Only one resort can claim three signature courses from the worlds most celebrated legends: Nicklaus, Watson, and Palmer. If you have time for one, play the Watson Course at Reunion Resort.
Reunion Resort is an exclusive 2,300-acre golf destination conveniently located near Orlando’s tourist attractions. Accommodations offer the comfort of beautifully appointed two- or three-bedroom villas; three to eight-bedroom private homes; or luxurious suites in the Reunion Grande. Most units border one of the three on-site championship courses. – Watson, Palmer, and Nicklaus. Members and guests of the resort are allowed access. We stayed at the resort to allow access to the course.
The first Tom Watson-designed course in Florida, the Watson Course is the most challenging of the three. According to the Golf Magazines 2016-17 public course rankings, the Watson Course at Reunion Resort is ranked #13 in Florida.
The range was rather chewed up from overuse. Unfortunately, it’s not large enough to accommodate the amount of play. Fortunately, these conditions didn’t carry over to the course as those conditions were good. A standard but small short game area is available. A traditional, parkland course with an open and natural look, the Watson Course offers noticeable undulating terrain unusual in the flatlands of Florida. Watson said “My goal was to design..so the golfer will experience the three fundamental requirements of an outstanding course: beauty, variety, and challenge.” Rough is always playable. No water features exist on the course. What it lacks in water hazards and penalizing rough though, it makes up for with 174 bunkers. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Par 4 9th hole. The angled fairway is guarded by many bunkers that make for an intimidating tee shot that entices the player to bite off more fairway at higher risk. It takes a well-executed shot to find a good position on the fairway.
We found waste areas with bunker-like fluffy sand more difficult than the usual waste bunkers we’ve played. Combining with deeply configured bunkers often on both sides of the fairway require careful shotmaking to stay in the green. While the front nine is admirable, we prefer the back nine with increasing terrain undulation, exciting Par3s, and more challenging bunker placements. A tremendous finishing hole incorporates many of the design elements of the course. Place your tee shot over a considerable waste area to a split fairway with bunkers middle and seemingly everywhere. Admire the towering Reunion Resort in the background. Then tackle an approach shot slightly uphill to a large plateau green strongly protected in front/right by six deep bunkers.
Part of the pleasure of playing The Watson Course at Reunion Resort is the immediate proximity to the theme parks and attractions.