One of our Facebook fans on Golf Advisor recently asked for our advice on a fairly common question about winter golf in Florida for seniors:
"Looking for some nice, central Florida courses for mid-60s seniors in central Florida in February."
I may have a few years to go until I reach my 60s, but I have a fair idea of what senior golfers are looking for: forgiving-but-interesting courses that are reasonably priced for fixed incomes, and are ideally quiet and void of the theme park riff-raff.
With those criteria in mind, either course at Mission Inn Resort, located in the laid back town of Howey in the Hills northwest of Orlando, is a no-brainer. El Campeon is one of the most historic and best resort courses in the state, celebrating 100 years of golf in 2017. Las Colinas is a little more affordable but still has some nice roll to the land and is very scenic. The clubhouse and resort is a much more intimate size compared to some of the massive properties closer to Orlando.
For a traditional layout and Arnold Palmer nostalgia, check out Rio Pinar Country Club, which hosted the Florida Citrus Open (which is now known as the Bay Hill Invitational) and was won by Palmer in 1971. Bay Hill itself is also wonderful for seniors, but requires a mandatory stay at the onsite lodge.
North of Orlando, Ocala is still considered "central Florida" and up here your money can go a little farther than busier Orlando. Candler Hills does very well on Golf Advisor (Top 10 in 2015). Also, Juliette Falls is a rolling and very scenic layout by John Sanford, and you can choose from a 5,700-yard or 6,200-yard set of tees.
Most of Orlando's championship courses promote signature architects and really long championship yardages over 7,200 yards. Don't let that deter you. Click on their course pages on Golf Advisor for "More info" and you should be able to expand the senior tee slope/rating and yardage.
But enough about what I think. I filtered our Ocala-Orlando-Lakeland area course reviews (no Tampa) from the past two years by age for 55+ to find which courses are scoring highest among seniors. I looked at the overall, value and layout scores, as those are most likely to fluctuate based on age. What's great about the following chart is that there is a mix of price points and locations, from Lakeland to Ocala, so you should be able to find a great course or two for your group.
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