About Celebration Golf Club
Considering not only its popularity among golfers, but also its renown as the first and final co-design by legendary golf course architects Robert Trent Jones and his son, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., little wonder Celebration Golf Club has represented a special destination in the Orlando golf world since the day it opened in 1996.
Now, after wrapping up its 15th birthday “celebration,” Celebration Golf Club is even more special.
Masters champion Bubba Watson was on hand last fall to help Celebration unveil its PING nFlight Fitting and Teaching Studios, one of just three of its sort any- where in the country.
The newest owner of the Masters green jacket conducted an impressive and entertaining demonstration of his famed “Bubba Golf” for the hundreds of Celebration guests in attendance during his exhibition clinic at the September, 2011 grand opening.
A PING-sponsored player who first started using the company’s equipment when he was 8 years old, Watson quickly became legendary for his prodigious length and heroic shot-making.
Watson and his style ideally personify the numerous capabilities of Celebration Golf Club’s new 2,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility manned by three full-time instructors and featuring PING nFlight software.
“For me, PING’s nFlight software is perfect because I love video games, and it’s like a video game,” Watson said. “I hit a ball, and I get to see numbers pop up. It’s great.”
Located just minutes from Walt Disney World® near the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 192, Celebration Golf Club began construction on its PING nFlight Fitting and Teaching Studios in early 2011 at a cost of $500,000 The facility includes two indoor hitting bays with nets, putting areas equipped with two flat screens, a TrackMan, four cameras and other advanced technology.
In the facility’s warm, welcoming lobby, informational videos teach visitors about the history of PING, along with the brand’s clubs and technology. Meanwhile, the center’s private office provides a perfect atmosphere for video review and analysis.
The Golf Academy at Celebration Golf Club is one of only three PING nFlight centers in the nation and uses PING’s cutting-edge software to provide students with the same fitting experience tour professionals receive.
“Thanks to our partnership with PING, we provide all the latest technological advances to our students along with all equipment manufactured by the company,” said Kenny Nairn, Celebration Golf Club General Manager and Director of the Golf Academy.
The Golf Academy’s teaching facilities were designed and created for teaching golf in a private atmosphere. The practice facility is located on the east side of the golf course and features fairway-quality grass tees, high-quality range balls, a dedicated short game area with pitching greens and several bunkers. The specifically designed slopes were created to help the student master uphill, downhill and sidehill lies.
In addition, late last year Celebration Golf Club showed off its significant restoration of the golf course. Celebration’s green complexes were replanted with the new Champion Bermuda turf grass, a highly acclaimed product also being used at PGA National Golf Club, Atlanta Athletic Club, TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz and the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach to name a few.
Champion Bermuda thrives in low- lying areas such as the picturesque site on which the Jones duo designed Celebration Golf Club. Within this unique topography of natural wetland and rolling terrain, the Joneses created a scenic, shot maker’s challenge offering multiple strategic options amplified by narrow fairways, strategic hazards, undulating greens, and a series of pristine lakes and other water elements found on all but one of the holes.
Par at Celebration Golf Club is 72. From the back tees the course plays to 7,038 yards. From the forward tees the course measures slightly more than 2,219 yards. The course sets itself up spectacularly with five sets of tees and offers some of the longest par 3s in Florida.
The third hole is 215 yards, the fifth is 204 yards and No. 16 is 211 yards. No. 13 is the shortest at 198 yards. The longest hole is the stunning finisher, a par 5 that tips out at 574 yards. All of which is part of the reason visiting pros have dubbed Celebration Golf Club, “the longest 7,000 yards you will ever play.”
Yet, bolstered by Celebration Golf Club’s lush, spectacular landscaping featuring native marshes, pines, magnolias and moss-draped oaks, golfers invariably enjoy every step of this serene golf experience — part of the reason Celebration Golf Club annually ranks as not only one of the finest daily fee courses in Central Florida, but also among the top public golf courses in the United States.
Said the late elder Jones: “With the beauty of the (Celebration) course, the design… everyone will have fun, because it can be enjoyed here on many levels.”
In addition, during its most recent enhancement, a considerable amount of fairway bunker work has been performed at Celebration Golf Club and all-new signage has been added around the facility. It all feels like a slice of resort atmosphere with a daily-fee price tag.
“There has truly been a rebirth of Celebration Golf Club,” Nairn said. “I’ve been here for over 10 years and I’ve never seen the golf course in such phenomenal condition with the greens so consistently good.”
Now in its 16th season, Celebration Golf Club has served as the host site for numerous events such as the U.S. Senior Open qualifier, Robert Gamez Celebrity Invitational (during which two-time PGA champ John Daly once shot a course- record 63), Florida State Public Links Championship, Buick Scramble National Championships, and the Golf Channel’s Drive, Chip and Putt finals.
Celebration Golf Club first gained fame as a family affair between the senior and junior Joneses. In seven decades as golf ’s most prolific architect, the elder Jones logged an estimated 8 million miles in creating more than 350 courses and remodeling more than 150 others, including 79 that were used for the U.S. Open or other national championships. His courses can be found in 45 states and 35 foreign countries on every continent except Antarctica. “The sun never sets on a Robert Trent Jones golf course,” he said.
The elder Jones collaborated with the legendary golfer Bobby Jones (no relation) in designing Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta. In addition to his 21 U.S. Open courses, Jones worked on a dozen courses that have held the PGA Championship and six that held the World Cup. He designed Valderrama in Spain, site of the 1997 Ryder Cup matches, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club course in Manassas, Va., site of the 1994 and 1996 Presidents Cup matches.
He also created a putting green at the White House for President Eisenhower, as well as a hole with three different tees at Camp David. He was the first architect inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and was a founding member and a former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects as well as the first recipient of its Donald Ross Award.
Meanwhile, his son and namesake — also a lifetime member and former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects — has during the past 40 years expanded his father’s golf design legacy by founding an innovative modern golf course design firm with a global reach, an environmental ethic and a reputation for creating value. Jones Jr. carries on the proud tradition of golf course architecture’s most enduring name.
Their masterful, co-designed golf course at Celebration stands proudly as the centerpiece of a residential community that was master-planned based on Walt Disney’s original idea behind Epcot, and received instant fame when the movie The Truman Show was filmed there.
Celebration features homes designed in architecturally classic styles, innovative schools, award-winning restaurants and a world-class health care center, along with recreational and community services that provide advanced lifestyle opportunities for today’s families.
Celebration Golf Club is all about families and fun. All summer Celebration will offer its “Kids Play for Free” program in which children ages 6 to 15 (accompanied by an adult) play for free (one child per paid adult), an offer that is valid Monday through Sunday, June 4 through Sept. 30, 2012. Bring your kids for a fun day of golf on one of Orlando’s most beautiful golf courses!