Today we headed north to Bella Collina Golf Club in Montverde. You know the place is pretty swanky when there is a guard on the gate and you have to hand over ID just to enter. The Grand Bella Collina Clubhouse — designed by Mike Marsh, the acclaimed clubhouse designer of renowned clubs such as The Bridges, Cherry Hills Country Club and Pronghorn – is a Tuscan inspired facility encompassing six buildings. It felt like we were walking into an old Italian village.
The golf course was designed by Nick Faldo and is long off the Championship Tees, not that we were going to be attempting those. The guy that set us up on the cart told us the course was tough – great! The first hole did look pretty intimidating with quite a big left to right slope with all these bunkers waiting at the bottom of the slope for your ball. We both managed to stay left and par the hole. There were definitely some long holes but we didn’t find it too bad and both scored pretty well.
Bella Collina is nestled amongst orange groves and woodlands, overlooking the vineyards of Central Florida and two lakes, Lake Apopka and Lake Siena. Bella Collina rests on 1,900 acres of rolling hills providing a natural and serene setting for those wishing to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are some very large Italian inspired houses dotted around the course. I just did some research on the development and it seems Bella Collina was badly affected by the GFC in 2007 hence why there are so few houses. Lakeview lots sold for millions of dollars at the peak but then traded just a few years later for the price of a new Chevy sedan. The original developer went bust and some of the people that had bought sections and built homes stopped paying their levies because the amenities they had been promised hadn’t been developed further exacerbating the problem. The development was eventually sold and things are on the move again but the land prices are about half what they were.
The vision was a beautiful Tuscan village and I hope one day they achieve that as it was a lovely setting.