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By Dawn Axon

Posted on August 25th, 2005

When you’re fed up of lying by the pool all day (or at least the kids are!), you know its time for some activity. As our villas are situated on Highlands Reserve Golf Club, this sport in particular beckoned.

Before we took to the greens though, we thought we better get some practice in! We started off with a family trip to Disneys Winter Summerland near Blizzard Beach. Ideal for kids of all ages where Santa features heavily and the elves have built two different course – the winter course is 18 holes though ice castles, snow sculptures and on to Santa’s grotto. Summerland features Father Christmas on holiday among sandcastles & surf. I won’t spoil the fun, but look out for one or two surprises. At around $10 per course per person, these courses don’t offer the cheapest of adventure golf but as with all things Disney, they are well-landscaped, clean & great fun!

Next we progressed to Disney’s Fantasia golf courses near MGM studios. Again two courses – at Fantasia Gardens each hole is based on a different theme from the Disney movie; hippos dance, broomsticks march & you are likely to get wet even on the sunniest day!! Fantasia Fairways offers a ‘unique golfing experience - providing the challenging thrills of a full size course’. This I would not dispute with bunkers & streams that make it difficult to navigate holes up to 75 feet long, but it is a course more for the serious minded with less fun aspects. My nephew Thomas managed a respectable 72 on this course & this whet his appetite for more serious stuff!

At this stage the rest of the family retired from our golfing careers but the next step for Thomas and his Dad was Polo Park, a 9 hole, par 27 course at Highway 27, Davenport. Thomas was quite excited at the prospect of playing ‘real’ golf and the course is ideal for junior or new players, as each hole is a par 3. The cost was around $10 each including a buggy & clubs are available to hire. It took Thomas a few holes to realise he couldn’t use his putter all the time like on Crazy golf & he got used to using different clubs for different shots but by the end of two hours he was quite pleased with the distance he was hitting the ball. Definite progress but it didn’t really prepare him for what was the next stage!

Our villa overlooks Highlands Reserve Golf Club which includes a driving range, so his Dad gave him a couple of lessons to try to give him a bit more confidence then imagine the scene…. A 12 year old boy, driver in hand, addressing the ball while the rest of the family, including Grandparents, watch from the villa pool beside the first tee on a Par 72, 18 hole Championship golf course!

He swung the club beautifully and with a swish the ball sailed up the fairway; he climbed into the buggy to a round of applause & then headed off up to the first green quite content. Apparently he did find some of the holes rather challenging but cool lemonade from the drinks buggy at the 9th hole cheered him up! By the 17th he was hitting the ball very well for a beginner and managed a par 3. The last hole was a monster par 5, which he parred majestically to round off a fabulous 4-hour game. Progressive golf or what?!

Returning to the villa in good spirits they were greeted by the family with drinks by the pool! Now THATS the life!!!! Thomas was so hooked that we bought him his own set of clubs which he keeps at the villa for when we return each year - we also leave a 'full' set of clubs for our guests to use.

For further details of our villas on Highlands Reserve please see www.florida-golfvillas.com
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