ChampionsGate Golf Club - International Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
ChampionsGate, FL

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ChampionsGate Golf Club - International Course Review

ChampionsGate Resort features 36 holes of Greg Norman designed golf - the International Course which is an authentic British links layout and the National Course which is a little easier and more scenic with wood lined fairways and strategic water hazards. Both courses, plus a lighted nine hole executive course, are part of the Omni Resort with upscale accommodations and amenities.

If you like a links style course that is unique, very demanding, reminiscent of the great courses in the British Isles, and a blast to play, then you need to call and book a tee time now at the ChampionsGate International Course. Some of what we liked about the International Course include:

  • the layout is fantastic with no two holes that are the same
  • it's in excellent condition and very well manicured
  • its fair but very demanding
  • it will throw a little bit of everything at you to keep you on your "A" game
  • course management and club selection are critical to score well
  • the greens are fast, all shapes and sizes, and fair
  • waste areas, pot bunkers, and huge natural sand areas add beauty as well as hazards
  • the sand is soft and deep


Each hole has it's own unique character and something that makes it both fun and challenging. You'll find dog legs, forced carries, risk reward opportunities, elevated greens and tee boxes, water on 15 holes, berms and mounds, contoured and sloping fairways, tight and tough approaches, and over 185 soft white sand bunkers from small oval pot bunkers to gigantic beaches suitable for over 150 umbrellas and beach chairs - I'm not sure that the coast has much sand left for their beaches. Speaking of bunkers, the fairways are lined with so many bunkers that each cart come equipped with a sand rake. For example, #18 is a 572 yard dog leg right with water and a natural area along the right side and berms and 24 pot and sand bunkers all along the left side.


When we played in February, conditions were excellent, even though the previous week was some of the harshest and worst weather Orlando had seen in years. The fairways were lush and soft, the rough was cut right, and the greens were near perfect. The greens vary in size and shape, are mostly flat to gently sloping, about average speed, and very fair.


Bottom line, even if you don't like a links style course, you need to play ChampionGates' International Course. Bring your "A" game and your best sand wedge - you'll need both. We played ChampionsGate Golf 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
Blue 6,792 74.1 137
White 6,239 71.5 132
Gold 7,363 76.8 143
Red 5,618 71.6 118

Course Information

Course Architect:
Greg Norman
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 15 holes and the 185 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$55.00 to $145.00

Service is good, the pro shop is very well stocked, the practice area is great, and ChampionsGate is home to the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.



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.