The Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando hotel, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel and the 75-acre Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve make up the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Resort Development. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is open to the public, but hotel guests receive a discount. We had heard good feedback about the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club but were skeptical. Would it be another well-manicured but gentle and less challenging resort course? Surprisingly, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is a spectacular tournament-caliber golf course. The Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is the first Rees Jones design in Orlando.
Carved from a sizable area of swampland near the Orlando theme parks, the course sports traditional Rees Jones elevated greens that slope on the back and sides. Long and errant approach shots bound down the green-side slopes and the lack of false fronts allow run-up shots. There are no houses, and the feeling is remote. To increase pace-of-play for a resort course, the rough is minimal, out-of-bounds is nonexistent, and water hazards are all staked red as lateral.
The front nine is the gentler of the two nines. Areas outside the rough often incorporate tall bunch grass giving a cleaner look while maintaining shot difficulty. Rees Jones greens roll off the back and sides as seen on Hole #7 and Hole #12. A fun reachable Par5, Hole #8 is the lull before the storm of the back nine as the course brings its teeth.
Back nine starts with a short Par4 Hole #10, an excellent opportunity for a birdie. Over fifty bunkers throughout the course include fairway bunkers on every hole and green-side bunkers on every hole but one. Many of these bunkers are large sprawling complexes. Water comes into play on twelve holes. As shown on the cart GPS monitor, snake and alligator warnings are prevalent in Florida. Hole #13 is short dogleg left around the pond to an elevated green that falls off on the back and left side into the water or a bunker. The Par4 Hole #15 is another dogleg left around the water with a large bunker complex in the landing area to the right demanding precision from the tee.
Extensive water and woods make an exciting combination of openness and remoteness at the same time. With a challenging layout of memorable holes and excellent conditioning, the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is a resort course you’ll want to play again. Spend a few days here with the kids at the theme parks.