Orlando in the winter and spring is a great destination of you want great golf, a great resort pool and great sun. If you don’t want the theme park crowd yet have a complete resort complex, then Grande Lakes Orlando, which includes the Ritz Carlton Golf Club, is a good choice.
Sharing the Grande Lakes Orlando property is the J.W. Marriott, the Ritz Carlton and the Ritz Carlton Golf Club. Guests of either hotel can use either pool, the Golf Club and most of the amenities of either hotel complex.
The J.W. Marriott pool complex at Grande Lakes Orlando is extensive and caters to the more active & family oriented guest.
In other words, you can be sure to find a lazy river.
In contrast, the pool at the Ritz Carlton at Grande Lakes Orlando is quiet and more genteel.
Befitting the J.W. Marriott was the grand lobby and ornate public areas.
The Ritz Carlton Golf Club
The Ritz Carlton Golf Club is available to guests of both hotels, the Members Club and the general public. Directly across the lagoon from the J.W. Marriott pool area, the Club provides easy access for play and practice while the family or other non-golfers in your party are at the pool.
Because it’s a resort layout, the 18-hole Greg Norman course at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club consists of wide fairways, limited rough and large greens. Even so, the fairways were ideal and the greens were firm. Winding through through Orlando’s woodlands and lagoons, nine holes have water as a hazard.
The Caddie Concierge program provides caddies for everything in the group except carry the clubs for nominal fee of $30/player. Also fairly unique is the weekly golf membership which provides seven consecutive days of unlimited golf, cart and practice facility use. Depending on the time of year the price varies from $350 to $650.
The practice area was unusually spacious with untouched turf. On the other hand, the Ritz Carlton Golf Club routinely hosts large group golf events which can impact the course and practice area availability considerably. We were surprised when the practice range shut down at 4pm due to a golf event. However, the staff was amazingly responsive and more than made up for the inconvenience. But always check ahead on facility availability when booking especially during the peak periods.
Surprisingly, the practice greens were almost identical to the course greens. The good mid-size short game area in close proximity to the hotels is convenient for practice sessions.
The golf is very good. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando annually hosts the PNC Father/Son Challenge on the Senior PGA Champions Tour. With a choice between the Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton resort hotels, its a great destination for families who also need premier golf.
Courses should also put clocks near the practice areas when pace of play and starting on time is so important. A distinctive clock tower is a nice touch.