Inside the Magic of Walt Disney World Golf

in Disney, Theme Parks, Travel, Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Golf has been a part of the Florida resort since the first guests arrived to enjoy the new vacation capital of the world. With world class quality down to a tee and Pro Tournament ready championship courses (along with the advantage of nearby Magic Kingdom amusements), golf at Walt Disney World easily attracted enthusiasts to the area.

Today WDW’s four fantastic fairways of (mouse) traps, tees and flag marked holes enjoy the expert operating skills of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, ensuring Disney’s high standards as well as the PGA’s Tournament quality expectations are well maintained. With three full 18-hole experiences and one 9 hole course, there’s usually an available time to tee off during vacation.

Legendary Links

The Walt Disney World Resort forever changed Central Florida when it opened in 1971. As a world class vacation destination, tournament quality golfing arrived at the same time. Thanks to a partnership with golf legend Arnold Palmer (who had just moved to the area) the resort, in its first year of operation, was able to host the PGA Tour. In December of 1971, the Walt Disney World Open Invitational witnessed Jack Nicklaus win the trophy. Of interest, Palmer, during discussions, discovered the Walt Disney Monorail being installed and ended up becoming its first passenger.

Many years later (2011to be exact), Arnold Palmer Golf Management teamed up with the Walt Disney Company to manage all four golf courses.  Palmer’s company even redesigned Disney’s Palm Golf Course (2013), earning the location “Best Renovation of the Year/Resort Category” courtesy of “Golf Inc. Magazine.

Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the photos and list of champions found online as part of the Walt Disney World Golf website.

Fore Course Fun

Walt’s vision for an ever expanding and changing resort benefits from having plenty of room for growth.  Walt Disney Resort’s sprawling Florida property allows for a trio of full-sized golf courses along with one shorter 9-hole fairway. Expertly managed by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, it’s easy to see why these relaxing destinations are considered the “happiest places on turf!”

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course

Located at 1960 Broadway, Lake Buena Vista FL 32830

This four-star fairway (rated by “Golf Digest”) includes an island green for its 7th hole (designed by Joe Lee). In addition to being certified as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary (by Audubon International), Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf course experienced PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events over the years.

Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course

Located at 1950 West Magnolia Palm Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

All 97 bunkers in this 4-star (per “Golf Digest”) course underwent renovations in 2015. Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course carries certification from Audubon International as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course

Located at 1950 West Magnolia Palm Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

The smallest of WDW’s fairways, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course limits play to only 9 holes. Due to its smaller footprint, no golf carts are found here; its walking only on this par-36 adventure. Junior tees dot the course allowing aspiring junior golfers to enjoy the sport.

Disney’s Palm Golf Course

Located at 1950 W. Magnolia Palm Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Palm Golf Course was recently redesigned (2013) by the experts at Arnold Palmer Course Design. This award-winning championship golf course enjoys a 4-star rating by “Golf Digest.” Challenges include water hazards at half of its holes and 59 bunkers.

More than traditional golf games

Walt Disney Golf, with its four famous fairways, entices players on many levels. However, its not all about grabbing the right club or powering up the perfect swing.

Foot Golf

Clubs are not required (or used) for a unique version of the game called Foot Golf! Offered at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, this new form of golf combines elements of soccer (soccer sized ball and play style) with traditional classic golf (instead of nets, balls must be directed to oversized holes on the course). Anyone with the ability to kick a soccer ball can play.  Similar to “normal” golf, the GOAAL! is to get the ball to the hole with as few kicks as possible. Discover details and make reservations for Foot Golf on the Walt Disney World GOLF website for this new and exciting sport. ITM even has a few tips on this fun new sport!

Wildlife Preservation

As the Walt Disney World Resort is mostly undeveloped Florida scrub, encounters with local wildlife add unexpected adventure to golf experiences.  Walt Disney World Golf protects these native creatures as each course is also a certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary. Wildlife sightings include a mother doe and offspring (appropriately named Bambi).

Lessons Learned

For the Serious Sports Fan, Walt Disney Golf offers options for those guests who want to “plus” their performance on the course.

The Player’s Club

Geared to fans with frequent access to the resort, The Player’s Club affords members a host of benefits for repeated rounds of golf and skill strengthening practice (find full details on their website, including Membership Request form, Policies, and Schedules):

  • Complimentary access to all of our practice ranges and receive unlimited range balls
  • Complimentary clinics held daily on a variety of topics by Walt Disney World® Golf Director of Instruction, Michael Schlager
  • Seasonal Memberships are now available – 1 Month, 3 Month, 6 Month or 9 Month options, starting as low as $34 per month!
  • Play Disney’s Oak Trail golf course for only $5 after 12:00pm daily!
  • Cart fee-only access to the championship courses during specified member access times
  • Discounted Guest Green fees
  • Sporadic availability of morning and early afternoon tee times at $25 and $35 rates, subject to availability daily
  • Member walk-up only availability – Now $15 per player at any time of the day, any day of the week, upon any of our courses!
  • 20% discount on food and soft drink purchases from Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Café & Deli (alcohol and tobacco not included)
  • 15% off of all Walt Disney World® Golf merchandise purchases

(Walt Disney World Golf)

Professional PGA  Qualified Lessons

Either full day or half day lessons from PGA qualified instructors, give adult golfers great game-improving instruction.

Half-day directions deliver, in addition to “PGA qualified” instruction, “Shot-making skills development,” “video swing analysis,” and the availability to be custom fitted for golf clubs.

Guests opting for the full day lesson plan also receive (in addition to the perks of half day version), play time on a championship golf course (9 holes), and conversation on course management.

