With one of the PGA Tour’s most popular events returning to “Arnie’s Place,” a.k.a. Bay Hill Golf & Country Club, this week — a bit earlier in the schedule than past years — it’s the perfect time for Arnold Palmer Invitational ticket holders to sneak away for a round or two of their own in the golf-rich Orlando region. Or, if you’re planning a trip to Central Florida with the family to take in the area’s many amusement parks, why not carve out 18 holes here and there? Following are five Orlando must-plays.
FALCON’S FIRE GOLF CLUB
No more than 10 minutes from the Disney World gates, Falcon’s Fire is one of the area’s most popular public layouts for good reason: It’s classic Florida golf through and through as fashioned by architect Rees Jones, routed through piney woods and live oaks, over large, reedy lakes populated by plenty of waterfowl — wide-open for the most part, but tricky in spots, especially the first stanza of the back nine. The practice facility is big and full-featured, and if you’ve got the time, slate a lesson from Golf Tips 25 Instructor John Hughes, a PGA Master Professional.