Reunion Resort - Nicklaus Course
|White (W)||72||6260 yards||77.1||140|
|Red (W)||72||5055 yards||69.2||122|
|Gold M: 75.7/148||372||440||585||414||223||559||372||197||382||3544||461||184||433||453||438||532||210||396||568||3675||7219|
|Blue M: 72.5/142||324||402||553||373||196||512||349||146||358||3213||408||151||368||399||388||486||177||363||531||3271||6484|
|Blue/White M: 71.7/141||324||390||536||357||178||512||349||146||358||3150||390||151||368||383||372||486||158||363||420||3091||6241|
|White M: 71.0/140 W: 77.1/140||311||390||536||357||178||500||332||127||342||3073||390||135||355||383||372||472||158||347||420||3032||6105|
|Red M: 65.4/117 W: 69.2/122||271||311||459||284||143||425||259||70||269||2491||314||108||293||290||285||422||116||307||407||2542||5033|
The par-5 third at Runion's Nicklaus Course shoots out from some impressively bulkheaded tee boxes. Photo submitted by TimGavrichGA
A drive that challenges the big fairway bunker right of the 10th fairway at the Nicklaus Course gets rewarded with some extra roll. Photo submitted by TimGavrichGA
Deepest Bunker on the course! Photo submitted by xkyleclark3
Beautiful view on a par 3 Photo submitted by xkyleclark3
Play the Course That Jack Built
Salamander’s Reunion Resort is located west of Orlando off I-4 at exit 58, then about 1 mile east. The rooms in the main tower are not your typical hotel rooms, they’re spacious multi-bedroom condos that can sleep multiple couples. They are beautifully decorated and well appointed. This is the kind of place you could easily call home; and many do.
If these accommodations are not your style and you want or need more, Reunion rents a multitude of single family homes; as many as five bedrooms. While on property, you can take advantage of personalized concierge services, world-class dining, and a bevy of other amenities. Some of these amenities including horse stables, tennis courts, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, a water park and swimming pools in various locations as well as miles of biking and hiking trails. If this gives you the idea there’s a lot of thing to do here, you’re correct; and we haven't even started talking about golf!
Although Reunion is a great family resort, with its huge waterpark and kid-friendly programs, a lot of the guests are here for the golf. Reunion gives golfers three top-notch courses designed by three of the game’s greatest players: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. The only way you can take advantage of these courses is to stay at the resort; stay and play packages are available year-round and require a minimum two-night stay. Perfect for three rounds of golf!
Formerly known as The Tradition Course, this Jack Nicklaus (and Jack Nicklaus II) Signature course plays 7,219 yards from the back tees with a course rating of 74.8 and a slope of 140. The white tees measure considerably less at 6,205 yards but still carry a rating of 69.8 and a slope of 129. The Nicklaus Course was the last of the three to open and offers four sets of tees, providing a challenge for all golfers. It is also far and away the toughest of the three courses.
The Nicklaus Course is a parkland-style layout and was named one of Golfweek’s Top 100 Resort Courses in 2009. It also ranked #17 on its Best Courses You Can Play list in 2010. The course follows the natural contour lines of the land in the area; water comes into play on 9 of the eighteen holes - much less than most Florida courses. A wide variety of trees can be found along the way including: oaks, magnolias, maples, and palms. Catching the magnolias in full bloom is an added treat.
There is a lot of undulation in the course both in the fairways and especially on the greens. There are more than 100 bunkers on the course, as well as small, postage-stamp greens, and a few forced carries. Tee boxes are beautifully landscaped and well maintained, fairways are meticulously trimmed and groomed, and the greens deserve their own article! Many of them are elevated and surrounded by evil bunkers and waste areas.
Because the course was completed during the recession, there has been no clubhouse to speak of. That all changed recently when ground was broken on the new Jack Nicklaus clubhouse, which is set to open in the fall of 2018. In addition, the large house you see being built behind the 18th green is for none other than the man himself.
