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Florida Golf Course Review

Championsgate International Golf Club | Florida  golf course review

General Information

ChampionsGate Golf Club features 2 outstanding Greg Norman designed 18-hole courses as the centerpiece of a tourist/commercial destination, that encompasses 1500 acres of prime real estate just southwest of Disney World. A 35,000 square foot clubhouse includes complete dining and lounge areas, function/banquet space for 250 people, a fully stocked pro shop and guest locker rooms. The world headquarters of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy is also on property - with expansive complimentary practice facilities as a perk to visitors. This includes range balls plus the use of a huge putting green and a short game area with bunkers. Adjacent is a beautiful nine-hole par three course that is lit for night play! The Omni at Championsgate is a world class destination with golf packages available at this fine resort featuring upscale accommodations and amenities. On property are expansive meeting/conference facilities, fine dining, swimming pools with a lazy river and water slide, 24-hour fitness center, full service spa, and recreational activities including tennis, basketball and sand volleyball. For more info on this luxurious resort, visit our page for the Omni (with direct link to their website) by clicking here

Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05
Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05

The two golf courses provide an incredible amount a variety, with the International featuring an authentic links style layout, while the National is designed in the traditional American style with wood lined fairways and strategic water hazards. Both layouts afford private, country club playing conditions - and are always open for public play. Upscale amenities include valet parking, iced towel service, and the top GPS system available - Prolink (on all carts). Guests without their own transportation can call for pick-up service from local resorts. Besides the GPS, each course also has measurements posted on each tee box, daily pin placement information, and sprinkler heads on the fairways measured to the center of the green. Weather covers are standard on every cart - ideal for protecting clubs during periodic rain.

Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05
Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05

International Course

The International is the respectively acclaimed sister course to the National, and boasts the highest course rating in all of Florida - 76.3 (143 slope). This Scottish links style layout features hard, fast fairways and wind swept pot bunkers lined with thick Bermuda grass.  It provides for an incredibly distinctive round of golf - making these two courses a solid duo as resort experiences. Big hitters will delight in the ample fairways rolling along the 7363 yards that can be experienced from the black tee areas. Alternate sets of tees provide a good test for low/mid handicappers on the blues at 6792/137 slope, and the average players should probably opt for the whites which are challenging enough at 6239 yards with a 132 slope rating. Most women and junior golfers will find the course player-friendly at 5618 yards and with a 117 slope rating from the forward tees. In fact, the frequent water hazards do not necessarily mean forced carries - and can be navigated especially from the forward tees.

Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05
Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05

Our round began very early on a cloudy, and we were greeted by a cluster of hot air balloon travelers on the first hole - making our beginning all the more interesting. From the two back tees players will have to carry a water hazard on the opening hole, while from the whites up the tee shot is pretty much hazard free. The fairway is quite open, but the front left bunker guarding the green should be avoided. The par 3 second is protected by 3 bunkers in front and a sand waste area short left. Number three doglegs left, with a tee shot aimed over the trees towards the back bunkers being the recommended play. The fairway is tight, with water coming into play about 100 yards out and a very deep bunker protecting the left side...beautiful but tough hole.  The short par four 4th invites a lay up before the right fairway traps - do it and this is a good scoring hole.  Five is a simple par three, with the water hazard short right not really being much of a factor. The next stretch of three holes could make or break your round. Six begins with a wide fairway that narrows near the 200 yard marker, with water on both sides. Right of center is the place to be off the tee - but the approach on this long four par (496 from the tips!) is tough regardless. Seven is the # 1 handicap - with more water along the right off the tee and also across the fairway 100 yards out - a beautiful hole to look at. The eighth is not long for a par five, but the fairway is quite narrow with mounded rough to the left and a water hazard looming right. Come out even on these 3 holes and you should be in great shape! The par five ninth plays uphill with waste bunkers on the right, but is a very scoreable hole.

Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05
Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05

The fairway on number ten narrows at the 150 with water along the right. Aim right of the left bunker/mounding complex off the tee, for positioning on the approach over a large sand bunker.  Eleven doglegs left along a sloping fairway, with the middle set of back bunkers a good target off the tee. Do not miss left on the approach, as the result will be an extremely tough up and down. 12 also turns left, and presents an opportunity for big hitters to reach the green. Go right at the pin, as there is plenty of room for error just short and all along the right. The wide fairway on 13 narrows near the large waste bunker about 120 out. Lay up to about 150 away and this hole becomes a simple one. The par three 14th presents a good scoring opportunity, as does the par 4 fifteenth. The tee shot on 15 is best played over the left center fairway trap, leaving about 120-150 to the green. A pond immediately to the right and mounded rough left of the green creates one of the most demanding approaches of the round on 16. A simple par three on 17 precedes and interesting closing hole. The par five18th features a narrow fairway that slopes gently to the right towards a water hazard. There are 17 pot bunkers scattered amongst the mounds and hills lining the left side, and three more guarding the green. 

The International Course at ChampionsGate is a gorgeous layout, and one that plays host to the professional "Fathers and Sons Tournament" annually televised on national networks. The course conditioning on our visit was excellent, as was the aesthetic beauty. The pot bunkers, fescue mounding and high grasses make this an extremely authentic British links style layout. Raised green complexes and plentiful water hazards also add to the beauty and challenge. The Omni is a gorgeous resort property, and with the stay and play packages available, David Leadbetter Golf Academy, lit nine-hole par three course plus tremendous clubhouse and practice facilities - this is truly one of Florida's top golf destinations. A Third championship course (also to be designed by Greg Norman) is also in the works!

Omni ChampionsGate Resort 05

For more information on the International, visit our page for the course on our Florida web catalog of courses to play, with a directed link to their website: Click here.
For the Two Guys Who Golf pictorial review of the Champions Gate National Course - click here.

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