Summer means it's time to book tee times on Orlando's top golf courses for less

By Jeff Berlinicke, Contributor

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you're looking for low-cost golf, summer is a great time to plan a golf junket to central Florida.

Magnolia golf course at Disney
Disney's golf courses offer great rates on tee times in the summer.
Magnolia golf course at DisneyGrand Cypress New Course - hole 8ChampionsGate G.C. - National CourseWaldorf Astoria Golf Club - 16th holeMetrowest golf course - Orlando - hole 9Shingle Creek Golf Club - Orlando

For one, there are tons of golf courses close to wherever you might be staying. With more hotel rooms than any city in America except Las Vegas, you can stay pretty much anywhere in Orlando and be within a 15-minute drive from a handful of golf courses.

Second, while they aren't as cheap as the typical local muni, they are in good shape and won't break the bank. The Orlando area lives by the tourism dollar and customer service, and the courses themselves are designed for tourists and are worth the trip.

Low-cost might be a vague definition, but here are some Orlando courses you can play for less than $100 during the summer months.

Disney's Magnolia Course

For as low as $30, you can walk where the pros walk. Disney's Magnolia golf course is where the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Golf Classic is held every October, the last event of the PGA Tour season for players scrambling to earn their cards for the next year. Disney is rightly proud of its 99 holes of golf, but the Magnolia Course is the toughest and, at 7,516 from the tips, it is easily the longest on Disney property.

The Joe Lee design has wide fairways, but there is water on 11 of 18 holes and trees are everywhere. Look out on no. 6, which goes almost 200 yards and, in classic Disney style, has a Mickey Mouse-shaped bunker just in front of the green.

There are four other 18-hole courses at Disney as well as a nine-hole course, so if you are staying on Disney property during you vacation, just check with the concierge and you don't have to leave Disney at all for a great golf week.

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Thirty bucks will get you onto the four nine-hole courses that comprise Grand Cypress Golf Club, the New Course, East, North and South. It's a Jack Nicklaus-designed set of tracks that aren't for bombers, but the bunkers and the ledged fairways make for lots of Florida target golf, with a little bit of a Scottish feel.

Nicklaus designed the course with water in mind and a chance to work on run-up shots. In other words, bring every club you have and be prepared to use all of them. Be ready to hit the high wedge or play it low into the greens, because Grand Cypress has something for everyone. There's also some rare Florida elevation that leads to some tricky approach shots that have to avoid bunkers that surround nearly every green.

ChampionsGate - National Course

Only 10 minutes from Walt Disney World, ChampionsGate actually features two courses and both can be had for $25 in the summer. Both are well worth it, especially the National Course. Designed by Greg Norman, it plays to 7,128 yards and is a classical American course where water and bunkers come into play on almost every hole. The resort is also home to the David Ledbetter Golf Academy.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

Don't worry about hitting into anyone's yard at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club. The course, designed by Rees Jones, winds through a large wetlands preserve and large pine and cypress trees line nearly every fairway. It plays to 71,08 yards and staying out of the deep bunkers is key to a decent score. Summer tee times can be had for $40.

Waldorf Astoria G.C. was built in 2009 and is getting rave reviews as one of the best courses in central Florida.

Metrowest Golf Club

Not everyone in Orlando goes to Walt Disney World. MetroWest Golf Club is located almost right next to Universal Studios and holds it own against any Disney course. The Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed fairways are wide, but missing them comes with some serious rough and it plays to 7,051 yards. The greens are large but extremely fast and water comes into play on five holes while deep bunkers surround nearly every green. In the summer, you can play it for as low as $25 and it is worth the expense.

Shingle Creek Golf Club

Shingle Creek Golf Club is one of the lesser known courses in central Florida, with summer rates hovering just under $50, this David Harman-designed course is long at 7,223 from the tips. Shingle Creek winds its way through the course and isn't necessarily in sight of approach shots, so check the scorecard or get a map of the course. Fairways wind left and right and the greens are speedy. Water comes in to play on every hole and there are unseen challenges almost everywhere.

Jeff BerlinickeJeff Berlinicke, Contributor

Jeff Berlinicke is a golf writer based in Tampa, Fla. He writes for multiple publications including the Tampa Tribune, Golf Fitness Magazine, and the Associated Press. He has also received multiple honors from the Florida Press Association.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment