Hero World Challenge

Albany


Places To Play

Courses

The best courses you can play in Orlando

September 27, 2022

Other states might boast a better resume in terms of the quality of golf courses, but Florida fully embraces golf more than any other state. With more than 1,450 courses (including nine-holers), Florida has no shortage of options, which can be overwhelming when trying to nail down an itinerary.

Of all the worthy destinations across the state, Orlando may be the most convenient, with so many quality public courses near each other and the airport. Especially for East Coasters, it’s an easy weekend getaway.

To help you plan your next golf trip to Central Florida, we’ve compiled the best courses you can play in Orlando. You may recognize some of these tracks from hosting PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events. Others may not be in the limelight but shouldn’t be overlooked when booking tee times for your next trip. (Note: Streamsong is about 90 minutes from Orlando, and if you're willing to do the drive, that would be our first choice. But these options below are focued on Orlando golf.)

One more general Orlando golf tip for you: Make sure to leave yourself some extra time if you’re driving anywhere near DisneyWorld. Many golfers have been late for their tee time, not thinking about the hoards of Mickey Mouse-crazed minivans they would sit behind on I-4.

Scroll on to read more about the best public golf courses in Orlando. Click around and explore our new, searchable Places to Play hub, complete with course reviews from our panelists.

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge: Challenger/Champion
88 Panelists
Open only to members and guests staying at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the world-renowned Champion and Challenger nines make up the 18-hole Bay Hill course played by the game's best at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The Charger, a third nine, offers a shorter, more open (but still challenging) experience. You'll still find Palmer's name and trademark umbrella logo on the range, where you'd find him on a daily basis.
View Course
Reunion Resort & Golf Club: Jack Nicklaus Course
Three stellar golf courses—designed by Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson—can be found at this full-service Orlando-area resort, making it the only destination with three courses designed by these three legends. A manageable drive to the airport makes this an easy trip to plan.  The Nicklaus Course is generally forgiving off the tee, but small, undulating greens place a premium on precise iron play. Elevated railroad-tie tees and greens, along with the occasional pot bunker, give the course character.
View Course
Shingle Creek Golf Club
Public
Shingle Creek Golf Club
Orlando, FL
Recently renovated by the Palmer Design Group, Shingle Creek uses knobs, swales and slopes combined with closely mown runoff areas around elevated greens to provide a challenging, par-72, 7,213 yards of engaging golf.
View Course
Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club
Public
Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club
Haines City, FL
Southern Dunes grew out of an unfortunate event in 1989, when a 350 acre citrus grove was lost to a severe freeze. Instead of replanting the grove, the group of owners decide to build a golf course on the land. Today, Southern Dunes offers a refreshing design that differs from many typical Florida layouts, where flat fairways are heavily guarded by water. Instead, Southern Dunes plays over rolling terrain with elevation changes of up to 100 feet. Though water is in play on a few holes, tall-lipped bunkers are the primary defense, and many guard the fairways and greens.
View Course
Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge: Panther Lake
Orange County National is a hotspot for public golf in Orlando, with two quality courses (and a third nine-hole layout) and a massive, 360-degree driving range. The Panther Lake course winds through rolling meadows, native pines, and wetlands, immersing golfers in the natural landscape. Elevation changes of up to 60 feet and no housing developments make this Florida course unique.
View Course
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate: International Course
Featuring two Greg Norman designed championship courses as well as a lit nine-hole par-3 track, ChampionsGate is the perfect choice for an action-packed Orlando golf experience. The challenging International course features large greens (made even bigger by a recent restoration) and numerous grassy dunes, giving the layout a links feel.
View Course
Celebration Golf Club
Public
Celebration Golf Club
Celebration, FL
Opened in 1996, Celebration Golf Club was a design collaboration between the father-son duo of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr. The course features generous fairways that dogleg around numerous lakes and bunkers on the front nine. On the back side, there are a few more tree-lined holes, though the fairways are still wide. The course is conveniently located just a few minutes from Disney World.
View Course
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes Orlando
The Ritz-Carlton Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes is the annual host of the PNC Championship, where major champions team up with their sons and daughters in a relaxed end-of-the-year event. Set within the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, the scenic Orlando layout—a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary—plays among pines, palmettos and oaks.
View Course
Mission Inn Resort & Club: El Campeon
Public
Mission Inn Resort & Club: El Campeon
Howey In The Hills, FL
Mission Inn Resort offers two courses which have hosted numerous amateur and professional events, including PGA Tour Latinoamerica Q-school. The El Campeón course opened in 1917, making it one of the oldest courses in the area. The course is situated on steep hills with elevation changes of over 85 feet, and water is in play on most holes.
View Course
Waldorf Astoria Golf Club
Public
Waldorf Astoria Golf Club
Orlando, FL

Conveniently located next to Disney World, Waldorf Astoria is a challenging Rees Jones-designed layout. Unlike many resort courses which are forgiving off the tee, Waldorf Astoria’s landing areas are demanding, with water, trees and native brush lining many fairways. Jones incorporated design features from the Golden Age of architecture, notably at par-3 seventh, where the Biarritz green has a significant dip in the middle.