The Nicklaus Course also has its own practice facility which includes an 1,100-ft. driving range with grass tees, a short game area and a practice putting green. The Nicklaus Course is a three-minute drive from the main clubhouse - providing there is no traffic in the roundabout.
Most Memorable Hole: Number 18: Par 5, 420 yards. If the tees are up, number 18 offers a great opportunity to finish on a good note; after all it’s just a long par 4. When they are back, and your tee shot needs to carry the marsh area, it can be a real test. Keep right off the tee and avoid the two large waste bunkers. The pot bunker in front of the green will keep many players from going for the green in two. Keep right again on your layup shot, avoiding the pot bunkers that dot the right side and leave yourself a short approach setting up a birdie opportunity and a spectacular finish!
Favorite Par 3: Number 16, 177 yards. Make sure you take the right club off the tee; anything short will most likely lead to an undesirable number on the scorecard. Number 16 is the signature hole and features a daring carry over water to a shallow, firm green protected in front and back by deep bunkers. Holding the putting surface off the tee is a challenge if you hit the ball with a low trajectory.
Favorite Par 4: Number 2. 402 yards. The conservative play on this demanding par 4 is to aim down the left side of the fairway, between the two fairway bunkers. A more aggressive line down the right side and over the bunkers will leave a much shorter approach shot but runs a higher risk of finding trouble. The forced carry off the tee shouldn’t prove difficult. Club selection is everything as you approach this multi-tiered green; finding the front left bunker is a very tough up and down. Par is a good score here; after all, it’s the number 1 handicapped hole on the course.
Favorite Par 5: Number 3, 536 yards. Water rears its ugly head on the layout's first par 5. Avoid the right side at all costs; it is replete with trouble in the form of bunkers, and water. There is plenty of room out to the left. Ideally you want to play your tee shot down the left center of the fairway; for most, this is a three-shot par 5. Again, favor the left side on your layup and leave yourself a short chip shot into a small target green. Three well played shots can lead to a well-deserved birdie opportunity.
The Nicklaus course is not your typical resort course; it's more of a "player's" course. Scoring well here requires a significant amount of accuracy off the tee - anything hit wide left or right will either be irretrievable or in some sort of hazard - most likely a waste bunker. A player who is more of a thinker as opposed to someone who wants to grip it and rip it will prevail out here.
There are a lot of bunkers and waste areas along the way; many have been placed strategically in the landing areas which again places an emphasis on accuracy off the tee. I found myself in several of them; I guess that’s how you know you’ve got the right set of tees!
The green complexes are what make the Nicklaus Course truly challenging. Most holes have modestly elevated greens although a few are very significant. The way these green complexes are set up and bunkered, a bump-and-run approach shot is not usually an option unless you are skilled at running the ball through a bunker! Most green complexes require you to fly the ball on to the putting surface. Once there, the subtle little undulations of the green take over. Be sure to study all putts carefully, even the tap-ins; there are not a lot of straight putts out here.
The course is in great shape year-round and the grounds crew is painstakingly meticulous. Staff is friendly and helpful, especially the starters. If you haven't played the course before, listen to them carefully. They will give you a wealth of information. If you're in the area, you owe it to yourself and your golf game to play the Nicklaus Course at Reunion Resort. After all, it's the perfect destination for a great round of golf on one of three fabulous courses designed by three of golf's greatest players. It's also a great spot for a family vacation. Come to think of it, why not do both?
Insanely good layout.
This course definitely deserves an updated review. Our threesome played an afternoon round, and had little to no wait on any hole. The staff said they had a lot of rounds earlier in the day, however the course didn’t show any signs of usual warm weather wear and tear.
This was my first Nicklaus course and I stopped to take in each hole for a moment, truly beautiful layout and challenges, but plenty fair.
Greens were pure, fairways and approaches and tee boxes were all tight and green.
They’re in the middle of clubhouse construction, but I much prefer a beautiful layout and pace of play over a clubhouse anyway.
