Golfing 101 At Walt Disney World

Florida may be known for its beaches, theme parks, and the swampy Everglades, but thanks to its balmy weather year-round, the Sunshine State boasts another claim to fame as the unofficial golf capital of the United States. With over 1,200 courses to choose from, you’re never too far from the links. 

While you could tee off everywhere from Naples to the Florida Keys, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more magical place to play than Walt Disney World. Read on for our complete guide to Disney golf, from rescuing your ball from a Mickey Mouse-shaped sand trap to getting one-on-one tips from a PGA pro. 

Disney Golf Basics

Wondering what it’s like to play golf at Walt Disney World? Here are all the details for getting in a round at The Place Where Dreams Come True including greens fees, tee times, equipment rentals, and more.  

Golfing at Disney World During Covid-19

Just like the rest of Walt Disney World, the Covid-19 pandemic has also taken its toll on WDW Golf, seeing a number of health and safety measures in place. Currently, face masks are required in all indoor areas regardless of vaccination status, although they are optional in outdoor common spaces. Golf carts and equipment are fully sanitized before and after each round. Booking your Disney tee time online is also recommended to keep indoor, face-to-face interactions to a minimum. Additionally, the Sunrise 9 promotion is temporarily unavailable due to scaled-back golf hours.

Having said all that, some facility offerings have returned to normal as the pandemic has started to recede. Beverage coolers and sand buckets are available on all golf carts, with sand scoops being swapped out and sanitized after a cart is used. If desired, flagsticks can be temporarily removed when putting. Bunker rakes have also been reinstated should you choose to use them. If not, however, a “preferred lie” ruling is in place should any ball get stuck in a bunker. 

Golf course with sand pit

Disney Golf Course Greens Fees

For those of you wondering, “How much does it cost to golf at Disney?”, the answer isn’t so straightforward. Similar to Walt Disney World ticket prices or resort room rates, Disney World greens fees are dependent on a variety of factors including which course and when – the season, day of the week, or time – you’d like to play. Weekdays, specifically Monday through Thursday, are usually the least expensive, as are tee times after 12pm. Fridays to Sundays and cooler mornings tend to be the busiest and, as a result, the priciest times to play. 

Golfers can expect the following savings depending on who is golfing and when:

  • Winter (early January to late March): Peak Season, no discount
  • Spring (late March to mid-to-late May): Approximately 20% off
  • Summer (mid-to-late May to late September): Approximately 40% off
  • Fall (early October to early January): Approximately 20% off
  • Junior Rate (players 18 years old and below): 40% off the current adult rate
  • Same-Day Replay Rate: 40% off the applicable rate qualification
  • Disney Vacation Club Members: 15% off the public rate
  • Walt Disney World Annual Passholders: 15% off the public rate
  • U.S. Military Members: 15% off the public rate
  • AAA Diamond Vacation Members: 15% off the public rate

Golfers looking to save even more may wish to consider booking a Disney golf promotional offer instead like the Sunrise 9 or Sunset 9, available at each of the Disney World golf courses. With light bites, only 9 holes, a complimentary golf cart (or pull cart at the Oak Trail Golf Course), and a wallet-friendly price, these Disney golf promotions are a great way to bookend a day in the theme parks. 

Starting at only $35 plus tax, the Sunrise 9 will have you fueling up on a toasty breakfast sandwich and orange juice, coffee, or water before greeting the date with a 7-8:30am tee time. For a nightcap of a different kind, try the Sunset 9 instead. Rates are as low as $29 plus tax and include a fresh hot dog and some suds or soda. 

Scheduling Disney Golf Tee Times

Golf fairway with lake

For the lowest greens fees and no booking fee, we always recommend you book directly with WDW Golf for their best price guarantee through either www.golfwdw.com or by calling (407) WDW-GOLF (939-4653). A credit card is required at the time of booking. 

Disney golf tee times can be booked up to 90 days in advance as long as you have 2 or more golfers. If you’re a single golfer, advance golf reservations can only be made 3 days in advance. Keep in mind that you will very likely be added to a group of 2 or 3 golfers if you do plan to golf alone to keep up the pace of play. Although advance reservations are highly recommended, last-minute tee times can be booked through a Disney resort concierge. 