View Course
Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons
Public
Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons is a Tom Fazio design that has previously hosted the LPGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions. It’s a true out-and-back layout, where the front nine plays away from the clubhouse into the forest before turning back toward the resort. Many holes are lined with dense forest that surrounds the property, making you forget you’re just a couple miles from Disney World.
View Course
Reunion Resort & Golf Club: Arnold Palmer Course
Three stellar golf courses—designed by Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson—can be found at this full-service Orlando-area resort, making it the only destination with three courses designed by these three legends. A manageable drive to the airport makes this an easy trip to plan. The Palmer Course challenges players with undulating terrain, creating uneven lies in the fairways and rough. It features significant elevation changes, including a 50-foot drop from tee to green at the par-3 second.
View Course
Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge: Crooked Cat
Orange County National is a hotspot for public golf in Orlando, with two quality courses (and a third nine-hole layout) and a massive, 360-degree driving range. Crooked Cat, often considered easier than its sibling course, offers more of a links-style experience, with native heather framing the wide fairways.
View Course
Reunion Resort & Golf Club: Tom Watson Course
Three stellar golf courses—designed by Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson—can be found at this full-service Orlando-area resort, making it the only destination with three courses designed by these three legends. A manageable drive to the airport makes this an easy trip to plan. The Watson Course utilizes strategic bunkering and hilly terrain as its defense. With hardly any water in play on the course, bunkers line the fairways, which are generally wide.
View Course
Disney's Magnolia Golf Course
Public
Disney's Magnolia Golf Course
Kissimmee, FL

Tiger Woods captured his second career PGA Tour title at the Magnolia course in 1996, edging Payne Stewart by one shot. He would add another win at Disney’s signature course in 1999. The Magnolia layout features wide fairways guarded by water, which lurks on 11 of the 18 holes. Though the fairways are generally wide, if you miss them, you may be blocked out by the magnolia trees that line many holes. Note: The Magnolia course is currently closed for play, but it's anticipated to re-open in late 2022.

View Course
Mission Inn Resort & Club: Las Colinas
Public
Mission Inn Resort & Club: Las Colinas
Howey In The Hills, FL
Mission Inn Resort offers two courses which have hosted numerous amateur and professional events, including PGA Tour Latinoamerica Q-school. The Las Colinas course has less water in play than its sibling layout, but the large, undulating greens provide an intriguing test. Trees closely guard many fairways on the back nine, placing a premium on accuracy off the tee.
View Course
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate: National Course
Featuring two Greg Norman designed championship courses as well as a lit nine-hole par-3 track, ChampionsGate is the perfect choice for an action-packed Orlando golf experience. The National course—the easier of the two layouts at the resort—plays through 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands and former orange groves. Though water comes into play on a few holes, there are few forced carries, making the course playable for the higher handicap.
View Course
Winter Park Golf Course
Public
Winter Park Golf Course
Winter Park, FL
A par 35 that stretches out to 2,480 yards, what Winter Park lacks in distance it makes up for in dramatic green contours, steep bunkers and moss-covered oaks. As Golf Digest’s Architecture Editor Emeritus Ron Whitten wrote on Winter Park: "Keith Rhebb, longtime course builder for the firm of Coore and Crenshaw, and Riley Johns, winner of the 2014 Lido Design Contest, teamed up to rip apart and restitch WP9, as it is now called, providing it with much-needed character and sterling turf."
View Course
The Deltona Club
Public
The Deltona Club
Deltona, FL
The Deltona Club offers a captivating Bobby Weed design that differs from the occasionally monotonous, flat Florida layouts. Deltona is defined by its significant elevation changes and massive bunkering. It’s worth noting that if you place a high value on immaculate course conditions, Deltona may not be for you. Though the conditions may not meet the level of a private club, we include Deltona on our best courses you can play in Orlando list due to the intriguing design that differs from many nearby layouts.
View Course
Disney's Palm Golf Course
Public
Disney's Palm Golf Course
Kissimmee, FL
Disney’s Palm course was originally designed by Joe Lee in 1971 but was redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Group in 2013 to make the course more challenging. Though the fairways are relatively generous, there’s water in play on nine of the 18 holes. The course finishes strong at the 463-yard par-4 18th, where the approach plays over water, which wraps around the right side of the green.
View Course