Course Review: Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, Florida
I recently played the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes in Orlando, Florida. I played almost out of necessity.
My first two choices were unavailable. Bay Hill was undergoing minor renovations and Isleworth had flow-over from a Lake Nona tournament (Lake Nona being its sister course – much like Kirkbrae CC and Alpine CC) and wasn’t accepting outside play on the days I could play.
I had hardly heard of the course except my Head Pro had highly recommended it. It was a treat ~ and I would play it again in a heartbeat.
From the moment you enter the property to the moment you leave, you never really forget the you are at a Ritz-Carlton. The service is top notch and was never pretentious. It has an Augusta National feel to it in that everyone goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable but everyone has a clever way of letting you know the rules without making you feel awkward.
For example, a locker was made available to me, but I didn’t really need one as my after round dinner was planned to be outdoors and casual and my hotel was only 11 minutes away. I was clearly told it was acceptable to change into your golf shoes in the lot/ or on the range ~ or wherever the hell you want to change them.
The course is challenging and fair. The fairways are very wide but there is trouble around with an errant tee shot.
Grand Lakes is definitely a second shot course. My only negative takeaway is that the greens were punched two weeks ago and there was a little reminiscent.
You have the option of a walking caddy or a fore caddy. You do have the on-cart GPS and generous landing areas. We chose to have a fore caddy and he was probably the best one I have ever had. We engaged him but he didn’t get involved in our conversations, etc. ~ a true, well trained professional.
After the round, my foursome and I felt the need to stay around and further enjoy the Ritz experience. We had dinner on the patio ~ again first class food and first class service.
All of the aforementioned doesn’t come cheap. $305 per person includes, greens fees, carts and range balls but not the caddy.
I feel is was well worth it. When you play at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, they seem to control every variable except the weather ~ which by the way was perfect too.