Photos and article by David Theoret
Tucked away about 35 minutes north of Orlando, FL is a spectacular Central Florida resort that features an outstanding full-service spa, 4 restaurants and 2 top-notch golf courses. It’s the perfect location for a guy’s golf vacation, a girls’ spa weekend or a romantic getaway with that special someone.
Mission Inn features distinctive Spanish Colonial architecture and luxurious amenities. There are 176 studio, one, two and three-bedroom accommodations housed in three separate – but connected – buildings: “San Miguel”, “San Diego” and “San Angel”. All rooms are tastefully appointed with large, flat screen TVs, coffeemakers and well equipped work areas. As nice as this resort is, what really sets it apart is the golf!
Mission Inn is home to two championship courses – Las Colinas and El Campeon. Both courses provide golfers of all abilities an exceptional challenge and remarkable scenery, including the usual Florida flora and fauna: eagles and ospreys.
Las Colinas – Spanish for “the hills” – is known for its sweeping fairways and – wait for it – rolling hills. It’s more of an inland links design with wide-open fairways, gentle rolling hills and large greens that feature quite a bit of undulation. Number 12, a par 5, 493-yard hole affectionately dubbed “Alligator Alley,” is the course’s signature hole. It’s risk/reward from the start. You can lay back short of the pine on the left and make it a three-shot hole or pull out driver off the tee and go for the narrowest part of the fairway in hopes of getting on in two. Inaccuracy with either choice can lead to a big number and the tree that overhangs the right edge of the green and bunker only complicates things on poor approach shots. This is the make-or-break hole of the entire round.
The El Campeon course is the older and more popular of the two. Its roots date back to 1917 when it was designed by Chicago-based golf course architect George O’Neil and enhanced by Charles E. Clark of Troon, Scotland in 1926. This year, El Campeon celebrates its 100th birthday, with big events planned throughout 2017.
The course is best known for its steep hills and the need for precision shot making if you want to score well. El Campeon boasts over 85 feet of elevation change which is something rare in this part of Florida. The course’s signature hole is number 17, a long sweeping double dogleg that plays 556 yards from the back tees. If you can avoid the fairway bunkers on the left side and hanging oaks on the right with your tee shot, then you’re off to a great start. At this point it might be wise to survey what you have left. You’ll find a large historic live oak tree in the middle of the fairway, just waiting to screw up approach shots. You’ll need to leave yourself a manageable distance to the green as it plays over a large pond and slopes severely from back to front. Is there any wonder this hole is named “Devil’s Delight?”
Mission Inn also features an excellent practice facility, complete with an oversize driving range, massive putting green and chipping area complete with bunkers. Three on-site golf schools call Mission Inn home. There are also knowledgeable professionals on staff to help lower your score as well and something you won’t find at other golf resorts – a strength and conditioning coach.
If golf isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities at Mission Inn including hiking trails, bass fishing, trap and skeet shooting, tennis and volleyball. Of course, you can always just relax poolside. The resort is also an ideal location to celebrate a wedding or host a corporate meeting or incentive trip. And, since it’s only a short drive to the theme parks and other attractions that Orlando has to offer, it’s a great place to launch all of your vacation activities from.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Mission Inn on a FAM trip with several other writers and bloggers. Most of us were there for the golf, some with spouses, some without. And, as good as the golf was, the food was every bit its’ equal. This was the first FAM trip I have been on where you seemed to eat more than play golf! From breakfast down by the marina, to a Sunday brunch with prime rib for breakfast (nothing wrong with that), to lunch offsite at the Yahala Bakery, where German food is their specialty, it was all delicious. And I didn’t even mention the dinners. Our first meal was Friday night at El Conquistador, overlooking Plaza de la Fontana featuring steaks and seafood, all cooked to perfection and tastefully presented. If your stay includes a Saturday night, don’t miss the sushi, crab legs and prime rib buffet at Nicker’s which also features Executive Chef Danny Connolly’s signature pasta dishes.
Whatever the reason for your visit, you’ll enjoy all that Mission Inn has to offer. For more information, visit the Mission Inn website at www.missioninnresort.com.
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