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Golf Academy of America’s most challenging par 5s in Orlando

Jul 13, 2015

Living in Orlando has many advantages. Sure, there are plenty of things to see and do, including great professional and college sports, amusement parks and shopping. But for golfers, Orlando is nothing short of heaven. As students at Golf Academy of America in Orlando have discovered, attending the Orlando campus is like hitting the jackpot if you love to play lots of golf on some of America's best courses.

Our students enjoy the opportunity to experience many of these great public courses in the Orlando area, so we asked them to rate the toughest par 5s in Orlando. Here are the results:

El Campeón at Mission Inn Resort & Club

1. #17 at El Campeón at Mission Inn Resort & Club
What better way to start off this list than with a hole that's been given the nickname "Devil's Delight"? Located at one of the South's oldest golf courses, the 17th at El Campeón has a tight fairway and presents a difficult double dogleg. Off the tee, you must avoid the fairway bunkers down the left side of the fairway. If you find the fairway, your second shot will have to navigate around or over the historic old live oak sitting in the center of the fairway. The best approach is to stay to the right of the big live oak giving you a good look at the green, which is guarded by water and slopes severely from back to front. Hit it past the pin and you are faced with a difficult downhill putt.

Bay Hill Club & Lodge

#6 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Bay Hill is one of Arnold Palmer's greatest masterpieces. It is the place he calls home and where many afternoons you can see him in the clubhouse talking to folks and enjoying being the "King". #6 is one of Arnie's most beguiling creations, as there is water everywhere, leaving little room for error. Just ask John Daly, who carded a 13 over par on this hole. Measuring 555 yards off the tee, this great par 5 is as good as they get. Golfers have two options: try to carry over the lake that guards the entire left side and possibly get on the green in 2, or take the safer approach down the middle of the fairway and be met by two bunkers and a long second and third shot. The green is guarded on the left side by water and rocks and is pear shaped with two bunkers on the right side and behind the green.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

#12 at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club
Measuring 626 yards, this hole is named "Conrad" after Conrad Hilton. Many say that it seems to play a lot longer due to the constant southeastern wind blowing in your face. But the wind isn't your only enemy here. While your tee shot isn't so intimidating, the rest of the fairway is peppered with huge, deep bunkers that on some days just seem to eat golf balls for lunch. The challenge does not end on the fairway. The entire green is guarded by water and looks almost like a moat around a castle, leaving little room for error.

Tranquilo, Four Seasons Orlando

#16 at Tranquilo, Four Seasons Orlando
Originally, this was the Osprey Ridge course at Disney World. However, the Four Seasons recently took over the course and renovated it. Number 16 at Tranquilo is a test for even the very best golfers. Designed with a strategically placed water hazard, as well as many bunkers, this hole presents challenges from tee to green. The trouble does not end in the fairway, as the green is a proverbial sacred ground, enveloped by five traps, making the approach very difficult.

Grand Cypress Golf Resort

#6 at Grand Cypress Golf Resort (South Nine)
Ranked as one of America's 50 Best Golf Resorts, you would expect Grand Cypress to have some fun and challenging holes. The Par 5 #6 is a great dogleg left around a beautiful lake with a very narrow approach shot to an uphill green. At 600 yards, this hole can be a bear and hardly reachable in 2 by even the longest hitters. The small sloping green makes approach shots very difficult. In fact, it is referred to as a "postage stamp" green; a term coined by Golf Illustrated writer Willie Park in reference to the small putting surface on the eighth at Royal Troon. Oh, and just a heads up: the green is lined by water and a large bunker, too!

The five par 5s mentioned here are just a few of the many great courses to play in Orlando. And when the students from Golf Academy of America are not honing their game on the course and their minds in the classroom, you may see them at some of the great PGA events that visit Central Florida such as the Children's Miracle Network Classic, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.