Getting Yourself (and Your Clubs) to the Disney Golf Courses

Of course, you can’t play golf without your trusty clubs. If you’d like to use your own equipment, you’ll have a few different options for transporting your clubs to Disney World. 

Option 1: Fly Them – You’re already bringing all your luggage with you on your flight to Orlando. Why not bring your golf clubs with you too? Although this can be convenient, remember that airlines do charge baggage fees. So, you may want to consider another option if you’re stuck flying an airline that charges a fee for each bag or you only have time to play one round. 

Option 2: Ship Them – Rather not deal with the hassle of flying your precious clubs all the way to Central Florida? No worries, just mail them instead. Ship Sticks is an official Walt Disney World Golf partner and a convenient, cost-effective solution for transporting your equipment to The Most Magical Place on Earth. Rates start as low as $39.99 and include $1,000 in insurance, real-time shipment tracking, and door-to-course service from your home or office to the Disney World golf course of your choice. 

Prefer to skip the trouble of bringing your own golf clubs altogether? Then we recommend:

Option 3: Rent Them – This is for those who can’t be bothered to lug their gear all the way to Orlando. Disney is all about quality, so rest assured that you’ll get an excellent set of clubs to tee off with. Disney golf rental equipment is made by TaylorMade Golf and is available in either right or left-handed options for both men and women. Men can also choose between regular and stiff flex sets. Adult clubs can be rented for $25 for 9 holes or $45 for 18 holes and include 1 or 2 sleeves of balls, respectively (youth club rentals are complimentary). Adidas shoes are also available for $10 per pair. 

Ok, you know how to get your golf clubs to Walt Disney World, but what about yourself? If you’re staying at one of the Disney-operated resorts, free transportation is available from your hotel to the course. Before your tee time, simply make your way to the main entrance of your hotel. From there, let a valet cast member know which Disney golf course you are heading to so they can hail you a taxi. The valet will then hand you a taxi voucher to cover your fare and tip.

Playing a Round of Golf at Disney World

Mickey shaped sand pit on golf course

There are a few things to remember when going golfing at Walt Disney World. Although everyone else at Disney is traipsing around in flip-flops and t-shirts, proper dress is required to play golf at Disney World. Men must wear a collared golf shirt with either slacks or Bermuda shorts, while women may don capris, skorts, skirts, Bermuda shorts, or slacks. You will be refused admittance if you don’t comply with the dress code, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, pace of play is crucial when teeing off at Disney World. So, you’ll be asked to choose the tee that best suits your abilities before you begin. In fact, Disney cares so much about keeping everyone golfing smoothly that all of the golf carts are hooked up with GPS to monitor both your location and speed of play. Not only will you be able to see where you are in relation to the rest of the course, but the Disney Golf team will be able to as well. Should you start dragging your feet, your golf cart (and Disney) will alert you to speed things up. 

Professional Golf Lessons

Whether you’re trying to perfect your putt or straighten out your swing, there’s no better way to take your Disney golf experience to the next level than with a private golf lesson taught by a PGA pro. These 45-minute, one-on-one lessons include personalized coaching, video analysis, and shoe and golf club rentals. Disney golf lessons are available for both junior and adult golfers for between $20 to $90 per person (tax not included) depending on age. 

Take Home Some Disney Golf Merchandise

Looking for a souvenir to commemorate your trip to “The Happiest Place on Turf”? Don’t forget to check out the pro shop before heading back out to the theme parks. Disney Golf Pro Shops are stocked with exclusive Disney golf merchandise that typically can’t be found online or in any other merchandise locations on property. You’ll find everything from Mickey golf balls and ball markers to Disney golf head covers and spiffy polo shirts. 

Walt Disney World Golf Courses

Fairway with trees and sand pits

Ready to tee up for some of the best golf in Florida? Operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, Disney’s championship-quality golf courses are immaculate and thoughtfully designed, having played host to PGA and LPGA tours as well as USGA events. As this is Disney, you’ll even come across extra-magical touches like Hidden Mickey sand traps. After all, it isn’t called The Happiest Place on Turf for nothing.

