Notes from the Architect:
As far as sites go, ChampionsGate Country Club was certainly not typical of a Florida tract land. It does have the expected wetlands, however these were framed with some noticeable sand hills. The relief is tremendous here and offers views for huge distances across south Orange County.
Because of the "tourist corridor" location, CEC and Lennar both felt the course should tout more of a resort feel. It wasn't difficult to simply take the natural terrain and kicked it up a notch for some nice eye candy. After several routing iterations we felt we captured the maximum value for both golf and property enhancements. Our practice range, viewed from the clubhouse patio, is actually an aqua range but with peninsula target greens to aid players with ball action and distance. On the course we placed several tee locations for all skill levels to challenge players shot strategy and game management. Our attempt in the routing process was to bring into play and accentuate many of the sites natural features.
An example would be an existing huge hole or "borrow pit" located on the back nine where we placed holes 15 and 16. It may sound strange, but we were able to create lakes by simply filling around them (not digging) and of course demoniacally brought them into play. Lots are far above the course along here with vistas that will most certainly be some of the most spectacular found in central Florida.
The finishing holes or what we call "the money holes", bring penalty shots to the table. The par 5 9th, forces a carry over a natural wetland from the lower handicappers tees and the par 5 18th green, is bulk headed adjacent to a beautiful lake for the approach tempting a "go for it in two" shot with the proper drive.
In all, the Clifton, Ezell and Clifton group is extremely happy and proud with the final results of our latest golf venue at ChampionsGate Country Club. It accomplishes all three design criteria in golf architecture, aesthetics, maintainability and playability. It's a course you'll want to play over and over again as a steady diet. We hope you enjoy the challenge.
George Clifton, ASGCA
CEC Golf Design Group
American Society of Golf Course Architects