Royal St. Cloud Golf Links - Honoring Golf's History, Redefining Its Own

Royal St. Cloud Golf Links Since its earliest days, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has paid homage to the grand history of golf, dating back to its European roots. Today, the authentic American links course is building upon its own storied history by changing the course of its future.

Located a mere 25 minutes from the gates to Disney in quaint, small-town St. Cloud, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has long been a favorite of local and visiting golfers, providing an experience few other Florida layouts can offer. And with the recent opening of a new clubhouse and the November 2008 opening of nine new holes, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has never offered more to visiting and local golfers alike. In fact, $6.7 million has been spent in recent and current course and club improvements at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. A claim no other course in Orlando can currently make.

At Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, golfers discover a course that takes them thousands of miles from the traditional Florida landscape to a Scottish-inspired layout complete with stacked-sod and wood-faced bunkers and charming stone bridges. A traditional links-style layout, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links challenges golfers with tight and fast greens and strategically-placed fairway and greenside bunkers.

Not to mess with a good thing, the new nine, which is currently under construction, will blend seamlessly with the existing 18 and will offer golfers the links golf experience they have come to expect at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links.

“Soon, we’ll offer 27 holes of golf unlike any other in Florida,” said Bill Filson, General Manager at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. “We’ll be offering even more of a great thing here.”

While the golf is only getting better, the new clubhouse and banquet space have added a whole new element to the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links pre- and post-round experience. The new clubhouse, which opened just this past month, features a full-service restaurant – the Stone Bridge Tavern and Grill – and a new banquet room – The Royal Crest Room – that can host groups exceeding 250.

The new clubhouse at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links

The Stone Bridge Tavern and Grill seats 85 people and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for golfers and local guests. This new clubhouse surrounds the first tee box, creating a gallery for watching golfers starting their round. Wonderful panoramic views of the golf course can be enjoyed from every window.

“The Stone Bridge Tavern & Grill has quickly become the place to go for a great meal in St. Cloud,” said Filson. “There really isn’t anything like this around here. Put it this way, it was not meant to be the typical ‘19th Hole’ kind of place. It’s a casual upscale restaurant and bar with an extensive menu of exceptional classic American food and drink. We’re so proud that our vision has come to fruition and that people are loving it.”
With the addition of The Royal Crest Room, which opens out onto the beautiful Grand Stone Veranda, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links now goes from a great place to host some friends to one of the area’s finest venues for a large outing, celebration or corporate event.

Despite all the new reasons to visit Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, the golf course remains at the top of the list. Called a “genuine playing experience” by the Orlando Sentinel, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has been the home of the British Junior Championships for the past four years, no surprise given the links feel it’s known for.

The course also features a couple unique characteristics for which it is well know. On the eighth hole, golfers will find Royal St. Cloud Golf Links’ own “Deli Tele,” an authentic shiny red British phone booth where lunch at the turn can be ordered in advance. On the ninth hole, golfers will be surprised to find the face of Hooken-Facher embedded on a stone wall behind the back tees. Golfers are encouraged to rub the nose of this God of Long Drives with the head of their drivers before taking on the diffi cult 525-yard par-5. Rub the nose well, because length is crucial on this tough hole.

“We like to give our visitors memorable things to take with them following the round,” Filson said.

To be fair, each hole at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links is a memory worth taking all its own. From the 570-yard opening hole, aptly titled “Nervous” given the gallery from the Stone Bridge Tavern that is likely to be looking on, golfers get a golf course with few, if any tricks. There are plenty of classic linksstyle bunkers sporting memorable names such as “Spectacles,” “Hoofprint,” “Devil Pocket,” and, of course, “Hells Bunker.” It’s enough to make you want to say a prayer and avoid every trap you can.

One of Royal St. Cloud Golf Links’ unique “feather bunkers.”

As shown in six par-4s that measure 420 yards or more, including the 448-yard second hole entitled “Desperate Journey,” Royal St. Cloud Golf Links places as much emphasis on length as it does accuracy.

The par-3 third, the signature hole, really provides golfers with insight into the nuances that are so prevalent at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. Success on “Little Poison” lies squarely on the tee shot into a double-tiered green with water guarding the front and a steep drop behind. Pay attention to where the pin is on this hole or a seemingly great shot can turn into trouble fast.

Not to be outdone, the fourth is perhaps one of the finest at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. The 417-yard par-4 features a three-tiered fairway that is guarded by 16 bunkers, including a large one on the right side that is fronted by a large wood facing. Avoid the bunkers off the tee, and this could be a birdie hole, find one and you might not finish the hole.

Beyond the challenge of the course, plenty of character has been built into Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, highlighted by the stone bridge that traverses a small creek fronting the green of the par-4 fifth hole. The bridge is a tribute to the Swilcan Bridge at the famed Old Course at St. Andrews Links in Scotland, and is certainly one of many “photo opps” that shouldn’t be missed along 18 holes at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links.
The 461-yard par-4 is home to “Hell’s Bunker,” which obscures the view on the approach into the green.

“Eight is just a long, hard hole,” Filson said. “Even harder if you find Hell.” For a brief moment, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links reminds golfers of its Florida zip code on the 11th hole, aptly titled “Gauntlet of Palms,” which features the only palm trees on the entire course. Golfers must navigate a shoot of them off the tee to find the fairway on this 391-yard par-4.

The 15th hole is appropriately named “The Church.” The 475-yard par-4 15th has always ranked among the toughest at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, but after some influence from the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, it rivals No. 8 in difficulty. Following the Open, Filson oversaw the addition of a “church pew” bunker similar to the famous bunker at Oakmont that was visited by so many professionals last year. Reachable off the tee on the right side of the fairway, the “church pews” have added new character and challenge to this long par-4 and demonstrates Royal St. Cloud Golf Links’ commitment to continually improving the golf experience. The new nine promises to hold many new interesting holes like the 15th. Architect’s drawings of the new nine holes can be seen on www.royalstcloudgolflinks.com.

In addition to the course, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links offers one of the area’s most complete practice facilities, including a lighted driving range with yardage targets. There is a short-game area where players can work on their chipping, pitching and sand shots and the practice greens sits just a few yards from the first tee and clubhouse.

For more information on Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, to view a video of the existing 18 holes and to see the appetizing menu of the Stone Bridge Tavern & Grill, visit www.royalstcloudgolflinks.com. Or call 407-593-7015 to plan to come out and see it all in person.

 

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