These courses span some of Disney World’s most beautiful natural areas, with some of the courses even being certified as Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuaries by Audubon International. Don’t be surprised if you wander past a flock of turkeys, wayward alligator, or Bambi and his deer friends. Having said that, these aren’t friendly gators like Louis from Princess and the Frog. In other words, if you do manage to lose your ball in the water, cut your losses (not your hand) and leave it be. 

If you’re planning to stay at one of the Disney World resorts, you’re probably wondering whether any Disney resorts have golf courses. Named for both the verdant hues of camouflage and lush golf courses, the aptly named Shades of Green Resort is home not just to military members and their families visiting Walt Disney World, but three golf courses as well: Palm, Magnolia, and Oak Trail. Closer to Disney Springs, the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course winds through both the Old Key West and Saratoga Springs resorts. 

So, which Disney course is best? Well, it honestly depends on your skill level and what you’re looking for. Pro golfers and those looking for a challenge will love the Disney Magnolia Golf Course, the longest course at Disney World. Disney’s Palm and Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses are ideal for golfers of all levels, while the 9-hole Oak Trail walking course is perfect for beginners. 

Disney Palm Golf Course

Dotted with tranquil lakes, golden sand, and, of course, groves of palm trees, Disney’s Palm Golf Course spans 6,870 yards at the Shades of Green Resort. This historic, 18-hole golf course underwent a redesign by the Arnold Palmer Design Company during the summer of 2012 and now boasts fresh tees, bunkers, and green complexes. A challenge for novices and serious golfers alike, the Disney Palm Golf Course touts 59 bunkers, 9 holes with water hazards, and a 4-star rating from Golf Digest

Golf hole with flag

A snack cart is available for any food or drink cravings (alcohol too!). You’ll have 4½ hours to play 18 holes and just over 2 hours if you’re playing 9 holes. As you tackle each hole, keep an eye out for the picturesque views of Disney’s Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian Resorts. 

Disney Magnolia Golf Course

Boasting a traditional Tour-style design and a 4-star rating from Golf Digest, Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course is a golfer’s paradise for professionals and a true test of skill for beginners. In fact, Tiger Woods once walked this very course during a Masters championship.  The longest golf course at Walt Disney World at 7,516 yards, the 18-hole Magnolia Golf Course features 11 holes with water hazards and 97 bunkers, all freshly renovated in Summer 2015. 

As you drive your ball down the fairway, be sure to stop and smell the fragrant magnolia trees that give the course its name. Afterward, stop by Chip ‘n Dale’s Deli right next door for classic clubhouse bites like sandwiches, burgers, wraps, salads, pizza, and more. 

Disney Lake Buena Vista Golf Course

The Disney Lake Buena Vista Golf Course stretches for 6,745 yards through palmetto groves, pine trees, and the candy-colored villas of Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Old Key West Resorts. Designed by Joe Lee and award a 4-star rating by Golf Digest, the 18-hole, country club-style Lake Buena Vista Golf Course challenges golfers of all levels with a lone island green at its tricky 7th hole and elevated bunker greens and perfect for honing your approach. 

When you aren’t oohing and aahing over the panoramic vistas of Disney Springs across the lake, work on your swing and aim at the water driving range or stop by the onsite Disney Pro Shop. Once you’re finished, refuel for the rest of the day at Chip ‘n Dales Café or walk or boat on over to Disney Springs and some of the best dining in Disney World.  

Disney Oak Trail Golf Course

Mickey shaped sand pit

If you’re looking for family-friendly fun on the links, then look no further than the Disney Oak Trail Golf Course. At only 9 holes and a 36 par, this easygoing walking course – that’s right, no golf carts allowed – is the easiest golf course at Disney World and a relaxing woodland retreat even the youngest golfers can enjoy. Oak Trail is an enjoyable course for a variety of skill levels, with holes spanning 132 to 517 yards from the white tees down to 85 to 270 yards from the junior tees. 

