Top Orlando golf courses this winter: The PGA Merchandise Show Power Rankings

We're going to switch up Power Rankings this week in lieu of the golf industry's big week in Orlando: the PGA Merchandise Show.

We've dug into recent ratings to find the top golf courses in Orlando so far this winter, should those of you going to the Show be looking for a sunny respite from the action at the Orange County Convention Center.

We've sorted the top-rated courses since Nov. 1, 2014 and found the current top 10 within about a 45-minute drive of the convention center (though many are within just 15-20 minutes).

Of course, you'll want to be sure to check availability at these courses. Facilities particularly close to International Drive are heavy with group outings during PGA Merchandise Show week.

And if you plan on seeing more of Florida than Orlando, here are GolfAdvisor's Top 25 Courses in 2014 in the Sunshine State.

Top 10 Orlando-area courses on GolfAdvisor this winter

1. Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes: Located just east of the Orange County Convention Center, this Greg Norman design scores particularly high marks for facilities and course conditions.

2. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: Another high-end course and also one of the newest in central Florida, this Rees Jones design near Walt Disney World opened in 2009.

3. El Campeon at Mission Inn Resort & Club: When you arrive in Howey in the Hills (46 minutes northwest of the convention center), it feels like modern development never made it this far. El Campeon is a wonderfully classic design with some rolling hills. If you truly need a break from the crowds of I-Drive, this is your horse.

4. Deer Island Golf & Lake Club: It's about 50 minutes north of the convention center in Mt. Dora, but those who make the drive love the change in scenery at this marshy course.

5. New Course at Grand Cypress Resort: For a little taste of Scotland about 15 minutes west of I-Drive, this links-inspired play, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is great for those who want firm and fast conditions and a break from your more traditional, water-heavy Florida resort golf.

6. Bella Collina Golf Club: Located west of Orlando just off the turnpike, this is one of the best area private clubs that offers limited public access.

7. Shingle Creek Golf Club: Convenience is king at Shingle Creek, the closest course to I-Drive and the convention center, and it boasts service and conditions to be a favorite spot for corporate outings.

8. Royal St. Cloud Golf Links: Some 30 minutes south of the convention center, this 27-hole facility that opened in 2001 is significantly improved, according to one recent review, from bunkers and tee boxes to bathrooms.

9. Grand Cypress North/South/East: The 27-hole course at Grand Cypress Resort, it's also designed by Jack Nicklaus and is more of a traditional Florida golf course compared to Grand Cypress' New Course.

10. Crooked Cat at Orange County National: The Cat edged out its sister course, Panther Lake. Both courses are among the area's best for lower handicappers. And don't forget: Orange County National's massive circular range is the host for PGA Show Demo Day each year.

Jan 16, 2015

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.