Disney’s Magnolia Course Undergoing an Extensive Redesign
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course is undergoing its most extensive redesign ever as part of a project aimed at creating an even more magical experience for golfers later this year.
The redesign, led by One Club Limited and its head golf course designer Ken Baker, will involve reconfiguring of the Magnolia course’s finishing holes – No. 14, 15, 16 and 17 – which played a role in several exciting finishes during the course’s 42 years on the PGA Tour calendar. Additionally, the course’s 18 greens will be upgraded to create an even more pristine putting experience. The work is underway with the new-look Magnolia course expected to reopen later this year during the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.
“We’ve assembled an incredible team that is devoted to creating the best possible experience for our guests from around the globe who travel here for a championship-caliber golf vacation,” said Bruce Gerlander, General Manager of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, which operates the Walt Disney World golf courses. “For more than four decades, Disney’s Magnolia golf course served as a favorite stop on the PGA Tour and we have been methodically planning for this massive project for years.”
Here is how each of the finishing holes will be reimagined:
- Hole 14 – Currently a par 5, will become a par 4, with a new green location
- Hole 15 – Currently a par 3, will shift location and become a long par 5 with a dogleg to the right
- Hole 16 – Will shift location and remain a par 4, but will now have a dogleg to the left
- Hole 17 – Currently a par 4, will become a par 3, with new tee box locations
- Also, holes 16 and 17 will be connected by a newly-constructed cart bridge through the forest, creating picturesque nature views for golfers traveling between those holes. And several fairway and greenside bunkers are being enhanced as well as several new tee boxes are being added to test every level of player. The Magnolia course was last changed in 2015 when its bunkers and cart paths were upgraded.
“These are going to be dramatic changes to the Magnolia course that will create a playing experience that will be challenging yet fun for all golfers,’’ said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports. “We know our guests expect a magical experience every time they come to play golf at Walt Disney World and this redesign is part of our ongoing commitment to achieve that for every golfer who steps up to that first tee.’’
2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia and 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland – recently got a sneak peek at the redesign and both walked away impressed.
“It will be amazing. The 15th (becoming) a big par 5; 16 is a long par 4 and they’ve brought in water perfectly,’’ said Woodland. “You’re going to have four closing holes down the stretch that will test every aspect of your game. It’ll be a great finish here at Magnolia.”
Added Garcia: “It’s a fun course to play. When (golfers) finish their rounds, they can’t wait to come back and I think that’s something the Magnolia course will have.’’
More than a decade ago, the Walt Disney World Resort and Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM) launched a 20-year strategic alliance underpinned by a commitment to continually upgrade and enhance the Walt Disney World Golf experience for all visitors. The Magnolia course’s major redesign follows substantial course changes to Disney’s Palm Golf Course in 2013, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course in 2014 and 2018 and Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course in 2018.
As one of the original Walt Disney World Resort golf courses which opened in 1971, the Magnolia course is a well-manicured, par-72 course that has all the earmarks of a top-flight course: elevated tees and greens, rolling terrain and a very popular Mickey Mouse-shaped sand hazard on the 6th hole.
Located across from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the course was designed by Joe Lee and is aptly named for its more than 1,500 magnolia trees. With tee boxes ranging from 5,127 to 7,516 yards from the tips, it is the longest of the four Disney golf courses.
Walt Disney World Golf
At Walt Disney World Golf, there are three championship courses – the Magnolia, Palm, and Lake Buena Vista – as well as a nine-hole walking course – Oak Trail. The courses are known for their majestic stands of trees, elevated tee boxes, spacious greens, wide fairways and challenging water hazards, plus their Audubon International Certification as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary. Golfers have access to individual and group instruction, rental clubs, a clubhouse with locker rooms and a retail shop. Golf carts feature touch-screen GPS units, and Robo-Caddies – a small robotic golf cart that employs GPS and Bluetooth technology – can transport your clubs and all your additional gear safely around Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Mobility-impaired golfers have access to individual adaptive carts called SoloRiders. And all courses have various Disney touches, from beverage carts themed after popular Disney characters to Mickey-shaped tee markers, plus the legendary Disney guest service.
Arnold Palmer Golf Management
Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM) operates clubs, resorts and golf courses in the true spirit of Arnold Palmer – with pride, consideration, and honor. The APGM team works diligently to create exceptional private club and golf experiences for every member, and every guest, every day. The senior management team has worked together for over 30 years and includes industry veterans with exceptional knowledge and track records. The APGM team has managed over 500 golf courses, which combined represent more than $6 billion in golf, hospitality and real estate assets. APGM operates clubs and courses throughout the United States and manages several thousand highly dedicated people who are committed to superior management and service of all facets of club and golf operations including: member acquisition and retention, revenue generation, event programming, yield management, expense control, agronomy, private events and tournament sales, clubhouse operations, capital improvements, accounting and technology systems.