Tee it up for less on one of Orlando's top affordable golf courses
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando area features so many golf options that even if you're running out of allocated vacation cash, chances are you can still find a great deal at one of these golf courses.
Consider each of the following venues a worthy destination play, but they should cost a good bit less to play than a Universal Studios admission ticket -- and the halfway house sodas are sure to come at half the cost, too.
Dubsdread Golf Course
The oldest golf course in Orlando offers great value. Dubsdread Golf Course, a municipal, opened in 1923 near downtown. These days, the golf course is still wildly popular with locals, especially after a major renovation project that lengthened the peak yardage and improved drainage, among other alterations.
Dubsdread remains short, at less than 6,200 yards from the back tees, but it's challenging enough, thanks to tight, dogleg fairways, tough bunkers, water hazards surrounding smaller, postage stamp-sized greens. The golf course has kept an ambiance from a bygone era, thanks mostly in part to the tall, mossy oaks that line many fairways.
Windermere Country Club
You can get the traditional, private-club experience on a budget at Windermere Country Club. Now a semi-private club that offers limited public play, Windermere features a mid-length design at 6,558 yards and boasts playability for all handicaps. The golf course has plenty of hazards, with 13 holes that feature water and 63 sand traps.
The club gears its atmosphere toward a peaceful, relaxing club setting in comparison to larger resorts or busier area daily fees. It's also brimming bright this year with brand new, larger Ultradwarf Bermuda greens.
Orange Lake Country Club
Orange Lake Country Club features four golf options, including two championship golf courses.
The Scottish-inspired Legends course at Orland Lake was designed by Arnold Palmer with wide, rolling fairways and contoured greens. It also features five sets of tees, playing as long as more than 7,000 yards.
The Reserve course at Orange Lake dates to 1982, when Joe Lee designed it. But it was extensively renovated in 2005 and now plays as challenging as The Legends, with more water and deep bunkers to navigate.
You can usually book the Reserve and Legends for well less than $100. Pay close attention to the tee times, though, because sometimes one costs less than the other.
If you can't find a tee time in your budget at the Legends of Reserve consider the two Orange Lake executive golf courses, Legend's Walk and Crane's Bend.
Hunter's Creek Golf Club
For one of Orlando's top tournament-ready golf courses that is light on the wallet, tee it up at Hunter's Creek Golf Club. The Lloyd Clifton-design measures a beastly 7,268 yards from the championship tees and boasts smooth TifEagle greens.
The challenge at Hunter's Creek is suitable for some of the area's top tournaments, notably U.S. Open and PGA Tour qualifying and the 2008 Florida State Public Links Championship.
Metrowest Golf Club
Metrowest Golf Club is one of Orlando locals' favorite daily-fee plays and hardly takes a back seat to the resorts in the vicinity. Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the golf course, which opened in 1982 and features more than 7,000 yards of challenge from the back tees. It also has more elevation change than your average central Florida venue, so prepare for plenty of uphill and downhill approaches to go with Jones' signature large bunkering.
Celebration Golf Club
If the golf courses at Walt Disney World don't fit in your price range, drive a few minutes south to Celebration Golf Club, which offers a little slice of a resort atmosphere with a daily fee-type price tag. The Celebration community was originally master-planned by Disney, and you'll see the little touches at the clubhouse, home to a windmill, and water driving range, among other nice little touches.
The golf course was a family affair, designed by both Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his son, Robert Jr. It features some scenic, wooded and wetlands holes and plenty of on-course beautification.
January 17, 2011