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Sunday, November 18, 2012

"The Kings Playground"-Bay Hill Club and Lodge

"The Kings Playground"

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge, ala the "Kings Playground" in Orlando, Florida. Per the Bay Hill web site, "Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge is all about being the "best of the best" when it comes to golf --
as well as all other aspects of Club life. It has always been the Palmer vision for members and guests to find their experiences at Bay Hill to be one of belonging to a private club, where the staff knows them well and offers all the amenities they expect and enjoy."

My son MJ, 3 time National Special Olympics Golf Champion and I have met Arnold Palmer before at Pebble Beach.  I always remember how he looked you in the eye when he signed an autograph and genuinely seemed to care about you. My son always remembers his advice about signing autographs. He told him to take your time and sign it so a person can read the name forever. Arnold's penmanship is impeccable and this was good advice for MJ since he has signed many autographs being not only a National Champion Golfer but also Hall of Famer and co-author of 5 successful golf books.

My stay at the "Kings" playground reflected Arnold's warm and friendly personality as the  attentive staff immediately made you feel at home when you  arrived at the Lodge.

Each guest receives an Umbrella Pin when you check into your room. The pin is worn on the left collar with the stem pointed to your heart. It represents Mr. Palmers passion for the game of golf as well as his enduring image. Every Bay Hill staff member wears this pin as a reminder of the mission to exceed the guests expectations during their visit to the Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

We were lucky to stay in the Palmer Suite which was spacious, nicely appointed, a King Bed and outside patio. I especially enjoyed some of the pictures in the room. One was a picture of Arnie and the 3 presidents Ford, Bush and Clinton golfing in Palm Desert. The other was a picture of Arnold waving good bye as he crossed Hogan's Bridge on his last trip to playing in the Masters.
Bay Hill is only 20 minutes from downtown Orlando and about the same distance from the airport so it is easy to get to. It is the site of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Master Card played in March right before the Masters.

This year Tiger Woods won his record 7th time at this tournament shooting all 4 rounds under par and beating Graeme Mc Dowell by 5 shots.
Woods closed with a 2-under 70 and won by five shots over Graeme McDowell.
Per the Orlando Sentinel, "I think he really just kind of nailed home his comeback," McDowell said. "Great to have a front-row seat watching maybe the greatest of all time doing what he does best – winning golf tournaments."
Woods had gone 923 days and 27 tour events since he last posed with a trophy. 
     In July Bay Hill will be the site of the 2012 Lynda Cup. Per the press release, "The AJGA’s Lynda Cup, the AJGA brings together 40 of the nation’s top juniors in an East-versus-West team match play tournament. With the Mississippi River as the border that separates East from West, 10 boys and top 10 girls from each side is selected based on the Polo Golf Rankings, which reward top finishes in national junior golf events. Notable past players from the East Team include Bulbar Watson, Matt Ku char, Bill Has, Christie Kerr and Morgan Press el. Past participants from the West include Tiger Woods, Hunter Mohan, Trickier Fowler, Grace Park and Paula Creamer."
     The 70 room property features 27 holes of golf, the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy, tennis, a full service spa and salon, fitness center four dining locations, and 9000 square of meeting and banquet space.
Per the Bay Hill Web site, "It's a rare occasion indeed, when you have the opportunity to play one of the most popular courses on the PGA Tour, and more rare still, to play where Arnold Palmer lives and plays.

There's something about Bay Hill that makes a golfer's heart beat faster.
Open only to Club members and guests staying at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the breathtaking course sweeps across 270 acres along the shores of the Butler Chain of Lakes. The Champion, Challenger and Charger links feature 27 holes of tour championship golf, a challenging though fair test for both professionals and amateurs alike."

 My wife joined me on this trip and enjoyed the fairness of the ladys tees.There are 27 holes of golf with 5 tees to challenge all ranges of golfers. The green tees are 7381 yards and rated 75.2 with a slope rating of 137. There is also a ladys red tee that measures 5788 with a rating of 74.5 and slope of 136. In addition, there are white tees that measure 5143 yards, 70.8 rating and a slope of 118.  

              Following golf there is a full service salon and spa that offers all services including a variety of soothing massages.

             The food is really a treat as Arnold has all his favorites on the menu. Everything is great!  We especially enjoyed the Bay Hill burger, wings, chicken pot pie and chocolate sunday. The Bay View room offers a comfortable setting overlooking the putting green and golf course.   When Arnold is not there, you can also sit at his table and feel like a King enjoying the serene views.

The Members club room was my wife's favorite as a warm fireplace, large bar and wooden accents made you view like you just got a hole in one as you enjoyed generous drinks.

In conclusion, the "King's Playground" reflects Arnold's personality of being the "Best Of The Best."  I highly recommend that you add it to your courses to play and places to stay.

For more information, call toll free -888-422-9445 or go to the web site www.bayhill.com.