Either election includes the following structured training: Putting Fundamentals and Drills (30 minutes); Chipping Fundamentals and Drills (45 minutes; 30 minutes for full day course); Pitching Fundamentals and Drills (45 minutes; 60 minutes in all day lesson); Full Swing Fundamentals and Drills (60 minutes).

Disney offers discounts for Military, Jr. golfers, DVC members, FL residents, and Disney Cast members. For full details visit the Walt Disney World Golf Instruction page (which has an online instruction request form), Email Michael Schlager (PGA Director of Instruction), or call 407-545-5096.

Disney’s Junior Golf Club

Twice a year, for fans ages 7-17, Disney’s Junior Golf Club accepts applicants for PGA instruction. Camps and clubs help younger athletes improve their golf game. Focus on “short game and full swing development, on course management and performance training affords junior players opportunities to hone skills. Exact dates, current rates and registration form can be found online.

Spring Clubs occur on Wednesdays (from 4-5 pm) and Saturdays (from 1-2 pm) during January and February, over a four-week period. Cost for Spring schooling is $100 per term (with discounts available for DVC, Cast and Military).

Fall and winter months (November and December) deliver Holiday Camp sessions.  These day long training times take place from 9am to 2pm on select dates and cost $125 per session.

SupercalifragilisticSpecials

Deals, discounts and inclusive vacation packages help make playing the championship courses lighter on the wallet.

Multi-Round Passes – for link lovers who are always on the course, Walt Disney World Golf discounts additional rounds.  First round runs regular price then discounts add up for each consecutive round played within 10 days of the first.  Round two receives a 20% discount; those increase by 10% each additional game (up to 50% off for the fifth and future rounds). As with most golf related experiences, additional details and booking comes from calling 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653).

Disney Vacation Club Golf Membership Program putts pleasantly priced playtime in the hands of DVC members. Each package (one per member) costs $99 (plus tax) and grants guests (DVC members) twice the value by including the following items: Callaway Disney Vacation Club® Golf Member logoed Shirt ($52 value); Companion pass for 1 Disney Vacation Club® clinic / accompany paying clinic ($20 value); FootGolf pass for 2 players / one round each ($34 value); Range ball 3 bucket pass ($33 value); One complimentary Oak Trail greens fee ($25 value); One guest pass for free 9 holes with purchase of 9 hole round ($35 value).  A personalized DVC Golf Member Card rounds out the items in this exclusive package. Additional benefits, as listed on the Walt Disney World Golf website, give this exclusive DVC package extra value:

Discounts on rounds of golf averaging $15 from standard Disney Vacation Club® pricing

  • Access to Disney Vacation Club® Golf Member only golf outings
  • Access to Disney Vacation Club® Golf Member only instructional and coaching programs
  • Discounted GHIN handicap pricing
  • Access to golf play dates with golf professional staff
  • Ability to book into Disney Vacation Club® Golf Member only starting times
  • Opportunity to purchase discounted range passes

Sunrise 9 allows early birds to take advantage of discounted drive time.  Tee off between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for 9 holes of golf at any of the resort’s four courses for as little as $35 (plus tax).  This sunrise special also includes a light breakfast (breakfast sandwich and coffee/orange juice/or water) along with a complimentary beer or soft drink when the game’s over.  Single players are encouraged to reserve at least three days in advance in order to be paired up with other golfers.  Reservations can be made online or by calling 407 WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653).

Sunset 9 is similar to the Sunrise 9 by offering a discounted 9 holes of golf (starting at $29 plus tax). However, as dusk arrives at different times seasonally, tee times vary (check website for date range/time listings). Available at all four championship golf courses, this special serves a snack worthy hot dog and beer (or soft drink) prior to conquering the course.  Golf cart use is also included at all locations except Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, where pull carts are offered).

Sign up online or call 407 WDW GOLF for reservations. NOTE: Single players are encouraged to reserve at least three days in advance in order to be paired up with other golfers.

Full Vacation Packages

Three and four-day (two and three night) vacation packages pack all the fun of both worlds into an adventure filled experience. Packed with theme park tickets, room accommodations and multiple rounds of golf, and pro shop credits, these magical bundles bring the best of both worlds for those taking advantage of the savings.  Prices begin at $299 per person/double occupancy. Rates vary depending on options and dates, so be sure to surf over to the package page on Walt Disney World GOLF for all the fine print.

Optional Extras

Golf Carts make life on the fairway easier. For those making last minute plans to tee up (or who may have, unfortunately, discovered their luggage ended up on a different vacation), equipment rental can save the day (or offer a chance to try different items).

Equipment Rental

Men’s, woman’s and junior club rental, in various sizes, includes options for left or right-handed players. Rental includes golf shoes, golf balls (two sleeves for full round, one for 9 holes).  18-hole play time rental will cost $45 and $25 for 9 holes.  Discounts are available (see site for details).

Golf Carts

Traditional two-seat and family-sized four seat golf carts make mobility much easier. Family four-seater selections arrive on a first-come first available basis and must be reserved when making golf reservation. Donald and Daisy Duck branded carts cruise the Palm and Magnolia course while Pluto patrols the Lake Buena Vista location (Due to its smaller size, golf carts are not allowed at the Oak Trail links).

All four of these grand golf courses can be found at the Walt Disney Resort in Central Florida.  As with many Disney experiences, details, prices and availability is subject to change and consulting the Walt Disney World Golf website is recommended. Full details describing specials and other opportunities listed above can be found on the Walt Disney World Golf website, which includes a link to book online (there’s even a page of smart phone and computer wallpaper downloads). Reservations can also be made by calling 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653).

Source and images: Golf WDW, WDW Golf Facebook Page

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