2017 Will Be Something Special at Iconic Central Florida Resort
2017 is a milestone year for Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, as its historic El Campeón Golf Course celebrates its 100th birthday. The course—which opened its first nine holes in 1917—is an original member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail and was named No. 2 in the U.S. based on Golf Advisor player surveys.
El Campeón—“The Champion”—was built on land formerly planted with citrus groves in central Florida’s rolling hills. Businessman William John “Bill” Howey started buying acreage in Lake County in 1914, built the Bougainvillea Hotel, then hired golf professional and architect George O’Neil of Chicago to design a world-class course to be part of the burgeoning resort.
The resulting Florida Chain-O-Lakes Country Club course was one of the first in Florida with grass greens rather than the oiled-sand greens common in the early 20th century. Such as significant, the Chain-O-Lakes course was one of only two courses in the state built to the regulation length of 6,300 yards. In 1926, the design was enhanced by Charles E. Clarke of Troon, Scotland and subsequently renamed the Floridan Country Club.
Years later, in 1964, Illinois businessman Nick Beucher spotted an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal that ultimately led him to purchase the Floridan Country Club. Beucher renovated the golf course and clubhouse in 1969, and created a new resort inspired by Spanish Colonial architecture.
Mission Inn Resort & Club has dramatically expanded since then: It now now features 176 hotel rooms, fresh-water fishing, marina, full-service spa, three restaurants, and 30,000 square feet of group space for meetings, weddings, and special events. But it remains in the Beucher family, with the second and third generation actively involved in daily operations.
A second course, Las Colinas, opened in 1992. Designed by former PGA Tour Player Gary Koch, Las Colinas —“The Hills”— celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Las Colinas lives up to its name with wide fairways rolling over gentle rises. Its large, undulating greens are surrounded by tropical vegetation, and large water hazards distinguish many holes. Golf Digest named it a “Best New Resort Course” when it opened.
Mission Inn is preparing for numerous other milestones in 2017:
- 220 PGA club professionals will compete for the annual Pro/Pro Championship, the first of four years that the resort will host this event
- Men’s NCAA Division III Golf Championship, the 21st consecutive year the resort has hosted a major or regional collegiate golf championship. And in 2018, the Women’s NCAA Division II Championship returns
- NAIA 2017 Spring Invitational men’s and women’s tournament
- The Florida High School State Golf Championship (Fall)
- George Mason University Invitational (April)
- Mission Inn Junior Classic on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (February)
In honor of the many anniversaries, the “100th Anniversary Golf Getaway Package” the other resort amenities. The package is available throughout 2017, with the most favorable rates available if booked by February 15, 2017.
Rates for the 100th Anniversary Golf Getaway (two-night minimum stay) range from $171 to $232 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. Additional nights may be added to the package.