Looking for a break from the theme parks around Orlando? Whether you want to stay close or you’re willing to drive a bit, there are several courses available that appear on the Golfweek’s Best rankings of top public-access layouts in Florida.
But it’s not as easy as pulling up our state-by-state rankings, which lists Florida courses that might be a full day’s drive away from Central Florida. We wanted to focus on the eight top-ranked courses that, while they might require golfers spend up to 90 minutes in the car, are within reasonable driving distance.
For the purpose of this exercise, we limited driving time to within 90 minutes of Disney World. Why 90 minutes? Because it can take a while to get anywhere around Orlando, especially if you’re stuck on Interstate 4, so 90 minutes seemed like a reasonable amount of time in a car to reach great golf.
And why Walt Disney World Resort? Because chances are if you’re visiting Orlando, you will be bunking up not far from that entertainment giant’s theme parks or Universal Orlando nearby.
We used Google Maps for its drive times, keying in Walt Disney World Resort at a time with no significant traffic slowdowns. Take all drive times around Orlando and Central Florida with a grain of salt, of course, as backups frequently happen.
None of this is to say there aren’t plenty of other worthy places to play around Orlando. As a nearby resident, this author will attest to the simple pleasures to be found at Winter Park Golf Course – frequently called WP9 – just north of downtown Orlando. The short nine-holer is one of the most fun two hours you’re likely to spend on a golf course.
Included with this list is a general map of where to find all these courses. Each one on the list below is represented with a number on the map – keep scrolling to see the numbers.
Included with each course is its position in Florida on the Golfweek’s Best public-access list. For any course that appears on our other popular rankings lists, those positions are included as well.
A little background: The hundreds of members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them on 10 criteria on a points basis of 1 through 10. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings are averaged to produce all our Golfweek’s Best course rankings.
The courses on this list allow public access in some fashion, be it standard daily green fees, through a resort or by staying at an affiliated hotel. If there’s a will, there’s a tee time – no membership required.