Tag Archives: Arnold Palmer

The Legends Course at Orange Lake Resort – A Great Value in the Orlando Area

Odds are that Kemmons Wilson is not a household name or even a name that comes up every now and then in golf locker rooms around the country, but believe it or not, the man had a lot to do with the proliferation of professional golf in the US. Wilson is the founder of Holiday Inn and if you were to ask any professional golfer from the 50’s and 60’s, you’ll probably hear stories of how Holiday took them in and gave them a place to stay while they competed.

On the other hand, the name Arnold Palmer is a household name; it’s probably safe to say that, because he dabbled in so many other things beside golf, his name is well-known outside of golf too. Arnold Palmer has arguably done as much for golf as anyone else.

Put these two together and what do you get? The Legends Course at Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Orange Lake Resort is known for upscale condo-style accommodations, villas and timeshares as well as a complete array of amenities that include swimming pools, tennis, miniature golf, a fitness center, lots of dining and meeting room options, 2 championship 18-hole golf courses and two executive courses; one that is lit for night play.

Arnold Palmer Design Group built the Legends Course. There are five sets of tees to challenge men and women of all abilities. The Back Tees measure 7,072 yards with a slope rating of 132 and a course rating of 72.2. I found the Blue Tees at 6,263 yards (71.1/124) was the perfect length for my game and allowed me to leave with a little dignity still intact. Seniors will be challenged at 5,780 yards (68.7/120) while ladies will enjoy the Yellow Tees (5,188/92.3/120). Pick the tees that best match your game and you’re sure to have a good time.

The Legends Course is a tale of two nines. The front side – sometimes referred to as the Links Nine – features wide fairways with significant landing areas and lots of rolling terrain. The Links Nine is much longer than the back (Pines) nine and has a real resort feel as it winds through the various lodging options of the resort. Water comes into play on about 4 holes on the outward nine as opposed to 7 of nine holes on the inward side. Many of these water hazards are pressed up against the greens and create precarious approach shots. The Pines Nine also features several fairways lined with Florida pines and majestic live oak trees that create narrow corridors off the tee. Several holes feature rock retaining walls that front the greens – a Palmer Design trademark.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 18: Par 5, 400 yards (Blue Tees). This long, dogleg left features water on the left side that starts into play about 250 yards off the tee. There is also fairway bunker in play on the left side off the tee and a waste bunker on the right. A good tee shot will still leave a long to mid-iron into and elevated green protected by sand and water on the left and a lot of mounding on the right.

Favorite Par 3: Number 3, 200 yards (Blue Tees). This long par 3 plays slightly downhill, but not quite a club less. It’s well protected on either side by deep-lipped bunkers that can make for a tough sandy. This can be a tough hole on a windy day, so choose your club wisely off the tee.

Favorite Par 4: Number 13, 375 yards (Blue Tees). Aesthetically, this signature hole is probably the nicest hole on the course. Your tee shot is blind and uphill; just aim for the middle of the fairway. From there, you should have a mid-iron downhill over water into a large multi-tiered green that features a lot of undulation. It’s a fun hole to look at; it’s even better to play!

Favorite Par 5: Number 4, 565 yards. Number 4 doglegs to the right and then back to the left, with all kinds of trouble along the way. It’s a double dogleg that features water on the right off the tee that comes into play if you try to get greedy. Steer clear of the water off the tee and you’ll have plenty of room for your layup shot. As the hole makes the second dogleg, you’ll be faced with a large waste bunker on the left side. If your approach shot is in the 150+ yards range, you’re facing a blind approach shot into a very small green protected front right and left by bunkers and water if you go long.

Last Word: The Legends Course at Orange Lake Resort is anything but your typical resort course. There are a lot of doglegs – both right and left – that require both length and accuracy to set up a second shot. There are a lot of elevation changes – 10 feet is a lot in this part of Florida – that create blind tee shots and layups. Large lips on many of the bunkers add a bit of difficulty getting it close out of the sand. And the greens – although a little on the slow side – feature a lot of undulation. Several have ridges in the middle that create multiple tiers. Another atypical feature about the Legends Course is the small greens; they really test your accuracy.

After your round, be sure to stop by the Legacy Grill, located in the Legend’s clubhouse. Guests can relax either indoors or out in the comfortable sports-themed setting. Enjoy food and drink with friends and family, all served by a friendly, knowledgeable staff. The restaurant is open from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, so breakfast, lunch and dinner are all in play. The menu is vast and has something for even the most discriminating of pallets. They also serve all your favorite post-golf libations.

The next time you find yourself in the Disney area with your golf clubs and several hours to kill, give the Legends Course at Orange Lake Resort a call at (407) 239-1050 or visit the website, www.orangelakegolf.com.

Meeting Arnold Palmer … My Story

The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational, the first held since Arnold Palmer’s passing in September of 2016, will be one filled with tributes, memories, and stories of the great Arnold Palmer. A winner of 92 professional tournaments, Mr. Palmer was admired by golfers worldwide for the kindness he showed to the public and for the “common man” feel he brought to the game.

Photo: Arnold Palmer, GOLF.com
Photo: Arnold Palmer, GOLF.com

Since his passing, many have shared their favorite “Arnold” stories with family and friends. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to hear an Arnold story or two, you’re sure to find the common theme of how Mr. Palmer made them feel like they were the stars, not him. He had a very special gift to really connect with people and my story is no different.

