Golf courses are living organisms. As such, days, weeks and years bring subtle shifts that can be challenging for even the most the most attentive superintendents to reign in.
Green perimeters shrink. Bunkers morph, their edges rising after years of sand buildup on their greenside edges. Trees and other plantings grow and encroach on the paths of play.
Every so often, a bit of a freshening-up is necessary. And at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, both Greg Norman-designed courses have received some quality TLC in the past 24 months.
In 2016, the International Course was refreshed. A former host of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the open, windswept layout that juxtaposes pot bunkers with huge sandy waste areas regained a total of 42,000 square feet of space on the putting surfaces, which had gradually shrunk since its 2000 opening.
This year, it was the National Course's turn. Like its counterpart, the National has a brand-new set of Champion Bermuda greens, which now occupy their original footprint. In addition, bunkering was touched up, and tee boxes on two holes were raised up four feet in order to provide clearer sight lines. This was especially helpful on the short par-4 fourth hole, where the reeds in the wetlands between the tee and the fairway previously made the tee shot play almost completely blind.
One fringe benefit of the work done to both courses: ChampionsGate Golf Club's directors no longer see a need to overseed the golf courses, which cuts down on water usage and promotes more consistently firm and fast playing conditions. And since the greens on both courses feature expansive areas of short grass around them, a good range of short-game shot options will be available to golfers year-round.
Part of a larger resort renovation project
The Orlando area is in the midst of a new building boom (which included the addition of the brand new ChampionsGate Country Club in 2015), and Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate has done its part, to the tune of $40 million in enhancements over the last two years, of which the golf course renovations are frankly a small part.
In an effort to court more group business, the resort has added 100,000 square feet of conference space and an event lawn. Those who love lounging by the pool will note the addition of pool deck space, new cabanas and new kid-oriented water features.
Of particular note to traveling golfers is the brand-new on-property Sunset Lodge and Suites. This new section of the resort comprises more than 150 rooms of varying configurations. Architecturally, these spaces are able to be grouped for the benefit of larger visiting groups...like traveling golf buddies, for example.