Using the Forelinksters website, we’re able to sort our search results to find the lowest priced, and best golf courses anywhere we’re traveling, so today we’ll look at Orlando, Florida, home to some of the finest, and most expensive golf courses you can play, but also, some of the “locals” favorites with lower greens fees. Please keep in mind the course descriptions and current ratings are all from the members of Forelinksters, and not influenced by any other means, so here goes the top 10 reasonably priced public golf courses in the Orlando area:
1. Timacuan is an upscale development course developed in 1987 by architect Ron Garl, the course is well regarded in Orlando, and Florida and is traditionally ranked among the top 20 courses in Florida. The front side has a bit of rolling terrain, unique to Florida, and the back more traditional Florida golf, winding through wetlands and lakes. a few of the holes on the front side resemble Scottish links style with the fairway mounding, and the ability to run the ball to the green. #2, one of the most difficult par 4′s you will ever play. you need to thread a drive to an island fairway, then a 150-180 yard shot over water to a well guarded green. Usually in good shape, one of the lower priced alternatives to upscale golf in the Orlando area.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain is a Coore and Crenshaw designed development course opened in early 2008, except there’s no development here, and none for a while. This location is out in the middle of nowhere, people find themselves here lost, but looking for something else. But the golf course is great. It opened as a private club and a potential upscale development, neither have taken off, and the course is open to the public at decent rates. The course is still well maintained even though there’s essentially no revenue so play it soon, it may deteriorate. It’s got more elevation than any course in Florida I would believe, one hole 13th probably drops 100 feet, and a par three, 17, probably 50 feet. It’s rolling up and down the terrain, the fairways bordered by full grown fescue, waste areas, a couple wetlands, and sparse trees. The fairways are fair and open, but don’t look so from the tee. Since we’re always playing flat courses here, it’s a bit deceiving with the elevation changes and variety of lies you find on hilly courses. The greens, there are a couple of postage stamps, but the hole calls for them, the others, large, but undulating, a couple of elephants buried in a few, and fast. Overall, great fun, variety, no houses, in fact no one! Gotta play it twice to learn the course management. enjoy it while it’s still around!
4. Dubsdread is a true hidden gem in Orlando now that it’s been fully renovated. Tom Bendelow, a Scot, second only to Donald Ross, designed this course in 1923 and was recently renovated in 2008 by Mike Dasher. The course is a muni, owned by the City of Orlando and operated by Kitson and Partners, and is 2 miles north of downtown, off I-4 and Par Avenue. The renovation was complete in 2008, and left the course with more length, wider fairways, more bunkers and sand, and is usually kept in good condition. The routing is through some tight tree lined fairways, with water on 12 holes. The course was a PGA tour stop in the late 40′s with the Orlando Open held here, with the likes of Hogan, Snead, Nelson, and Harmon. The course plays par 70, 6153 from the tips, slope 123. The price is right, even for non-residents, and it’s an easy walk.
5. Eagle Dunes is a Mike Dasher designed course in a residential community 40 miles north of Orlando. always excellent greens, some of the best in Orlando…rolling fairways with decent elevation changes, forgiving links style course mostly without trees. Reasonably priced, usually good pace of play, and always windy. The first hole is a short par 5 for an easy par, then #’s 2 & 3 wake you up quick, and are a real challenge, especially into the wind. The course then settles down to a nice variety of tough holes, and some which are easy to score on, and finishes with a challenging stretch.
6. Debary is a Lloyd Clifton designed residential development course, 2 miles off I-4, 30 miles east of downtown Orlando in Debary. The course is cut through fairly dense oaks and vegetation, through a series of elevation changes. Interesting course, every hole is different and challenging, and water only on 9 & 18, two great finishing holes. Located on the northeast side of Orlando, rates are a little more reasonable, and the course is generally well maintained. My only issue with it is that the houses are in play that line the course, and it’s a little embarrassing to be constantly hunting for balls in people’s swimming pools!
7. Redtail Golf Club is a private club located in a new housing development with maybe 100 homes built, half of them vacant, out in Lake County northeast of Orlando. It’s about 15 minutes off I-4 at the Sanford/Route 46 exit. While it’s private, they are open for public play, they just don’t advertise it.It’s actually a very nicely maintained course with some parkland elements with tree lined or protected fairways, and some more open holes, bordered by lakes or wetlands. Challenging layout, interesting mix of some more easy holes, and some very challenging, especially #18. It was designed by David Harman, plays to 7,100 yards from the tips, and down to 5,500 from the front tees. another great course and exceptional value. Worth the drive. Played in 4 hours 15 minutes. Staff was friendly and very accommodating. Probably not for the higher handicapper.
8. North Shore is one of Orlando’s many second tier golf courses, the typical Florida development course routed through a tightly packed residential community. The course is located on the southeast side of Orlando, about 10 minutes east of the airport in the Moss Park area off the 417 and Beach Line. we played the course from the “championship” tees, it was plenty long for our game at 6,500 yards, 71.5/132, designed by Mike Dasher. they call their two nines here Classic and Modern. The front side is the modern side, mostly open and links-style of layout with a lot of wetlands, long and big bunkers, mounded fairways, and visually some deceiving approaches to the greens, it really helps to play this side a few times to understand the design. The back side is mostly big, old, tree lined fairways with traditional bunkering, a couple of doglegs with water and/or wetlands in play as well. It’s was very fair off the tee, even though it was wide open, you did need to be in the right spot on the tee ball to have a chance at a good shot at the pin. It was in good shape, both greens and fairways, and the prices reasonable. we saw the cart girl twice, the clubhouse was small, but functional with food and a bar. Enjoyable round altogether and convenient to most of the area with the freeway.
9. Forest Lake was designed by the Clifton Ezell golf course group and opened in 1994. It is located 30 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando near the Florida Turnpike. The course is flat with some slight mounding in the fairways which produce some uneven lies. many of the holes are framed by waste bunkers, along with 60 bunkers, and water coming into play on 7 holes. The fairways are fairly open and forgiving, a couple of holes go through the woods, and out of bounds only come into play with major errant shots. Yardage from the tips is 7114, with a handicap of 74.7, and a slope of 128. This is pure golf, no housing developments surround the course, and is a good alternative to the higher priced resort courses of Orlando.
10. Eagle Creek Golf Club is an 18-hole, 7198-yard Par 73 course that is located just east of the Orlando International Airport and bordering the Lake Nona golf course and community. The course is a development course in the Eagle Creek community of upscale homes, and was designed by golf course architects Ron Garl of the U.S. and Howard Swan of Europe. The course features five Par 5′s, five sets of tees and over 90 bunkers and massive bulkheads that are reminiscent of those found in Scotland. Eagle Creek’s golf course in Orlando is a member of the Audubon International Silver Signature Program.
That’s a good list of the top 10 most affordable and best golf courses you can play in Orlando. there will be some differences of opinions as there always are when more than one golfer’s in the conversation, maybe Harmony Preserve, Bridgewater, or Remington should have been included. But hey, given the current conditions, ratings, and reviews by the members of Forelinkstes, then didn’t make the current cut! Cheers everyone, if you have comments or suggestions, please register them below in the comments section.