Meeting Arnold Palmer

It was 1998 in Augusta, Georgia at the Masters. To immediately get rid of any airs, I was stationed at Fort Gordon, in Augusta, and was working security at the Masters as a part-time job during the tournament. Myself, and a friend from Fort Gordon, were assigned to the practice range and the member’s parking lot, right next to the clubhouse. It was a pretty sweet gig and one in which you get to see all the professionals move in and out of the clubhouse. However, as you quickly find out, remaining vigilant and standing on your feet for hours on end, rapidly becomes a job.

Photo: Augusta National, Augusta.com
Photo: Augusta National, Augusta.com

As the Masters week progresses, the crowds get larger at Augusta. By Wednesday, and the Par 3 contest, the mostly reverent patrons begin to morph into less reverent and more “mashed potatoes” stereotypes. Although foolishness is less tolerated at Augusta than other tour events, there is still a priority on allowing golf fans to be fans and letting patience with the crowds rule the day.

By Thursday, I was tired, my feet were sore, but the tournament was in full swing and the excitement around the grounds of Augusta had an almost energy unto itself. The morning was overcast with only nature’s silence around the clubhouse, and it was then, that I (really we) met Mr. Palmer.

We saw Mr. Palmer exit the clubhouse and begin to walk toward us. He beelined a path straight for me, and for a panicked second, I wondered if I had done something wrong. Mr. Palmer came up and extended his hand in greeting and said, “Hello, I’m Arnold Palmer. It’s nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

It’s at this point, when you meet someone famous – who obviously doesn’t have to explain who they are, or introduce themselves – that your inside voice goes crazy, but somehow, you extend your hand and shake his confidently and answer, “I’m Keith Cook. It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Palmer.”

Mr. Palmer then extended his hand and offered the same greeting and introduction to my friend, Tom, who was just as taken aback. I think we were both still wondering if he wanted something, or if we had done something wrong. And you know what? He did want something.

“I wanted to take a moment and thank both of you for your service to our country,” he said.

You see, Mr. Palmer found out (probably well before 1998) that many Fort Gordon military personnel work at the tournament every year for a little extra money. He told us he liked to take the time, when he could, to thank those who served. Even though we weren’t the first, or I’m sure the last, we felt very special. The kind of special many people describe when they talk about meeting Arnold Palmer.

Photo: Arnold Palmer, USCG.mil
Photo: Arnold Palmer, USCG.mil

We thanked him for his kind words and then caught him off guard a little, because we knew he had served in the Coast Guard. You could tell he was surprised when we thanked him for his service as well, but he just smiled and said, “Thank you, it was a long time ago, but thank you.”

We chatted with Mr. Palmer for a few more minutes. Silly conversations about the tournament, the weather, and about how we loved golf, too. The entire time both of us trying to seem cool, but knowing we were actually in the presence of coolness itself.

As Mr. Palmer walked away, and then back into the clubhouse, I remembered what it felt like to shake his hand, how genuine he was, and how special and important he made us both feel in that moment.

Mr. Palmer will be sorely missed this year, at his tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, something tells me the void will be filled – even if just a little – by the stories of how Mr. Palmer made others feel so special.

#LifeWellPlayed #ArniesArmy

Image: Arnold Palmer, GolfChannel.com
Image: Arnold Palmer, GolfChannel.com

BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer and contributing editor at thelocalgolfer.com since 2013. Follow Keith @KeithCookWriter on Facebook or @_KeithCook on Twitter.

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Citizen Palmer


Global Golf Calendar

I watched the debate last night, but only after seeing “Arnie” through again on the Golf Channel. I let the DVR cover the early-round insults and lies while I made sure I hadn’t missed any segments in the 2014 mini-series about Arnold Palmer, which was looping continuously on Monday, the day after his death.

Just checked — the Golf Channel has moved on to the Ryder Cup, and Brandell Chamblee and David Duval were arguing, not all that civilly.

CNN hadn’t moved on past the debate as of today, worrying over the winner and the loser, as if it was something other than obvious or all too obvious, I couldn’t tell which at a glance, which means they can keep it up well into October, until the next debate.

We wonder about police shooting black men and how we should feel when Colin Kaepernick insists on a protest. Speech is free, opinion is cheap, and what I know is Kaepernick didn’t play Sunday when the Seahawks drummed the 49ers. I know the smartest voice in this debate, Doug Baldwin, caught eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Arnie was a Republican, everybody knows that, but he came from another era of the party, another lifetime, when it could claim Abraham Lincoln and keep a straight face. His politics were closer to the old-language roots — Middle English politic, Greek politikos — which meant things like civic, civil, the commonwealth, citizen.

Today we speak truth to power, or some of us think we do, while others of us speak power over the powerless. Arnie seemed to speak in the Old Latin — populus … people. Golf was incidental to Arnie’s power, which drew from the people and radiated back among them. He was of the people, about which there can’t be much debate.

Next week in golf

Web.com Tour
Oct. 6-9: Web.com Tour Championship, Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Fla.

PGA Champions Tour
Oct. 7-9: Toshiba Classic, Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.