Palm Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.7

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Lake Buena Vista, FL

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Palm Golf Course Review

The Palm Golf Course is one of the five Disney World courses in Orlando and 2010 will mark the 40th year that the final event of the PGA Tour has been played at the Walt Disney World Resort. Part of what makes playing the Palm memorable are the "Magical Moments" plaques at each tee giving some history of a memorable moment on that hole during one of the PGA Tour tournaments.

The Palm Golf Course, rated 4 stars by Golf Digest, is characterized by excellent conditions and a fun but challenging layout with sparkling lakes, tropical white soft sand bunkers, woodlands and wetlands, and native strategically placed palms. With 4 sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 5262 to 7011 yards and a rating from 118 to 131, Joe Lee has designed a course that we think is fair but challenging for all skill levels. The eighteenth is considered one of the most challenging holes on the PGA TOUR.

The front nine is more open and a little easier and you'll hear some of the sights and sounds of Disney World and the Indy Racing Experience across the street from one of the holes - in fact, the busy road nearby some of the holes is a little distracting. On hole #6, the course turns away from Disney World and heads into the wetlands. The front nine is fairly straightforward and you're able see what you're up against which includes some demanding tee shots (particularly on #6, appropriately named "The Devil Made Me Do It"), a great risk reward opportunity to try and fly the palm trees twice on #7, water on five holes, and lots of soft sand bunkers waiting for your ball.


The back nine is more fun, much prettier, a little tighter, more challenging, and a lot more scenic. This nine of the Palm meanders through the wetlands and four holes play around four sparkling lakes with water fountains. For example, #14 is a fun 547 par 5 that requires a good tee shot to a landing zone bordered with trees, bunkers, and the lake (a good risk reward opportunity to try and shorten the second shot) and then a carry over water with another good risk reward shot to a well protected dog leg left green. And #16 has got to be one of the prettiest par 3's in Florida!


Typical of all of the Disney courses that we played, the conditions are near perfect, the course is well manicured, the bunkers are soft white sand, and the service is excellent. As you can tell from the pictures, we played when the course was in transition and trying to recover from a very unusually very cold week of stormy weather. During the season, this would be a very lush and plush course with lots of color.


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
Blue 6,479 71.4 125
White 6,006 69.2 118
Gold 7,011 73.7 131
Red 5,263 70.5 126

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Lee
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 94 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$92.00 to $174.00

Service is ok, the practice facility is adequate, and the pro shop is well stocked. A small outside grill provides sandwiches, dogs, and burgers.



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.