When I think of the name Waldorf Astoria, I immediately imagine luxury and service. Well that is what you experience at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. From the moment I first arrived on property, I could tell this would be an elevated round of golf.
The very first thing I noticed, once the sun rose over the pines was that this golf course would be meticulously maintained throughout the property. Even the practice facility was a sign that very few blades of grass would be out of place.
As you would expect in Florida, sand and water was a major factor throughout the round, with lakes and water in play on more holes than not. Thankfully for me the banks leading to water were not shaved as tight as those at Augusta which saved me three balls throughout the round.
Choosing a favorite hole or holes proved to be more of a challenge than I thought heading in. Many of the holes provide a fun risk-reward component when challenging fairway bunkers and cutting off doglegs. In that regard, my two favorite holes would be 13 and 15. Both doglegs to the left, for a big hitter, the 13th green could be reachable. For me it took all I had to clear the water by 3 yards, which still left me only about 40 yards and an awkward stance to hit it close for a birdie putt. A more sensible play would have been hitting it straight down the fairway leaving 80 yards out. The Par-4, 15th, also a dog left, has a well placed bunker down the left side and tight to the water. The more right you aim, the longer your approach shot becomes, but the left bunker is no gimme to carry. For the 2nd time in 3 holes I was saved by the bank on the water not being like a putting green and was able to make a great par despite my awkward stance near the water.
Each of the Par-5’s proved to be fun to play and very strategic. Again with this Rees Jones design, fairway bunkers were always in play with Driver and with slightly elevated greens throughout it was unlikely you would run a ball up to the green. The Par-5, 18th was the first time I even considered going for it in two, but even that was not a well thought out move as the green was extremely well protected making the opening of the putting surface very narrow with deep bunkers on either side. It took a blast that was inches from coming back to my feet to have a prayer at still making birdie.
Jones did not settle for flat, easy to read putting surfaces either, and this may be the real defense for this golf course despite the acres of sand and water. Absolutely fair throughout, but very difficult as a first time player to know where you want to be on the greens. Even 10 footers on the wrong side left you with a make or have 6 feet coming back. But when they roll as smoothly as these greens did, the challenge was on you hitting a good putt, because the ball went exactly where you hit it.
Overall, the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club offered an exceptional golfing experience. It exceeds all expectations in service and course conditions and it is a truly fun tee to green challenge that I will definitely take on again.
In addition to the golf experience the property is part of the Bonnet Creek area near Disney and offers a first class Hilton Hotel with possibly the finest pool I have ever experienced at a resort. Next door to the Hilton is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel which is connected to the Hilton by an enormous convention center that could handle events of any size. Regardless of the Hotel you choose, the Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek is a perfect choice for families or golf trips in Orlando.
To learn more about the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club visit – www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com