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Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.9

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Website
Date Last Played: February 19, 2010

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Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Review

Lake Buena Vista is one of the five Disney World Golf Courses and typical of all the Disney courses, you'll experience a fairly straight forward and traditional layout, excellent conditions, plenty of color, very well maintained colorful landscaping, and good service. Lake Buena Vista opened in the summer of 1980 and is one of the few courses that has hosted a PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and USGA events - the tours have now moved to other courses, primarily because Lake Buena Vista is a little short for the pros at 6802 yards. Golf Digest rated Lake Buena Vista an impressive 4 stars.

The course meanders and winds through some pastel villas, beside pine forests, through some draping eerie cypress moss, and along and across canals offering scenic boat tours as a part of the Disney experience. You'll also see some of the Disney attractions including the balloon ride. Lake Buena Vista is a pretty traditional layout with no tricks, wide and forgiving fairways, and good sized greens. From what we heard, normally the greens and fairways are in excellent condition, however when we played in late February, the course was in transition and the previous week of horrible weather negatively impacted the over-seeding and overall course conditions. The slightly elevated greens were in pretty good condition, about average speed, true, and on the large side. Most were well protected with bunkers and all had minor slope - putting was not an issue when we played.

There is water on 11 of 18 holes, but it's pretty easy to avoid and doesn't really come into play except on a couple holes, like the beautiful #7 which is an island green and the signature hole. There are several fun holes like #6 which is a short 354 yard par 4 that requires an approach shot that carries a lake to a green protected by the lake and a huge backside bunker - this one is a favorite of the sea gulls and Mallards but not of Nike or Titlist golf balls.

On this 18 you'll find a couple dog legs, fantastic par 3's, water to carry, some tight fairways and approaches, plenty of soft white bunkers, wetlands that can devour your golf ball, and some well protected greens. Overall, Lake Buena Vista is a good quality golf experience that is very fair and won't beat you up and provides an opportunity to relax and end the day with a good score. Bring binoculars - you can use them to scope out the hole as well as bird-watch where you're likely to spot a lot of Florida birds including Wood Storks, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, Red shouldered Hawks, Blue Heron, Snowy Egrets, and an occasional Bald Eagle. You'll also get to experience some of the sights and sounds of Disney.

We played this course as part of a fun filled seven days in Orlando where we rode in an Indy race car, saw alligators on an air-boat ride, sky dived in a wind tunnel, flew a 1946 World War II fighter trainer, para-sailed, swam with the manatees, ate too much good food, enjoyed some fun nightlife, golfed 9 different courses, and got very little sleep! Read our Orlando Vacation article to learn more about this adventure packed vacation.
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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,802 73.0 133
Blue 6,264 70.1 129
White 5,919 68.6 123
Red 5,204 69.9 122

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Lee
Greens Condition
7.0
Greens Difficulty
7.5
GPS:
Yes
Course Map
Beware of water on 11 holes and the 76 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
7.9 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
8.0
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
8.5
Value:
7.0
Condition:
7.5
Front Nine Rating:
8.0
Back Nine Rating:
8.0
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$80.00 to $174.00

Service is very good, the pro shop is well stocked, food is good, and the practice facility is adequate.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.