Take the kids to Walt Disney World for a golfing escape!

Author and her daughter having fun on the golf cart Joanne Elves

Author and her daughter having fun on the golf cart

“Ma…Ma…you gotta keep your head down, or you’ll never hit it.”

Yes, I’m no longer mommy or mom. I’m “Ma,” and instead of me teaching my daughter the sports I love, she is teaching me how to love her game – golf. Love for the game might be an overstatement for me, but spending a few hours at Walt Disney World Resort on a golf course with your kids with no distractions is worth teeing up for.

It was 7:48 am, and we were standing on the first tee of the Disney’s Palm Golf Course in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. Bonnie had already smacked her ball down the dew-crested fairway where the sounds of the groundskeepers slicing off the overnight growth on the back nine were still heard. This was our first round of four. It wasn’t looking good. I was swinging madly at nothing.

“Ma, don’t kill it. Just relax. Your swing count really doesn’t count – unless you want to be frustrated.”

I looked down at the ball, and the little “golf Mickey” emblem looked back at me. I was at “The Happiest Place on TURF.” Indeed, I needed to relax.

Disney Golfing Mickey Golf Ball Photo Joanne Elves

Mickey Golf Ball Photo Joanne Elves

The Walt Disney World Resort not only offers excellent theme parks but its also home to four stunning championship 18-hole golf courses – each with its own style, design and hazards that are magnets for many a shot off the tee. A round of nine holes during the Sunrise 9 and Sunset 9 specials are very inexpensive and don’t interfere with the rest of your visit to Walt Disney World Resort.

Because we were staying at a Disney resort hotel, the Bellman ordered a taxi to take us to the golf course and that taxi (return) was included in the $35 USD fee. As our clubs were loaded on the carts, we enjoyed a quick breakfast wrap and beverage that were also included in the green fees.

Disney’s Palm Golf Course – for those who like stats – is 6970 yards from the blue tee for 18 holes. It’s quite a challenge for someone like me (even from the red tees), with narrow tree-lined fairways with water hazards and 59 bunkers. I figured all the sand traps were on the first nine as that’s where I seemed to land on every hole. But hey, at that time of day no one is watching, so it was enjoyable.

The next evening had us leaving the Magic Kingdom at the same time as the families needing a “time out,” but instead of heading for the pools, we were off to the classic country-club styled Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. It felt like we were walking into a southern plantation with low sprawling bungalow style lodgings surrounding the winding course. The 7th hole had a challenging green, to say the least; it’s on an island. After the game, the $29 fee included a hot dog, pop for Bonnie and a beer for me. We were back to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with lots of time to enjoy the new land, Pandora – The Land of Avatar in the dark.

Disney Golfing - A family on their way to enjoy Disney's Oak trail. Photo Joanne Elves

A family on their way to enjoy Disney’s Oak Trail course. Photo Joanne Elves

We were teeing off at sunrise again at the Disney’s Oak Trail course, but this time, no carts were used. This family-friendly 9-hole par-36 walking course is perfect for a multi-generation group. Nobody rushes you to do anything. I loved the chance to drag the clubs along and just chat with Bonnie. I could see many families were doing the same thing. I was starting to like what the game offered between the putts, drives and slices.

Maybe it was because of the deep canals and ponds that were surrounded by signs warning about gators and snakes that my aim was so wrong on this course. Balls sliced into the trees even just a metre were left behind. Tragically I lost my cute “Mickey Mouse” ball there. However, I did hit the ball pretty true on a few fairways, and it was really cool to hear Bonnie say, “Hey, good job.” My gawd…the tables have turned!

Disney Golfing Alligators Joanne Elves

There be snakes and alligators here! Photo Joanne Elves

Our last morning was on the luxurious and long Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course. A ball magnet on the 6th hole is the famous Mickey Mouse shaped bunker lying between a water hazard and the green. My shot landed in the bushes lining the water and Bonnie’s ball fell right in the middle of the sandy Mickey. Seriously, who can be “Grumpy” pitching out of that?

Disney Golfing With a lovely swing, the Mickey ball lands in the Mickey Sand trap Joanne Elves

With a lovely swing, the Mickey ball lands in the Mickey sandtrap. Photo Joanne Elves

The Sunrise 9 special tee times are between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and the Sunset 9 depends on the season. There is a discount for Junior golfers at Disney Golf with a savings of up to 50%. Rental clubs are complimentary for kids. Disney’s Palm, Oak Trail and Magnolia golf courses all start from the same clubhouse near the Magic Kingdom in a quiet, heavily wooded area, while Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course meanders through a few of the lodgings near EPCOT.

I hate to admit it, but I really enjoyed golfing on our Disney vacation and would do it again in a heartbeat. But if I want to keep up with the kid – I really need to practice first!

During the vacation breaks, Disney offers golf camps for kids. For more information about all the specials go to www.golfwdw.com For more details for Canadian travellers to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, go to www.disneyworld.ca, or Disneyland Resort in California, visit www.disneyland.ca