Duffer Dan and the Undercover Gang at The Legends
We took a short ride out to Kissimmee to play at the Orange Lake Resort. At this full service timeshare resort developed by Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, there are 54 holes of golf. There is an 18 hole Mike Dasher designed resort course called The Reserve and a 9 hole executive track, also by Mike, named Crane’s Bend. Legend’s Walk is an Arnold Palmer 9 hole-walking course that is lighted. The centerpiece of this sprawling 2000 unit vacation playground is Arnold’s Signature design, The Legends, which we got to play all by ourselves. It’s great to be the Duffer! Where have you heard that before? Let me explain.
The Resort was hosting The Florida Women’s Amateur Golf Association the weekend the Gang decided to venture out. We got there early, and much to our surprise the ladies had just completed their round. Tee times were pushed back in fear of a late finish, but not these girls. They were done, and we were ready to challenge The Legends. After cart associate Roger took care of our bags, provided us with a cooler of ice and cold water, we were off to the first tee. The course ranges from 7072 yards from the back tees to 5188 from the forwards, so the experience of playing The Legends can be enjoyable for both the high handicapper to the scratch player. The first hole is a straightaway par four with a smallish green that sits down in a swale, where a low score is possible. All the holes have been given names and the markers for each hole have quotes from either Palmer or Wilson.
The front nine is more wide open and links style so you can ‘grip it and rip it’. As Arnold would say, “a long drive is good for the ego”, and on the par 5 # 2, you can do just that. The Duffer played the par 3’s remarkably 2 under par. Now if he can just learn to play the other 14 holes like that he would be a contender. For what I don’t know. The longest hole is the par 5 #4 at 610 yards from the tips, and its’ green is set down behind a bevy of bunkers. There are three par fives on the front side and #8 gives you a wide open fairway to the left, but if you want to be bold, you can drive over the edge of the right side bunkers and give yourself an opportunity to reach the green in two. After a beautiful par 4 ninth hole we were back at the Legacy Grille, where you can fill up on good food, cold drinks and good times before, during or after your round. The pro shop is well stocked and has a fine selection of name-brand golf equipment, apparel and accessories. The ladies were taking advantage of their winnings while we there and buying up everything.
The back nine is called the Pines and more reminiscent of classic Pinehurst golf. The majestic trees that border the fairways, and water hazards that comes into play give the course a tighter feel and club selection is a bit more important to successfully navigate the layout. As is the case in all my reports, I must say the back nine is my personal favorite. Mr. Palmer loves to use boulders around his greens when water is near and he embraces the lush greens wonderfully to create a unique esthetic beauty. The par 4 #13 is an excellent example of pure Palmer designthe Island Oak. Remember, “there are 2 ways to get to the top of an oak tree. One way is to sit on an acorn, the other is to climb it.” quoting Kemmons Wilson. The finishing hole is a real beauty, with traps and water protecting the left; this 440-yard par 4 has to be played carefully. Fearing I would put it in the drink if I went for he pin, I selected to lay up right of the water. It’s not often I make good decisions in golf, so this was very smart when my pitch shot landed next to the pin and par was my last entry on the scorecard.
Besides having 54 holes to choose from, the facility has excellent practice facilities and The McCord Golf Academy picked by Golf Magazine as one of the top 25 schools in the country. Every Monday night they perform “Swing’s The Thing” golf show and give private lessons to beginners to low handicappers with certified instructors and Spanish speaking instructors.
The golf courses are open for outside play and you can book stay and play packages without being a timeshare owner. To learn more you can go to www.ORANGELAKEGOLF. com or call 407-239-1050.