Orange County National's Tooth Short Course in Orlando gets big honor

By Brandon Tucker, Managing Editor

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — One of greater Orlando's largest golf clubs is receiving high praise for its tiniest course.

9 Holes | Public | Par: 29 | 1563 yards
Orange County National
Orange County National outside Orlando is one of the nation's most inclusive golf facilities.
Orange County National

Orange County National's Tooth Short Course was recently rated one of the "Top 10 Short Courses in America for 2006" by Golf Range Magazine. It was one of two in the state of Florida, the other being the Town of Palm Beach Golf Course.

Others on the list included the Threetops golf course at Treetops in Gaylord, Mich., host of the ING Par 3 Shootout and the Divine 9 at the Callaway Golf Center in Las Vegas.

Bruce Gerlander, general manager of the 900-acre complex, said the short course has a big impact at OCN.

"It is such an integral part of our award-winning practice facility," Gerlander said. "It is a great place for beginners to play the game on a less intimidating layout."

About a half hour drive north of Orlando and Disney, OCN also features two championship golf courses, Crooked Cat and Panther Lake. The Panther Lake course was also the site of the 2003 and 2005 PGA Tour Q-School finals. Both play nearly 7,300 yards from the championship tees. The terrain is also quite unique compared to most of central Florida.

"(The land) had a natural mixture of these rolling meadows and grasslands, then a whole series of existing wetlands, and then a couple of good sized lakes," said David Harman, architect of all three OCN courses. "Incorporate that into some flat holes that were laying there with the rolling terrain, so you had four or five different mixes within the same property."

Opened in 1999, the Tooth Course is kept in the same top-notch condition as its big brothers. It features two short par 4s and seven par 3s ranging in length from 104 to 179 yards. A pond guards the greens on holes Nos. 5-7 and to the right side of the tee on No. 8. Over 20 bunkers guard the greens as well.

This isn't the first time OCN has received national praise. It's ranked as a "Top 10 You Can Play in the U.S." by Golf magazine and is a Golf Digest 4 1/2-star facility and was named "Orlando's Best Public Golf Course" by Orlando Leisure.

Practice is a huge part of OCN's reputation, offering "Learn to Play" programs year round. Their 42-acre circular driving range with 600 spots on well-kept turf is the nation's biggest, and the facility was named the "Best in America" by Golfer Magazine and also features a lighted 18-hole putting course and chipping green.

The Tooth Course welcomes junior golfers all year round, and in the summertime, juniors play free with a paid adult. It also hosted the Orlando Jaycee's Pee-Wee Championships from 2001-2005.

Rates range from $15-25 on the Tooth. Rates on Panther Lake and Crooked Cat range from $60-115 low to high season and include range balls, lunch, pro shop gift certificate and personalized bag tags. Juniors also receive $15 off greens fees on either course.

OCN also has a 22,000-square-foot clubhouse with restaurant, lounge, meeting rooms and an award-winning golf shop. There's also on-site lodging with 50 guest rooms and was recently upgraded with high-speed WiFi.

Brandon TuckerBrandon 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.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Tooth

    Michael Feland wrote on: Sep 29, 2009

    I agree that it is a great facility and fairly priced for practice rounds. My only negative comment would be that there are two holes that require carry over water that will not be fun for the beginning golfer. I think it is a shame that a "bail out" area was not considered for 7, 8, or 9. Played with my son and it was very discouraging for him to not be able to play the hole like it was designed. Poor design in my opinion.