Walt Disney World Resort, a business founded by Walt Disney in Orlando in April 1971 that features theme parks, hotel lodging, cruises, timeshare, guided tours, travel packages and licensing, is celebrating its first 50 years with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” - where visitors can celebrate its past, present, and future!
While developing the original Walt Disney World Resort concept, Walt Disney sketched a plan for his vision for EPCOT - an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. On the first drawing – to the right of the property’s central hub with space devoted to the Magic Kingdom Park, resort hotels, convention facilities, and man-made lakes – Disney identified a large area designated for “golf.”
Disney’s Magic Kingdom opened its gates in 1971, and now, a half century later, four unique courses, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM), provide a golfer’s paradise. The layouts are challenging enough for the PGA TOUR, LPGA and PGA of America’s best players, yet friendly enough to accommodate all skill levels at what’s known as “The Happiest Place on TURF!”
““We believe we have a social obligation to grow the game, especially from the perspective of showcasing junior golf and diversity into the sport,” said General Manager Bruce Gerlander. “Our commitment to guests has never wavered. We create an all-encompassing Disney experience while providing the opportunity to play golf where champions have played.”
The four Walt Disney World Resort golf courses operated by APGM are:
Disney’s Palm Golf Course
Picturesque natural beauty featuring shimmering lakes, majestic palm trees and tropical sands make Disney’s Palm Golf Course a pleasure to play and a challenge to conquer. Tee options vary between 5,213 yards (red tees) and 6,870 yards (blue tees) – which includes 59 bunkers and nine holes with water in play, and undulating greens considered difficult to master. The par4 18th hole, featuring a well-protected, elevated green, was one of the most difficult on the PGA TOUR.
Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course
Designed as a classic Tour style course by Joe Lee, Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course is the longest of the Walt Disney World Resort courses, playing at 7,516 yards from the tips. The course features magnolia trees along the fairways, elevated tees, large greens, 97 bunkers and 11 holes with water hazards. All bunkers were renovated in 2015 when extensive tree work and cart path improvements enhanced the condition of the course. Hole No. 6 is home to a Mickey Mouse-inspired bunker in the shape of Mickey’s iconic ears.
Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
Designed in 1972 by Joe Lee, this course near Disney Springs winds through several resort properties, including Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course’s fairways are spacious, but its elevated, well-guarded bunkered greens place an emphasis on accurate approach shots. The course, which plays between 5,177 and 6,745 yards, includes the par-3 seventh hole with an island green and a Mickey Mouse-inspired bunker that was added to the rear of the ninth green in 2018.
Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
A nine-hole walking course, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course is well-suited for families and casual golfers, especially those with time constraints. The course, originally only six holes and known as “The Wee Course,” was expanded in the 1990s by Ron Garl who designed the fifth, sixth and seventh holes to feature water hazards around a canal and pond. The par 36 course is conditioned to the level of Disney’s three championship courses with beautifully maintained fairways and smooth, fast greens.
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