The Bay Hill Club and Lodge, home of the highly popular PGA Tour event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has become irrevocably linked with the Palmer family.
‘The King’ as Palmer was known at the height of his legendary career, has made this outstanding golf establishment in Orlando, Florida, the winter home of his family since purchasing it from his partners in 1976 and has gone to great lengths to ensure that it offers not only the finest golfing facilities money can buy on its 27-hole layout, but also a host of other first-class amenities.
These include a practice range and a golf Academy that compares with the best, an award winning pro shop, a full-service beauty salon and spa, a fitness centre, a junior Olympic pool with a resident swimming club that competes at the highest level, a tennis club with its own pro shop and instructors and various restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine.
It helps add to the Club’s attraction that it is close to the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios and Sea World, but it is important to know that the club is a private one and only members, guests of a member, or lodge guests have access to its golf course
The Arnold Palmer Invitational is a new name on the PGA Tour schedule, being just two years old, but the actual event being played this week was inaugurated by Palmer in 1979 as the Bay Hill Invitational and had risen to great prominence under that name until it was decided to honour Palmer, one of the most influential professional golfers of all time
Bay Hill wasn’t always as famous as it is now, though.
Its club history tells you that, originally, the Bay Hill Club & Lodge was the vision of a group of investors from Nashville, Tennessee, who in 1960 sought to develop a private retreat to enjoy their favourite pastime.
Thirteen months after the original conception, Bay Hill’s championship 18 holes opened for play and to help promote the club, its enterprising partners invited Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Don Cherry and Dave Ragan to Bay Hill for an exhibition match in 1965.
Palmer shot a 66, seven shots better than his rivals, and instantly fell in love with Bay Hill.
So much so that he spent the next 11 years working at acquiring the club as a winter family home and in 1976 his dream finally became a reality when he purchased the club from partners who six years earlier had helped him gain the controlling interest.
His next move was to have the Florida Citrus Open renamed and moved from Rio Pinta across town to Bay Hill in 1979 since when he has helped grow the course and event into one of Tour’s true top draw tournaments.
THE GOLF COURSE
The Bay Hill parkland course, opened in 1961, sweeps across 270 acres along the shores of the Butler Chain of Lakes.
It features 27 holes of unmatched golf, with the 18 hole Championship lay-out being showcased each spring as one of the most popular stops for the PGA Tour with national television bringing the event into the homes of millions.
It is a demanding test of golf for pros and amateurs alike, but eminently fair.
Right now the course is a stunning green, but with rough overseeded with rye grass that stands at 4 feet high the 18 championship holes where this week’s event will be played clearly threaten to put a lot of red on the players’ cards.
The par-five 4th and 16th holes on what is normally a par-72 layout some 7,370 yards long, have both been turned into par fours on the now par-70 championship card whose ratings highlight the fact that its closing 18th hole is its toughest and there is always an over-riding impression that its firm fairways and even firmer TifEagle greens, along with its wicked rough, will put the course into a US Open-type category.
TOUR OF THE COURSE
For a tour of the Bay Hill 18-hole championship course click here
Other amenities offered by the club include:
– An outstanding practice range that includes chipping and putting greens
– The Arnold Palmer Golf Academy offers programs for all ages and levels of play to learn the fundamentals of golf according to Arnold Palmer’s philosophy of the game. The Academy instructors are qualified to teach the pure beginner at one end, or work with touring professionals at the other and generally assist golfers of every level in between.
– A well-stocked award-winning pro shop
– Wining and dining – Elegant wining and dining for members and guests at the Grill and Classic Rooms. For lighter fare and an alfresco ambience, The Terrace Cafe offers indoor and outdoor dining. The Members Lounge at the Bay Hill Club is a cozy fireside bar serving fine wines, beers and cocktails.
– Tennis – six courts with a pro-shop and instructors available
– Spa – offers body massage, body therapy and personalized skin care.
– Beauty and hair salon.
– Fitness Centre – full equipped with personal trainers available.
– Aquatics – a junior Olympic size pool where you can refresh yourself and bask beside the Terrace Cafe, but where teaching and training facilities are also available and where Team bathing suits, swim caps, etc. are available for purchase.
the club was ranked as one of the:
– 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America – Golf Digest
– Middle Atlantic’s 100 Must Play Courses – GolfStyles Washington
– Best Courses in Florida – Golf Digest
– America’s Top 100 Golf Communities – Travel & Leisure Golf
– Best of Orlando 2007 – Orlando Magazine
– The Bay Hill is private course open only to Club members and guests staying at the 70-room Lodge. Palmer insists that lodge guests be treated as members of the Club, sharing all membership privileges re golf, dining, salon and spa services, recreation and meeting/banquet facilities.
A wide variety of resident, no-resident and corporate memberships are available. Full membership for golfers residing within 50 kms of the course will cost you an initiation fee of $30,000, annual dues of $7,696 and annual food and beverage minimums of $1,200.
These memberships entitle their owners to enjoy the full use of all the facilities of the Bay Hill Club with no obligation to pay greens fees or court fees and enables them to sponsor guests on the golf course and tennis courts, as permitted by the Rules and Regulations of the Club.
For the costs of the other forms of membership you should go to the Bay Hill website http://www.bayhill.com or contact the club via the information given below
CONTACT THE CLUB
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge,
9000 Bay Hill Boulevard,
Orlando, Florida 32819
Toll Free Number: 1-888-422-9445Fax Number: 407-876-1035
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