1961, it now plays 7,201 yards, and rebuilt bunkers are even more penal than they have ever been at Bay Hill.
Host of the Children's Miracle Network Classic, architect Joe Lee built the "Mag" with the intention of putting a premium on long, straight driving. This, coupled with a flat stick that can knock in some long putts (most of the course's greens are pretty flat) and you'll be able to tame it.
One of Florida's top facilities for players to hone their game, both Orange County National courses are beasts over 7,200 yards, though the Crooked Cat boasts the higher slope at 139. "Gamblers and scramblers do well," suggests O.C.N.'s website of this links-style course with randomly placed grass bunkers and a routing that changes direction constantly.
Dating back to 1986, Hunter's Creek has become a staple of top tournament golf in the area. The 7,268-yard course with 13 lakes and a 75.1 rating has served as host to U.S. Open and PGA Tour qualifying events.
A 75.1/139 slope/rating welcomes scratch sticks to the black tees at Shingle Creek. The fairways are wide here, but interconnected waterways and hazards are constantly in play, and green sites are often large and complex.
Designed by a favorite architect of Central Florida Steve Smyers, Southern Dunes boasts 7,200 yards from the tips. Not everyone needs to play from the back set, but there is no hiding from 180 bunkers scattered throughout the course.
Waldorf Astoria Golf Club called on Rees Jones, a regular enhancer of U.S. open venues, to deliver a traditionally-styled, championship-quality design to the area. The 7,108-yard play is maximized with pro-level firm, fast con and conditions with slick greens and deep bunkers, plenty of surrounding hazards and native areas but no housing component.
Long, accurate drivers of the golf ball are going to love Harmony Golf Preserve, a Johnny Miller design set on a wealth of acres, and the fairways take up lots of them. So do waste bunkers and wetlands, however, so keep an extra ball in your pocket if you're playing the 7,400-plus yard championship tees.
Metrowest G.C. has the combination of more topographical change than the average Orlando -area golf course, plus a championship design by Robert Trent Jones Sr. to challenge golfers. Greens here are kept lightning fast, and large, Jones-style bunkers surround many greens.
Before Rees Jones built Waldorf Astoria, he delivered Falcon's Fire to Orlando in 1993. Another traditional design, over 100 bunkers and plenty of water is scattered throughout this 6,901-yard test. Enhanced during a renovation in 2009, the greens put a reborn emphasis on putting.