Before I start I must advise that the reason my son (21 years) and I visited Orange County National Golf Centre in Orlando was because it was recommended to us. I booked to play Panther Lake on Thursday 28 June 2012, whilst on holiday in the Orlando area with my family. Having advised the club some 6 days in advance that we would require to rent clubs we arrived in good time for our arranged tee time of 07:42am.
The booking-in process was laboured and the cost of a round of golf for two together with two sets of rental clubs came to $208 (two hundred and eight US dollars). This equates to approximately £140 sterling. We purchased golf balls from the well stocked professional shop and enquired whether our rental clubs would come with golf tees only to be told by the chap behind the counter that they would not. Having paid $208 and having played golf around the world and all over my home country of Scotland I found this rather surprising. I then asked if I could buy golf tees only to be told that the shop did not have any (that they would NEED TO order some...). I asked if the starter had any tees and the chap was not able to answer this, in fact he seemed dis-interested. He then directed us towards the 1st tee advising us to walk approximately 200 - 300 yards pointing the direction (we couldn't miss it he said).
On arriving at the first tee the starter asked why he had directed us there that indeed we should have gone in the opposite direction to collect our buggy/cart and rental clubs (I should state that the starter was very professional and indeed helpful). He radioed for our clubs and buggy to be brought round to the first tee. I was then told that there were no golf tees available at the starters hut and when I enquired if they expected us to hit our drivers off the deck (we're both single handicaps ~ but not that good) I was met with astonishment that the club could not provide us with tees. The chaps from the club rental area were then despatched to find tees and some 5-10 minutes later arrived with a loose selection of 9 assorted tees between us both, which they had clearly found lying about their store area. It was now approximately 20 minutes after our arranged start time. To say that I was disillusioned would be an understatement. Indeed, disgusted would be a greater assessment of the manner in which we were treated and welcomed. We then drove the cart to the 1st tee and on inspection of our clubs we were shocked at their state. Every club (with the exception of the putters) was disgusting, indeed they were absolutely filthy, covered in muck. I doubt they had been cleaned in some considerable time but by this time I just wanted to get started and saw no tangible benefit in driving back to the starter to go through this with him (let's face it, it wasn't his fault). I cleaned each individual club myself as we continued around the course and my son did likewise.
The course itself is well laid out though the greens had been spiked (late June!!!) and a considerable amount of sand had been spread over them. It is, however, a well laid out track. At the end of our round, which took slightly longer than we expected (we were behind a four ball), we drove the cart to the return area, only to be met by the gentlemen there who pleasantly enquired if "the clubs were good to us". I had no energy to ask him if he had actually inspected them before he gave them out and merely responded that I had seen a lot better. He was clearly only being pleasant in the hope and anticipation of a tip (gratuity) and when one was not forthcoming his clearly "normal demeanour" returned and he became surly and less than pleasant. In short, this was NOT value for money and whilst I accept that others may have had an enjoyable experience at this course, this was most certainly NOT enjoyable for us. I sincerely hope that the club management take note of these comments and provide their paying guests/visitors with golf tees and clean golf clubs in the future.
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- Also Known As:
- Orange County National Golf Hotel Winter Garden
- Orange County National Golf Center