Sorry team but we are back on the golf bandwagon : ). On Wednesday we played the Panther Lake Course at the Orange Country National Golf Centre. We were teamed up with a couple of lads – Shane and Dan. They were good sorts but had a few issues with their golf balls off the tee : 0. Shane was a local and Dan was visiting from California. Shane had served with the US Army in Iraq for a couple of years and had retired – we reckon he was in his 40’s so the Army pension must be OK.
There are three golf courses at the Centre – Panther Lake, Crooked Cat and a short nine hole course called the Tooth. We played Panther Lake which was very nice. It was set amongst native pines, lakes and wetlands. There is also no housing development around the course which is quite unique in Florida.
The course opened in 1997 and has hosted the Q School Qualifying finals a few times since 2003 and will host them again in December 2016.
The Centre is also known for having the largest practice facilities in the country. Putting greens, a short game area and the driving range make up the 42 acre facility. The facility gained notoriety when Tiger Woods bounced a ball off his sand wedge several times before striking it out of mid air 150 yards down the fairway in his famous Nike commercial. Conceived as an impromptu add on as the director watched Tiger playing in between shots of originally scheduled commercials, one of the most memorable commercials of all time was completed in less than 30 minutes. After three attempts that fell short, the director put Tiger under the gun and told him they would give him one last try. As we all know, Tiger lives for a challenge and responds to pressure, so when he pulled off the amazing series of very difficult maneuvers, it should have not come as a surprise to anyone.
A unique event that has been hosted at the golf practice range is the PGA Show Demo Day. The PGA Demo Day is held in conjunction with the annual PGA Merchandise Show held each year in Orlando. During this event, 5,000 PGA Professionals visit Orange County National to see and test all of the new equipment products for the upcoming year. It is estimated that a half million golf balls are hit during that event, all in one day.