When Jack Nicklaus' Tradition Course opened at Reunion Resort in late 2006, it joined two other championship courses designed by living legends. Arnold Palmer's Legacy Course and Tom Watson's Independence Course_Ê were already on site and had received critical acclaim, not to mention the honor of hosting the annual Ginn Open, one of only a handful of LPGA tournaments televised on network TV.
Now Annika Sorenstam has joined the legendary trio with her "Annika Academy." The 5,400-square-foot facility opened its doors in early 2007 and is surrounded by private chipping and putting greens. In addition to being headed by Sorenstam's instructor Henry Reis, her personal trainer, Kai Fusser, has implemented a curriculum focusing on "athletic training" suitable for golfers of all ages and physiques. It's clear that for golfers who like to be surrounded by the game's greatest players, there's no better place than Reunion Resort.
Where To Play
The Legacy Architect: Arnold Palmer. 6,916 yards, Par-72. Green Fee: $200 Disney World is a short drive away, but at times the Legacy feels like you're on one of its roller coasters. Its fairways are the opposite of the flat ones typically found in the Sunshine State. And with housing only on its perimeter, the course retains a wide-open feel. Like to gamble? The par-4 13th measures just 283 yards from the members tee and practically begs you to go for it.
The Independence Architect: Tom Watson. 7,154 yards, Par-72. Green Fee: $200 Watson's first Florida design is a traditional parkland course with a windswept, natural appearance. Standout holes include numbers two through six that border the Davenport Creek Preserve, a heavily wooded area dominated by palmetto, pine, live oak and cypress trees.
The Tradition Architect: Jack Nicklaus. 7,300 yards, Par-72. Green Fee: $150-$200 This Jack Nicklaus Signature Course opened for play in November 2006 and was built in a bird sanctuary, making it not only a serene setting, but a bird watcher's paradise. Wild turkey, heron, egret, osprey, red tail hawk, eagle and owl are regularly spotted on the course.
Where To Practice
The Annika Academy Annika Sorenstam's 5,400-square-foot facility opened last spring and provides students with a first-hand experience of what it's like to practice, train and play like the LPGA's all-time Money Leader. The academy is staffed with Annika's cadre of coaches and companions, including her long-time instructor, Henry Reis. Among the amenities are a modern fitness room, two large hitting booths, video analysis and Callaway clubfitting. There's also a driving range, oversized green and short game area.
Sunsational Summer Golf Package Unlimited golf each day on one of Reunion's three Signature golf courses. A replay round only costs the price of your cart. Prices start at $159 per person, per night. (800) 554-9569, [email protected]
Ultimate Summer Family Package Starting at $90 per person, per night, this package provides accommodations for five days and four nights in one of Reunion's luxurious homes. Also included is two days admission to one of Orlando's theme parks, credit toward any resort amenity, complimentary access to Reunion's five-acre water park and much more. (866) 582-3877
Out Of Bounds: Ginn Open
Every April, just after the Masters, Reunion hosts the 72-hole Ginn Open. Attracting the LPGA_â__ðs top players, including Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, the Ginn has quickly become one of the Tour's most prestigious tournaments, in part because of its large purse and venue. The 2008 Ginn Open boasted the third largest purse on the LPGA Tour at $2.6 million. Disney World is just 15 minutes away in nearby Orlando. Hammock Beach, Ginn's sister resort, is located a little over 100 miles away and features a Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson course.
Golf Clubs Away!
Tired of lugging your sticks with you on vacation? You're not alone. If there's one thing that can ruin your golf vacation, it's the anxiety that comes with hauling your precious clubs with you._Ê
A New York City company is hoping to allay golfers' fears with a new service called GolfClubsAway.com. Just log on to their website either before or during your vacation, and select a set of Callaway, Cobra or Nike clubs (left-handed available). Golf Clubs Away will send them to your hotel, and when your vacation ends, all you have to do is give them to the hotel staff and they'll do the rest. You don't even need to bring balls or tees with you, they come with your rental.
Shipping is free and clubs only cost $35 to $45, depending on your brand preference. Nike golf shoes are also available for just $6.50 a day.
Service is currently available only in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties—perfect if you're heading to the Orlando area to play Reunion, but more destinations are on the way, including South Carolina.