Today we went to Disneyland, well Disneyland for golfers anyway : ). We played the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World. We had a 10.20am tee time and unfortunately things had got a bit behind schedule and the field was backed up. It was our longest day in the office to date – 5 hours – and in 39 degree heat it felt even longer : 0. To top it off I played like Mickey Mouse at times too! We were paired up with Herman and Hosea, two retired Chicago cops. Golf was not their strong point but they were nice guys and very interesting to talk to about there days in the force. Herman had also spent 7 years in Internal Affairs investigating crooked cops – very interesting. Hosea has a holiday house in Orlando and they were visiting with three other Chicago cops who were playing in the group ahead of us. Chicago PD is one of our favourite programs but unfortunately these guys didn’t look anything like the boys in blue on the show 😜.
There are three 18 hole courses at Disney World – Palms, Lake Buena Vista and Magnolia. Palms apparently has the most water holes, Lake Buena Vista is the tightest and Magnolia is the longest.
Its had all the great tour players play on it – Nicklaus, Woods, Nelson, Stewart, and Sutton. They played the PGA sanctioned Walt Disney Classic tournament for thirty years from 1971 until 2012 on the three Disney World Courses. Tiger Woods won his second PGA Tour event here in 1996. On the 20th October 1996, a 20 year old Tiger Woods began the final round of the Classic on the 1st at Magnolia. Starting a stroke behind four tightly bunched co-leaders, he emerged as the youngest champion in Classic history, the first in fifteen years to record top-five finishes in five consecutive PGA Tour events. It was a clear glimpse of things to come! He went on to win the tournament again in 1999.
Golf legend Sam Snead began the now time honoured tradition of PGA Tour players fishing on the Disney golf courses. The canals that run along the 2nd and the 8th holes were among Sam’s favourite. Largemouth Bass populate the water systems around these courses, and during the practice rounds of the Classic, there are often more fishing poles than golf clubs in players’ carts!
At the height of “Tigermania,” a group of Tiger Woods fans tried to get ahead of the crowd by traversing the woods adjacent to the 7th green. They startled a deer, which jumped into the water at the exact moment an alligator was entering via the opposite shore. The crowd watched in suspense as the two animals disappeared below the surface. Suddenly the deer rose out of the water, jumped over the stunned spectators and green side gallery ropes, and scampered safely into the woods.
Built by Joe Lee in 1971, the Magnolia was field of choice for the PGA Tour Qualifying School finals until the early 1980s. The Magnolia course features elevated tees and greens with wide and generous fairways graced by over 1,500 magnolia trees that bloom from late spring to mid-summer. Of all the Disney courses, the Magnolia supports a greater abundance of wildlife. At any given time, you’re likely to see deer, osprey, alligators and turtles. Apparently there is a gopher turtle that has lived between holes four and five since the late 1980s. Additionally, a flock of wild turkeys has brought several tournaments to a standstill while they pecked along its fairways. We were lucky enough to see the deer and turkeys and lucky enough not to see the alligators.
Like the Ritz Carlton course yesterday, Magnolia is also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Endorsed by the United States Golf Association, the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses provides information and excellence to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, and protect national resources.