ChampionsGate Golf Club - The One-Stop Golf Getaway

ChampionsGate Golf Club

It wasn’t so long ago that Champions - Gate Golf Club was “out there”. That newfangled Greg Norman 36-hole layout seemed to be far removed, on the very edge of Orlando, almost halfway to Tampa. It hasn’t taken long for ChampionsGate Golf Club to now feel more like the center of Orlando golf, and as the Golf Club (also the home base for the world-renowned David Leadbetter Academy) and the spectacular Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate mature into the fourth year of their budding relationship. Champions Gate has become the one-stop getaway that’s not very far away for everyone from blushing brides and grooms to corporate meetings to family get-togethers, with golf as the centerpiece of those gatherings.

Did we say family reunions? Maybe golf’s most famous family festival, the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge is back at ChampionsGate November 29th through December 2nd, giving golf fans a rare opportunity to see Hall of Famers Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, Floyd, Casper and even the architect of the course, Greg Norman himself, play competitive golf with their sons and, in some cases, grandsons. You might not see more smiles on a golf course anywhere, Vijay Singh calling the weekend with his son Qass “probably the highlight of my career to be able to play this tournament with my son.” And even if you can’t participate in the two days of pro-ams at ChampionsGate, or attend the tourney in person, NBC has continued its weekend coverage, showing off the unique Scottish links-style layout of Norman’s International course. (For more information, visit www.delwebbfatherson.com).

ChampionsGate Golf Club OrlandoYou don’t have to bring your son (or father) to get to play ChampionsGate, though you’ll all likely have an unforgettable experience if you do. With TWO Norman-designed Championship courses, 730 guest rooms and suites at the on-site Omni Orlando Resort offering customized stay-and-play packages, access to new villas springing up at the Del Webb-developed Bella Trae just across the street, and the aforementioned Leadbetter Academy, the elements are all in place for the ultimate golf experience for a group of four, or 288, yet every one comes with the personalized service that’s been ChampionsGate’s hallmark since it opened. You’ll get more than a smile from everyone you come in contact with, they’ll endeavor to learn your name and make you feel like you know them before your round is complete.

From an event as large as the Father/Son Challenge to the hundreds of corporate and charitable events they host every year, ChampionsGate’s experienced and dedicated staff is used to handling any and all of the details necessary for a successful customized outing. Little things to us are big things at ChampionsGate, like the largest lunch menu you’ll see in any clubhouse at the Piper’s Grille that also boasts a deep wine list including, of course, specialties from Greg Norman’s own label. Or the latest GPS system that even makes the entire course Wi-Fi capable (a great way to keep up with that big game or even golf tournament, while you’re playing).ChampionsGate Golf Club Orlando, FlThe magic of Norman’s design (and this is the part of the world where magic rules) is in its variety. Norman called it a “rare opportunity as a course designer to create two very different courses on a single site.” The National rolls its way through 200 acres of southern woodlands, wetlands and orange groves, offering fairly wide open landing areas and greens that are elevated, but fairly gently sloped to allow you to play run-up shots. There aren’t many dramatic elevation changes, but subtle mounding, particularly bordering the fairways, affects the look, and the lies, on every hole. There aren’t nearly as many bunkers on the National as its sister course, but they’re much bigger and many come with treacherous 6-inch lips, complicating the approaches to the many deep, but narrow greens. Like many of the aspects of ChampionsGate, its little things that make a big difference in your golf experience, like spectacular drainage that keeps the course playable every day, even during the rainy season.

The scorecard comes with recommended tees that match your handicap. Another recommendation is to use and trust the GPS in the carts, which also features a yardage display on the back roof by your clubs to help with club selection and pace-of-play.

The back of your cart also comes with its own bunker rake. If you’re playing the International Course , you’ll soon understand why. Hundreds of pot bunkers, most of them small, but very deep, await any errant shots at the International, which plays between 200 and 350 yards longer and a couple of strokes tougher than the National. While much of the once-wild borders of the tees and roughs have been grassed in, you’ll still get the feeling of the rolling hills of Scotland or Ireland. Sharply mounded moguls frame the fairways and those devilish pot bunkers are surrounded by rough that really is, even at greenside. Again, trust your GPS or yardage book as there are very few landmarks to enhance your sightlines. The guy who has to mow around those bunkers and berms has the toughest job in the county. Fortunately for him (but not us), he doesn’t do it very often. A couple dozen more pot bunkers you can see (and a few more you can’t) at the 18th, make the finish worthy of that national television coverage.Speaking of stars, you never know which of the Orlando-based Tour pros you’ll might see learning right alongside you under the watchful eye of the swing guru himself (under the signature straw hat) or one of his disciples at David Leadbetter’s Golf Academy, where private lessons, group sessions or corporate programs can be customized for your needs. Leadbetter says that ChampionsGate “offered me the chance to design the ideal golf academy setting.”

The Academy is just steps away from the ChampionsGate Clubhouse, and the Omni Orlando Resort’s spectacular 10,000 square-foot, full-service European-style spa, five enticing restaurants and a 15-acre “playground” featuring two heated outdoor pools and an 850-foot lazy river. If you haven’t had enough golf, this AAA Four-Diamond Resort that’s on every golf travel magazine’s “Best” list has a lighted, 9-hole, par-3 course for nighttime golf adventures.

For more information on the great stay-and-play packages through the Omni Orlando Resort, business or charitable outings, or just that special twosome with your spouse or child, visit www.championsgategolf.com or call 407-787-4653 or toll free 888-558-9301. ChampionsGate Golf Club, bringing golfers together and forging relationships that will last a lifetime.

 

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