Course Review: Celebration Golf Club, Florida – March 20, 2023
I had the opportunity to play at Celebration Golf Course in Celebration, Florida in mid-March.
Celebration is a master-planned community and census-designed place just outside of Orlando.
The Walt Disney Company originally developed the community. The main road connects directly to the Magic Kingdom.
Disney divested of Celebration which now consists of private house and Celebration Golf Course.
I had briefly visited the course last year but did not play. I remember asking for a scorecard to take and was nicely greeted by the staff. The course is surrounded by beautiful homes in a quiet neighborhood. I have never seen so many Tesla cars in one area.
I had called in for a tee time about two weeks before and it sounds like they share a call center with other entities. The phone rep was pleasant and helpful.
I arrived early and the course was busy, and I found the staff to be pleasant and welcoming. I went to the range with a large bucket to try to find my swing I lost earlier in the week at Bay Hill.
The range is interesting in that you hit into a body of water but there are island targets to keep your interest. I felt like I was seeing into the future of the PGA Tour ball bifurcation as the range balls were definitely very distance-limited – maybe the most limited balls I have ever hit.
I was flushing 5 irons that were not reached the 155-yard landing areas.
We checked in with the starter before heading to the range and he asked us if we wouldn’t mind moving up our starting time 10 minutes to get in front of a group who I think he surmised as slow, It was greatly appreciated as we went to the first fee. I smashed my tee shot, had a short wedge on to the green and summarily three-putted.
The course is designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. It received recognition from Golf Digest as a “Best Place to Play.” Regrettably that award is from 2004, so they probably should retire it or try for a new one.
However, we found the course to be unique, well-designed and in good shape. If there was any shortcomings, the teeing areas did not compare well to the shape of the fairways and greens.
Our starter informed us that the greens were running about 11 on the Stimpmeter and that seemed about right. The greens were very consistent. On the course, you quickly notice virtually no boarder fencing and you can easily observe the many beautiful homes that surround the course.
The course meanders through the neighborhood and is definitely designed for golf car use only ~ not walkable. The course layout takes you across quite a few streets and there is only one underpass beneath a public street.
One of the interesting things I observed playing at Celebration is that this was only the second time I had used the 2023 Titleist Pro V ball. I found that I could be much more aggressive off the tee and hit driver were I might have hit three wood. I found these balls go straighter and longer for me and that was a lot of fun.
The course has clear 150 yard pole markers and a modern interactive hole map of the golf car that proved extremely helpful. I did not lose a stoke due to now knowing where to hit my tee or approach shots.
I shot an 83 and felt that was indicative of how I played. I hit the ball very well and as I tend to do on Florida greens – putted poorly.
After the round, we stopped in the restaurant for a drink. Again, we found the service to be excellent.
In the restaurant, there seemed to be a lot of regulars and they too were friendly and welcoming to outsiders.
The cost – which included lunch and range balls, was about $150 per person. I would say that the price was on the high side for public Central Florida golf and the overall course conditions are also on the high side for public Central Florida golf.
I will absolutely return here next time I’m playing in the Orlando area.