A Complete Guide to Private Golf Courses in Orlando

Fernanda Negromonte

04/29/22


There's little doubt that Florida is the undisputed golfing capital of the United States. Blessed with idyllic weather year-round, it's no wonder why Florida is known as “The Sunshine State.” There are approximately 1,200 golf courses, including public, private, and resort courses, operating within the state at any given time. Florida plays host to 14 professional golf tournaments (five PGA, five LPGA, four Champions' Tour) and is home to more than 150 professional golfers.

More than a hub for professional golf, Florida is the preeminent location for enthusiastic amateurs to fulfill their golfing passion. Areas such as Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, Palm Beach County north of Miami, and Naples along Florida's Gulf Coast feature dramatic seaside settings.

There’s also Orlando, which caters to both golfers and their families near the many beautiful courses. Clubs in Orlando and central Florida afford members an incredible array of social and recreational amenities. Golf isn't just a sport in Orlando—it’s a lifestyle. Below is a complete guide to private golf courses near Orlando.

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge


By far the most famous and well-known of the golf courses in Orlando, Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge claims to be the most celebrated course in Florida. Having first played the golf course back in the ‘60s, Bay Hill would become Palmer's winter home, and he would eventually purchase the facility in the late 1970s.

Home to 27 holes of championship golf, Bay Hill is open only to club members and guests of the lodge. Thousands of golf fans experience Palmer's private oasis as the 18-hole Champion/Challenger course plays host to the PGA Tour's annual Arnold Palmer Invitational. With a beautiful, lush layout, the course is the pinnacle of inland Florida's parkland style of golf, a stern but fair test that evokes Palmer's love of the game.

Additional amenities at the Club & Lodge include a well-stocked pro shop, offering all things Palmer, a spa and fitness center, tennis, multiple dining options, and a marina. Located within the Bay Hill community and adjacent to the Doctor Phillips luxury neighborhood, single-family homes near the club range from $1.5 million to more than $3 million.

The Country Club of Orlando

Photo courtesy of Golf Course Architecture
 
The Country Club of Orlando was first chartered in 1911 to attract vacationing snowbirds from northern states. Featuring an original 18-hole Donald Ross layout, the course and club have undergone numerous design changes and iterations in its 111-year history. The course retains the charm and characteristics of Ross' more unique layouts. A recent redesign has further enhanced Ross' philosophy—small, confounding greens, narrow fairways, and precision golf from the first tee to the last green.

A true country club, members at The Country Club of Orlando, have access to not only the course, but 12 Har-Tru tennis courts, gorgeous dining and ballroom facilities, a 1,700 square-foot wellness facility and lap pool, and a Croquet lawn. There's limited housing surrounding the club, though the elegantly charming College Park neighborhood is a few minutes to the east.

Golden Bear Club

Photo courtesy of GolfPass
 
One of the Orlando area's newest clubs, the Golden Bear Club at Keene's Pointe, opened in 1999 and offers an immersive club experience in the high-end Windermere community. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Designed Golf Course anchors the development and sits nestled among the Butler Lakes adjacent to the 440-acre Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. Seemingly designed to be a sweeping environmental sanctuary, the course can play challenging when visitors find themselves distracted by stunning natural surroundings.

Directly across Lake Tibet from Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the Golden Bear Club is the third triumvirate of private clubs (Isleworth Golf and Country Club, discussed below) tucked into this golf-loving community. The Golden Bear Club's social scene centers around an amenity-laden clubhouse. Amenities include four lighted tennis courts, full-service locker rooms, a resort-style swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness facility featuring a Yoga room, classes, an on-site personal trainer, and indoor-outdoor dining at the club's Pointe 18 Bar & Grille.

The Golden Bear Club is surrounded by the 24-hour guard-gated Keene's Pointe community, a peaceful, upscale development that features some of the region's most opulent homes. Prices in Keene's Pointe start around $2.5 million.

Interlachen Country Club

Located in the artistic enclave of Winter Park, Interlachen Country Club was founded in 1983, with the first rounds on the 270-acre site commencing two years later. A redesign in 2007 brought the course into its current form: a big, burly design that provides members and their guests one of the most serene and secluded golf experiences in Orlando. As you make your way around the 7,213-yard track, you'll note that there's not a house or building.

Interlachen provides its members with one of the purest club experiences. Everything is presented with understated excellence in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The club features three dining options: a resort-style pool, a children's playground, a 2,600-square foot fitness center, a croquet lawn, and ten lighted Har-Tru tennis courts.

Isleworth Golf and Country Club

Photo courtesy of Isleworth Golf and Country Club
 
Isleworth and Lake Nona Golf and Country Club represent the finest and most exclusive country club lifestyles anywhere in the country. Isleworth Country Club covers more than 600-acres, spread across the pristine waters of the Butler Chain of Lakes. Arnold Palmer designed the course, which has long been celebrated as one of Florida's best golf courses. A bold and challenging 18-holes, players are asked to navigate a rolling landscape of lengthy carries and enormous greens, one of the state's sternest tests of golf.

The club features an 89,000 square-foot Mediterranean-style clubhouse. Amenities include six Har-Tru clay courts, one Plexi Cushion court, a paddle court, private locker rooms, a fitness center and spa, an infinity-edge resort-style pool, and numerous dining options. Surrounded by water, the community includes seven miles of shoreline and opportunities for boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and waterskiing. Some of Orlando’s most luxurious homes are at Isleworth, with prices between $2.5 million and $3 million.

Lake Nona Golf and Country Club

Photo courtesy of Lake Nona Golf and Country Club
 
One of Florida's most dynamic and fastest-growing communities, Lake Nona is much more than a golf and country club. Encompassing a 17-square mile (11,000-acre) swath of land to the immediate southeast of Orlando International Airport, the community is a technological hub and self-professed Smart City, home to outstanding schools, extensive shopping and dining, and more than 25,000 residents.

At the heart of the community is the original 18-hole layout designed by Tom Fazio. Regularly lauded as one of the best private courses and top clubs in the United States, it's not surprising Lake Nona has drawn its share of celebrity and PGA and LPGA Tour players as members. The course is a challenging yet fun and memorable test, unfolding through tree-lined fairways and across glassy-blue lakes. Magnificently conditioned, Lake Nona is the rare course where even a poorly played round feels like time well spent. Many locals, who pride themselves on knowing such, consider this the best course in Orlando.

In addition to the spectacular golf, the club boasts a lengthy list of amenities with highlights, including a 40,000 square-foot clubhouse and 18-room lodge, fitness and tennis facilities, resort-style pool, 24-hour gated security, and recreational waterways. The most coveted homes of the entire Lake Nona community offer an uncompromising lifestyle behind the country club gates. Prices start at $2.5 million.

Ready to explore the best of Orlando's world-class golf and country club scene?

Contact Fernanda Negromonte today to start your home buying journey. From stunning Windermere real estate to beautiful homes for sale in Doctor Phillips, Golden Oak, or Lake Nona, allow Fernanda and her years of local expertise to be your guide to the Orlando luxury real estate market. Wherever you are in the process of researching Orlando luxury homes, contact Fernanda and her team today.



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