A strong driver-diagnostic challenge
Having played more rounds of golf in my life at a Nicklaus course (Pawleys Plantation in coastal SC) than any other, I am always intrigued to see how the Golden Bear and his team have approached other sites.
At Reunion, I found a big ballpark of a course that really tests players as they near the putting surface. The greens themselves aren't as undulating as at Nicklaus' Old Corkscrew, but they are on the small side, and require the expected hyper-focus on precise iron play. I quite like the course as a test of driving, where there's often a decision over whether to lay back or challenge a fairway bunker. If you think you're a good driver of the golf ball, this is a good course to test the theory.
This course was in poor condition. Played the Watson Course at Reunion as well and you would think you're at two different properties after playing both courses. Nicklaus is very challenging, especially with postage stamp greens and some tight driving holes, but the greens were in awful condition, very patchy and slow. Played 9 courses in the Orlando area over the past few weeks and this course was in the worst condition.
Not the Bears best :(
I was really looking forward to playing this course and I came away disappointed in this course and can't believe it is allowed to keep the Nicklaus brand associated with it given its lack of maintenance. Conditions were poor especially greens which were slow and beat up. The course is tricked up and its a shame because it could be a great track if it allowed more options off the tee and into the greens. Its very obvious that Jack wants this course to play to a fade and most draws even down the middle are funneled into trouble. This is the one to skip if you're going to play Reunion. Watson and Palmer courses are so much better that you would not know that all 3 courses are related to the same property.
We rented a house in Reunion the past week and wanted to take advantage of playing this Private facility with the guest pass included with our rental. The course design was excellent, to be expected from Nicklaus. We played it at a 135 slope. Nicklaus is a low handicap player course. Greens are very small and there is many elevation changes. Even if you are a scratch player your carry distance must be precise and executed very well in order to score well on this track. You really need to have your A Game in tact. Greens were excellent rolling at about 11 and smooth and true. Fairways were in good shape. There didn't seem to be much grass in the rough compared to all of the other courses we played in the past week. That being said with the windy hot conditions and small elevated greens this track was all we could handle without thick rough. Practice facilities were good with a chipping green, putting green, and driving range. there is no Restaurant or clubhouse just a plastic dome facility which I assume is a temporary plan. It was a treat to play this track once but it really was not good value for the money. Great layout but overpriced, beauty of a private facility.
Favorite of the 3 at Reunion
This was my favorite of the 3 at Reunion Resort and in my opinion the most difficult. You can tell from the onset, it is designed to play fast and firm and has the conditioning of a Streamsong course. The risk/reward factor on this 18 is way more compared to the Palmer course. Target golf is required on the tee shot and on the approach as most green complexes are guarded by trouble is there is any miss. There is plenty of water on this course compared to Watson and the tee shot on 16 from the back tees with a back pin is the most daunting on the course.
We did not get to play this course again in our package and will look forward to the next time.
Not ready for prime time
Beautiful resort. We played Watson the day before and it was 100 times better than this course. $209 for prime season and I have played better municipal courses. I am only wishing we would have played the Palmer course instead.
Should not even be open yet, does a disservice to his name.
Of the three courses at Renuion, this the most difficult. Fairways are not grown in as good as the Watson and Palmer. Course is long and green are not easy to read, lots of 3 putts.
I have heard nothing but good things about Reunion and I wanted to see what all of the hype was about. It was a scorching hot day in Orlando, luckily the carts had massive coolers and complimentary water bottles. There is no clubhouse, you have to get shuttled down to the range. The one bad thing is that we had to wait for a cart because they had a big outing going on all day. The new clubhouse appears to be going in next to the range. The practice area was very nice. As an avid golfer, I can say that this course definitely tests your patience and skill. I happened to find myself in a few of the hundreds of bunkers throughout the course. The sand was immaculate. The greens rolled pretty well, a few had some crabgrass patches, but nothing to really complain about. Very scenic and well worth the money.