ChampionsGate Golf Club

ChampionsGate Golf Club - The One-Stop Golf GetawayOnce best known as the home of the world’s most famous mouse, the Orlando area has emerged the past couple of years as the premier golf destination in the United States. Countless world-class courses, resorts and memorable golf events have taken the Central Florida golf industry out from the shadow of theme parks and tourist traps and onto every avid golfer’s must-do list.

Perhaps no other facility better exemplifies this golf growth than Champions Gate, which in a little less than 10 years has grown from a quiet 36-hole golf facility located only a couple miles from the gates to Disney into a serious golf resort that is home to 36 holes of championship golf, a world-renowned golf school and a luxurious hotel.

During the past several years, change has certainly come to ChampionsGate as it has Orlando in general. The home to two Greg Norman crafted golf courses, ChampionsGate is now just as renowned as the host of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and the spectacular Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The resort is now a sanctuary of sorts, far enough from the area’s hot tourists stops to provide a quiet golf retreat, and close enough to all that action that golf and nightlife can perfectly co-exist.

Its spectacular growth notwithstanding, the main drawing card at ChampionsGate remains Norman’s fantastic golf courses – The National and International. Amazingly, on one shared piece of land Norman managed to craft two golf courses that share in common only, well, the land they sit upon.

The International is a European-inspired layout that pays homage to the designs of the Old World. By contrast, the National is an American-style tract rooted in the fundamentals of modern course design. The stark difference in design delighted Norman who called it “a rare opportunity to create two very different courses on a single site.”

The combination of the two courses, which received 4 ½ stars in Golf Digest’s 2007 Places to Play, and the addition of Champions-Gate’s newest amenities, earned ChampionsGate a spot on Conde Nast Magazine’s 2006 Top 100 Golf Resorts in the World. Just over four years old, the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is a 720-room luxurious hotel that offers visitors stunning views of the golf course, a European Spa, several restaurants and lounges and a beautiful pool with an 850-foot lazy river.

ChampionsGate Golf Club - The One-Stop Golf Getaway

With the addition of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, ChampionsGate is not only an amazing place to play golf, but a perfect place to learn the game. On any given day, visitors might see Leadbetter students such as Michelle Wie or Trevor Immelman working on their games. The world headquarters of the David Leadbetter Golf Academies, the ChampionsGate facility features a four-acre practice facility designed to accommodate groups of all sizes and players of all skill levels.

ChampionsGate has garnered rave reviews as the annual host of the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge. The event, which pits current and former PGA TOUR and Champions Tour stars playing alongside their sons over 36 holes of competition, is among the most popular in golf’s “challenge season” and is nationally televised each year on NBC. This year’s event, which features a two-day father/son pro-am and two days of competition, is slated for Dec. 4-7 on the International Course.

Clearly, to host an event of this magnitude, the International Course is one of great pedigree. This classic links design features hundreds of pot bunkers, most of them small but very deep, that await errant shots at every strategic place imaginable. With its sharply-mounded moguls that frame the fairways, its treacherous berms and thick rough, the International truly is unlike just about any other course in Florida.

Norman crafted the International to play hard and fast, forcing players to not only consider what the ball might do in the air, but how it will roll once it lands. The end result is a true links layout that demands equal parts distance and accuracy and a whole lot of confidence. The International features small greens, but in true Norman style they are accessible to a variety of approach shots and provide areas to miss and still get up and down to save par.

Stretching to more than 7,363 yards, and with no trees to block the Central Florida winds, the International is favored by players seeking the greatest challenge to their game and tends to play at least two to three shots more diffi cult than its sister course.

For its part, the National poses every bit the challenge of the International, albeit a different one altogether. Rolling its way through 200 acres of southern woodlands, wetlands and orange groves, The National features generous landing areas and green complexes that are elevated but only gently sloped to allow for variation in approach shots.

ChampionsGate Golf Club - The One-Stop Golf Getaway

In crafting the National, Norman created tight, tree-lined fairways, multiple hazards and sunken greens, all of which require accuracy, imagination and nerve. Though anywhere from 200 to 350 yards shorter than the International, the National possesses an impressive and scenic collection of par-3s that rival any in Central Florida.

Both the International and National courses are served by the elegant and spacious ChampionsGate clubhouse, home to Piper’s Grille, a full service restaurant and bar that offers one of the largest lunch menus you’ll find at any golf course in the area. The clubhouse also offers a fully-stocked pro shop featuring the finest names in golf apparel and equipment.

The distinguishing characteristics of ChampionsGate go well beyond the imagination and challenge of the Norman designs. The resort has earned a reputation for providing the highest level of customer service that begins with valet service at the clubhouse door to cold towel service in the summer and GPS systems on all the carts.

With 36 holes available daily, Cham-pionsGate can host all its regular visitors and hundreds of business and charity outings annually. Full time event planners and golf professionals can customize a gathering as small as a foursome or up to 288 players. There’s no lip service paid to customer service at Champions Gate, the staff delivers every time.

For more information on great stay and play packages through the Omni Orlando Resort, business or charitable outings or just that next round with friends, visit www.championsgategolf.com or call 407 787-4653 or toll free at 888 558-9301.

 

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