Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Country Club & Lodge is an amazing resort not too far from Orlando. Arnold’s grand plan was for his members and guests to experience a feeling of belonging to a private club, one where the staff knows them well and where all the amenities they expect at such a club are available for them to enjoy. His vision for Bay Hill Country Club and Lodge has, over the years since he purchased the club in 1976, become a reality.
Bay Hill and Arnold Palmer have inextricably become linked together. Today, although Bay Hill is the home of the “Lion in Winter,” its origins are quite humble. Back in 1960 a group of investors from Nashville, Tennessee, bought the property and 13 months later Bay Hill’s 18-hole championship course opened for play.
In 1965, to promote the club, the investors invited Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Don Cherry and Dave Ragan to Bay Hill for an exhibition match. Arnold, always impressed with the Central Florida, fell in love with love with Bay Hill… and the rest is history. Bay Hill Club & Lodge is the winter home of the Palmer family, and one of Orlando’s most famous assets.
The Golf Course:
One of the most esteemed, semi-private golf courses in Florida, Bay Hill is the home of the annual PGA Bay Hill Invitational, usually held each March. Bay Hill actually consists of three 9-hole courses: the Challenger, Champion and Charger. Dick Wilson built the Challenger and Champion courses in 1961, which combined host the Invitational.
The 18-hole "Championship" course plays 7,205 yards from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 75.1 with a slope of 139 on Bermuda grass. Five sets of tees offer a variety of play for golfers of all levels of skill. The forward tees play 6220 yards while the red tees play 5235 yards with a slope of 128. More than 100 bunkers defend the fairways and greens. The Tif Eagle greens, roll true and extremely fast. You’ll need a strong short game to score well on this layout – bunker shots, high lobs with lots of back-spin, and even the good-old “bump-and-run.” Designed by Dick Wilson/Arnold Palmer, the Championship golf course opened in 1963. Ray Easler is the Course Manager and General Manager.
- Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Golf Course Photo Gallery
The golf course is the anchor for a full service resort that features a variety of upscale guest rooms, suites and cottages. Amenities include the 70-room lodge that underwent a 7 million dollar renovation in 2005, a full service spa, salon, fitness center, swimming pool and tennis courts.
- From $199 to $699 per night, depending upon the type of room and time of year.
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How to get There:
The closest regional airport is Orlando International Airport. The airport is served by all major US airlines, including United, Delta, Continental, US Air, AirTran, American, and Northwest, and by Air Canada and major airlines from Europe and the United Kingdom.
Look for the best airline and car rental deals with these two aggregators, which provide travelers with an up-to-date search tool to compare prices on airfares and car rentals of all ratings:
Contact:Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge
9000 Bay Hill Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819-4880
And don’t forget: there are many other opportunities for great golf all over the world. Favorite locations include Scotland, Florida, the American Southwest, Bermuda, the Bahamas and many more. For up-to-date golf travel news and information, be sure to Subscribe to my weekly Newsletter.
Central Florida offers an amazing diversity of golf courses and resorts to choose from. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge is one I can personally recommend.