Pull-carts are available for $7 per golfer or, for a taste of affordable Disney luxury, upgrade to the Tempo® Walk Robo-Caddie for only $3 more. This high-tech, hands-free caddie totes around your bag, a cooler, and even an onboard GPS. Just like any attraction at Disney World, your experience isn’t complete without a visit to the gift shop, so be sure to check out the full-sized pro shop before you leave. 

Other Places to Go Golfing at Disney World

Disney golf courses may be a magical way to escape the theme park crowds and enjoy Mother Nature, but for those looking for a way to elevate their adults trip to Disney World, consider booking a tee time at one of the non-Disney-operated golf courses at Walt Disney World instead. Located at two luxury Good Neighbor Hotels, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando and Waldorf Astoria Orlando, these golf courses enjoy impressive perks like state-of-the-art practice facilities, acclaimed instructors, and, of course, impeccably manicured fairways.   

Tranquilo Golf Course at Four Seasons Resort Orlando

For a more exclusive experience, plan your outdoor escape for the Tranquilo Golf Course at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando. Previously the Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course, this 18-hole course designed by Tom Fazio and certified as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary by Audubon International has played host to the LPGA Tour’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. 

When you aren’t exploring the wetland fairways, hone your craft at the cutting-edge, $2.5 million practice facility. This massive training area offers swing analysis technology, a sprawling putting green, practice bunkers, a double-ended driving range that can be played as a Par 3, 6-hole course, and more. Level up your game with designer gear from the Golf Shop, then tuck into elevated bar bites with a Cuban American twist at Plancha. 

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club Orlando

Long sand pit on golf fairway

Named one of the “Top Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine, the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club offers a picturesque round of golf immersed in the lush cypress stands of the Bonnet Creek nature preserve. This Rees Jones-designed, Par 72 course takes its inspiration from some of history’s greatest fairways while working in harmony with the abundant beauty that surrounds it. 

Looking to hone your game? Mosey on over to the practice range and putting green or, for a truly exceptional experience, book a one-on-one lesson from the Waldorf Astoria Golf Academy led by Director of Instruction Brian Mogg, one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 and Golf Digest’s Top 50 Golf Instructors. 

Kid-Friendly Alternatives to Teeing Off at Walt Disney World

Unless you’re on an adult Disney trip, chances are that you’ll be traveling to Disney World with some kiddos in tow. So, if you’re on the hunt for a round the whole family can enjoy, take a look at these next Disney golf experiences. 

Disney Mini Golf

Challenge your family to a little friendly competition (and work on your putting too) at one of the Disney mini-golf courses. We don’t know about you, but for us, part of the fun of going mini-golfing is the whimsical theming and creative obstacles. And let’s be honest, nobody does whimsy and creativity quite like Disney. Best of all, at only $14 for adults and $12 for children, it’s one of the more affordable things to do at Disney World. 

Golf putters and balls one green

Inspired by Disney’s Fantasia, Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf features fanciful gardens full of pirouetting hippos and parading alligators, along with its challenging Fairways course, a regular golf course in miniature. For more festive family time, try Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. This Disney World mini-golf spot offers two equally charming courses, one following the adventures of Santa and his elves during the busy Christmas season and the other joining them on their well-deserved vacation to the tropics.  

FootGolf at Oak Trail Golf Course

Foot… golf? Yup, that’s what we said. If you couldn’t already guess from the name, FootGolf is the love child of soccer and golf and one of the coolest things to do outside the theme parks at Disney World. Located at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, FootGolf takes the precision of golf and fuses it with the thrill of soccer. Throughout this beautiful 9-hole course certified by the American FootGolf League, test your foot-eye coordination as you aim your soccer ball towards the supersized 21-inches-wide holes. 

Well, golfers, that wraps up our guide to golfing at Disney World. Whether you’re looking for an exciting challenge or a family-friendly course that golfers of all ages can enjoy, you’re sure to find it at The Most Magical Place on Earth. 

To make the most of your Disney World vacation when you aren’t on the links, don’t miss out on our one-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, or Hollywood Studios. Looking to maximize your budget instead? Save some golf money with our discounted Walt Disney World tickets

Have you gone golfing at Walt Disney World? Which Disney golf course do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments!

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