Four Season Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort offers a golf experience seemingly miles from the mouse.
Miles from Palm Beach: 170
On the northeast stretches of Walt Disney World Resort’s sprawling Lake Buena Vista domain, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort sits like a beacon of luxury. The seventeen-floor luxury hotel – Central Florida’s only AAA Five Diamond resort – is the ideal place for families looking to capture that Disney experience without going full mouse. Equipped with all the amenities one would come to expect from a Four Seasons Resort—luxurious spa, spacious suites, excellent dining and lounge options (the rooftop steakhouse and bar, Capa, is a treat), and an amazing setup for kids to burn off that Disney World hype—the golfing amenities gives moms and dads a chance to catch some quiet time while enjoying a tough championship layout.
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, as seen from the tee boxes of no. 18.
Named for the Spanish Revival design of the resort, the Tranquilo Golf Club is an oasis within an oasis. Built in 1992 and originally called Disney’s Osprey Ridge, Four Seasons took over ownership and put the course under the renovation knife in 2014 by original designer Tom Fazio. Undulating seamlessly through the forested landscape, the course merges the natural habitat into the design with pitched elevations, marshy wetlands, and water features acting as scenic obstacles. As a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, white-tailed deer, turkey, bald eagle, and even the occasional alligator may play through—the multitude of birds foraging along the course make for excellent points of reference when mapping out your shots.
Water hazards and sand galore: the Tranquilo Golf Club offers unique and varied terrain within a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
As for the golf, this course is a beaute. The par 71, championship course boasts a lengthy 6,900 total yardage through eighteen, with wide, meticulously maintained fairways: i.e., driver skills needed, hybrid clubs a must. Gratefully, the course is not overly impossible, with just ten holes at a ten handicap or less—though No. 7 with all its 517 yard is absolutely brutal. If your long game has not failed you—mine certainly did—the course will make up for it on the short. Fazio put a lot of movement to these greens, with plenty of pitch and undulation to them. Depending on pin placement, sitting ten feet from the cup can easily be a two- or three-putt; the greens are firm and fast, with the breaks will affect your heart as much as your score.
One of the coolest things about this course is its relative solitude. Situated in the heart of Disney World—Epcot’s Spaceship Earth and the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella’s Castle are both easily spied from your hotel balcony—yet Tranquilo is as far away as you could possibly be. Outside of the first and last hole, where the resort is in plain view, its just you and nature, where the only outside influence is the occasional rumble of a roller coaster. If you need an escape from the vacation pressure, this course is it: Tranquilo might as well be in the another time zone, where your only worry is that next shot and when the roaming beverage cart will turn up again.
Why Go: With the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort acting as proprietor of this golf course, the amenities for kids is rather expansive. Dropping them off at the Kids for All Seasons camp (complimentary for resort guests), located in the resort’s “Mansion,” is not seen as punishment, but rather a bonus; it’s a win-win for parents looking to get a round in.
The Splash Zone at the resort’s Explorer Island.
Spectacular views of the fireworks at Walt Disney World.
Take a break along Explorer Island’s Lazy River.