Arnold Palmer Management to Operate Walt Disney World Golf Courses; Course Enhancements Planned

Walt Disney World Resort and Arnold Palmer Golf Management have signed a 20-year strategic alliance to create even more magic for Disney golfers. Beginning Sept. 25, Arnold Palmer Golf Management will operate, manage, maintain and help promote all five Disney courses including Disney’s Palm and Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge and Oak Trail golf courses.

As part of this long-term alliance agreement, golf legend Arnold Palmer and his golf course design team will be actively engaged in implementing strategic and innovative design features to several of the golf courses. Future enhancements include plans for a full renovation of Disney’s Palm under his direction to become an Arnold Palmer designed course.

“After 40 years as a golf course architect, I’m looking forward to this opportunity to contribute to Disney’s rich and storied golf legacy,” said Arnold Palmer. “I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of memories playing golf and it will be a great reward to pass that on to those who share a passion both for Disney and the game of golf.”

With an extensive following of serious golf enthusiasts, Arnold Palmer Golf Management is known for its excellent course conditions, pace of play, service standards and player development. In addition to course operation, the company also manages  “Palmer Advantage,” a reciprocal club and concierge service program, that provides members with unique travel benefits and access to more than 250 private clubs, resorts and golf courses around the world.

“Drawing on Arnold Palmer Golf Management’s expertise and experience enables us to build on our mutual strengths and extend our appeal both among leisure players and avid golfers,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “We’re excited about this new collaboration, which will benefit Disney guests and Palmer Advantage club members wanting a destination golf experience.”

The agreement gives Arnold Palmer Golf Management an opportunity to add a uniquely Disney, family-friendly golf destination to its portfolio of more than 70 private clubs and championship golf courses. Disney Golf will be promoted within the Palmer Advantage network of golf devotees, through a dedicated website and featured within the exclusive publication, “Kingdom Magazine,” which celebrates Mr. Palmer’s contributions to the game of golf and extensive philanthropic ambassadorship.

“With a reputation for service excellence and exceptional family entertainment, Walt Disney World is an ideal complement to our member offerings,” said Jim Hinckley, president of Arnold Palmer Golf Management. “This collaboration will give our members both a superior golf experience and a one-of-a-kind family golf vacation.”

Since Walt Disney World opened with two 18-hole courses in 1971, golf has been a key component of the resort. Over the past four decades, Disney World has hosted professional and amateur golf tournaments, including one of the longest-running events in PGA Tour history – the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Disney has also hosted the LPGA Tour, NCAA golf championships and dozens of celebrity golf tournaments.

Walt Disney World Resort is one of the largest golf resorts in the country with a total of 81 holes on four 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole family-play course. All five courses are certified by Audubon International as cooperative wildlife sanctuaries. The resort includes:

  • Disney’s Magnolia course – Named for its 1500 magnolia trees, this course is one of the two original golf courses that opened with Walt Disney World Resort forty years ago. Designed by Joe Lee, the course has hosted final round play for PGA Tour events since 1971.
  • Disney’s Palm course –Designed to accentuate the natural beauty of the land, the course opened in 1971 near Magic Kingdom. Recognized as one of America’s premier resort courses, Disney’s Palm will be renovated to earn the designation of an Arnold Palmer designed course.
  • Lake Buena Vista course – Built in 1972, the course adjacent to Downtown Disney and Saratoga Springs Resort stretches to 6,829 yards from the championship tees. As a past host for PGA, LPGA and USGA tour stops, the beautifully conditioned course is a challenge for pros and amateurs alike.
  • Osprey Ridge course – Designed by Tom Fazio in 1992, the course will transition to Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort as part of their new luxury resort anticipated to open in 2013-14.
  • Oak Trail course one of Disney’s most popular courses, this nine hole walking course is ideal for golfers of all ages and skill levels.

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