Spring is here yet again. This means slightly warmer temps, but definitely nothing like the sweltering summer weather up ahead. It is certainly the perfect time to get out there and enjoy one of the great American pastimes: golf. Even though it is technically a game, a lot of people play for relaxation and the social side of it. Golfing is definitely something a lot of DVC members partake in when they aren’t visiting the parks or aren’t lounging around at their resorts. All four Disney courses, the Magnolia, the Palm, Lake Buena Vista, and Osprey Trail, definitely offer the Disney experience you are looking for, but with a little friendly competition mixed in.
From 1971 through 2012, the Magnolia and the Palm courses were the home of the infamous Children’s Miracle Network Golf Classic. It was played under several names due to event’s changes in sponsors. Of course over the past 40 years, some pretty incredible things have happened at these Disney courses. Orlandogolf.com published an article highlighting the Top 10 Greatest Moments in Golf at Walt Disney World Resort. Their number one moment was of course on October 20, 1996 when a young Tiger Woods, who was only 20 years old at the time, became the youngest champion in Classic history, starting his journey as one of the most successful golfers of all time. Another memorable moment was when the infamous Sam Snead started the now time-honored tradition of the PGA players fishing on the Disney Golf course canals. The waterways that run by holes Number 2 and Number 8 on the Magnolia course house lots of wildlife (and definitely a few lost golf balls, as well), including large-mouth bass. It was rumored you would see more fishing poles than golf clubs!
The third greatest moment to make the list was when the Palm Course joined the Classic tour rotation in 1972. The very next year, Jack Nicklaus set a new record with his third consecutive win of the Classic. This record has never been beat. The fourth favorite moment was in 2003 when Briny Baird shot an eagle at hole 14 and birdied the next seven holes! (He played the back 9 first). Even though the tournament that year was won by Vijay Singh, Baird did in fact tie the PGA tour record for a birdie-eagle streak.
The fifth greatest moment in Disney gold history was when Tiger Woods won the National Car Rental Golf Classic in 1999. Unfortunately, this event was also memorable for a more somber reason. It was the last PGA Tour event for the late Payne Stewart. He always had a special bond with Disney after he went through PGA Tour Q-School there and won the Classic in 1983. Additionally, he set a record score (61) on the Magnolia course, which to this day has never been beat.
Because of the skill level of the PGA Tour, obviously hole-in-ones aren’t that uncommon. However, the third hole on the Palm Course is rumored to be pretty tough and is certainly not known for many hole-in-ones. However, in 2004, Tim Clark made the sixth most memorable moment when he made a hole-in-one on this 165-yard hole. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for first place; the winner that year was Ryan Palmer.The seventh favorite moment in Disney golf history was the 1993 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic which finished up in total darkness on the final day of the tournament. In order for the men to finish up the tournament as scheduled, the 18th hole (the fourth-toughest hole on the PGA Tour) was completely lit up under artificial flood lights. Fortunately for Jeff Maggert, he obviously wasn’t thrown off by the mishap, because he went on to be the first place winner that year.
Coming in at the eighth most memorable Disney Golf moment, in the 2006 Funai Classic, Justin Rose made 12 birdies and no bogeys while scoring a 60 on the Palm Course where he was on his way to a new course-record. Unfortunately he missed a 14 foot putt and the win went to Joe Durant that year. The ninth greatest moment in Disney Golf history was on the 18th hole in 2005 at the Funai Classic when Lucas Glover had a one-stroke victory on his very first PGA tour. Glover described the amazing moment as surprising and was quoted to say, “…It was my time. That’s all there is to it.” And finally, the number ten and final most memorable moment was in 1995 when the LPGA HealthSouth Inaugural was played at Disney and won by Hall-of-Famer Pat Bradley. Additionally, this event was the very first live golf tournament for the Golf Channel.
Fortunately for the rest of us, you don’t need to be a celebrity to play at this courses; you don’t even need to be good at golf! The whole idea behind the Disney Golf experience is that you get to relax and be together with family and friends and enjoy the magic that Disney has to offer. The courses were actually desgined with amateur golfers in mind. But don't think the courses are easy. Even the professionals have learned to be wary of the infamous "Mouse Trap" on hole 6. That's one time you won't want to hang out with Mickey Mouse! Make sure you check out our previous article on the Disney Golf Courses for more details on the course and money-saving discounts!