The home of Arnold Palmer. If that’s all you needed to know about Bay Hill, that would be enough to add it to any golfer’s “must-play” list.
There’s no doubt that everyone misses having Mr. Palmer around the property, but you still can feel his presence throughout the club and especially in the men’s locker room, which is a must-stop for a post-round drink with your friends on a buddy trip.
The recently renovated practice facilities serve as a great way to warm up for an unforgettable round.
Your round begins with a long, dogleg-left par-4 that usually leaves a mid to long iron into a wide but narrow green. Your reward for surviving that is a 200-plus yard par-3 with a kidney shaped green with a bunker in the center requiring accuracy and a difficult shot for any middle or left pin.
The course continues to take you on a ride from there and finishes with three incredible finishing holes.
How to finish at Bay Hill
No. 16 is a great risk-reward par-5 that Tour players fool amateurs into thinking it’s gettable in two, but many have walked away with bogey or worse after their second shot finds the drink short of the green.
No. 17 is a picturesque par-3 over the water with a bunker short that blends into the water requiring an accurate approach. Often times, middle-left on this green regardless of where the pin is will be your go-to shot to make no worse than 3 and remove trouble from the mix for you.
No. 18 should be called the Tiger Woods hole. Tiger has made birdie to win here more times than anyone can count, and a long approach shot into a tight green that almost always seems to play half a club longer or you’ll be dealing with the rocks or the water.
Playing Bay Hill requires you to stay at the Lodge or play with a member. Whether you make this your home for your whole trip or a one-night stay before switching accommodations, it’s worth making this a part of your experience.
Do yourself a favor and stop by the bar off the hallway in the main clubhouse and order a Hummer, an alcohol-filled, milkshake-like drink that was a favorite of Mr. Palmer and the perfect way to cap a day at the King’s domain.
When planning an Orlando golf vacation, we think it is worth adding Bay Hill into the mix if you can pull it off. Remember, you do have to stay on property to play the course. One way to accomplish this is to switch hotels during your trip, making Bay Hill either your first or last night — and we promise it’ll either kick your trip off or end it with something truly memorable.