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45 Holes of Golf in the Horizon

By Larry Larsen

South #18 holeFrom the moment you drive into the Grand Cypress Golf Club, the quality of the golf courses is immediately evident.  Immaculate fairways and greens always seem to intimidate the beginner/intermediate golfer like me.  But the golf course quality also seems to elevate my game, and the North/South layout at Grand Cypress was no exception.

These Jack Nicklaus courses have hosted several LPGA tournaments, Shark Shoot-out, World Cup of Golf and Skills Challenge. They have been named one of the top 75 best resort courses in the U.S. and are among Florida's top 50 layouts. That's an accomplishment in a State that boasts more golf courses than people…almost.

The Grand Cypress Golf Club offers golfers the largest selection of truly challenging golf in Orlando, all from one clubhouse. The four unique course combinations are the most diverse in terms of difficulty and challenge.  The North, South, and East Nines will test your accuracy, rather than strength and distance. The original North-South combination, marked by sharply ledged fairways, tall shaggy mounds, and plateau greens perched above water or sand, is a demanding, target-style test. With maximum yardage of 6,983 from the gold tees and a slope rating of 130, it is the most difficult combination of all.  The sportier, more wooded East Nine is more generous, with less bunkering, particularly in front of the greens, allowing for more run-up shots. However, combining the East with either the North or South layout only lowers the slope rating by one!

 I was scheduled to play the North/South combination and was greeted by our starter who patiently explained the pin placements and other interesting aspects of the course. Our golf cart was equipped with the latest GPS technology, complete with illustrations of each hole in full color, accurate yardage to the pin, key hazards, playing tips, and even score keeping. The cart even talked to us, warning us when we were crossing roads! 

We were paired with Brian, a 7-handicaper vacationing from Massachussetts, who drove adeptly from the Gold tees while we played from the front tees (5,322 yards). His game paralleled the quality of the golf course, and he even dropped two fairway chips from 60 or 70 feet out right into the cup. This is the type of player these courses are accustomed to!

LayoutDespite the summer heat, the golf course was a pleasure to experience. My par on the challenging #8 par-3 of the South Course was a highlight. While it was only 123 yards, it was all carry over a sandy waste area to a double green shaped like an "S".

The North/South layout certainly offered a lot of water to intimidate in nearly every hole.  However, the Old Course does not feature as much.  We didn't have the chance to play the famous Old Course, but we did drive through it a bit to experience the layout.

The Grand Cypress Golf Club offers several very affordable packages with and without accommodations. Our golf partner, Brian, had secured a special package at the Villas which offered unlimited golf and villa accommodations for $200 per night.  After 3 p.m., golfers could play any of the Golf Club courses (including the Old Course) for $45. So check out these opportunities by calling tee-time reservations at 800-790-7377 or visiting their website at www.grandcypress.com.


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