In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Winter Park Golf Course is located in the City of Winter Park in Orange County. The city's golfing heritage dates back to 1900 when its first course, located south of the existing course and adjacent to Rollins College, was designed by John Dunn of Scotland. Dunn's golf course was closed in less than ten years due to the growth of the town and college.
In 1914, Harley A. Ward and Dow George were commissioned to lay out a 9-hole course on 25 acres at the north end of town. That same year the Winter Park Country Club was formed. One of the club's first activities was to build a clubhouse, which is still in use today. In that same year the newly formed club contracted with Dow George to build an additional 18-hole golf course which would wrap around the 9-hole "short" course.
Both the 18-hole and 9-hole golf courses shared the first hole. Golfers would then go to a different second hole, depending on which layout they were playing. In 1917, the opening hole was listed as a 246 yard par 4 and described as a “straight drive over level stretch of fair green and the hole is pretty easy.”
Complaints of cattle wandering on the fairways prompted the city to install a gate and fencing around the course. The club eventually turned its links into a green pasture for sheep and goats in order to help solve the shortage of meat supply during World War I. This also reduced the club’s need to frequently mow the fairways.
In 1926, with the opening of the Aloma Country Club and Golf Course, across Lake Osceola, the Winter Park Country Club golf courses were closed. When the Aloma facility went out of business ten years later, the Winter Park Country Club re-organized at their old site. They combined holes from the 18-hole and 9-hole golf courses to produce a new 9-hole layout. The golf course and clubhouse were rehabilitated, and the course was reopened in 1937.
The Winter Park golf course became the first golf course in Florida to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, along with its clubhouse.
On September 16, 2014, The Florida Department of State and former Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced the launch of the Florida Historic Golf Trail program at the Winter Park Golf Course. Along with Secretary Detzner, former State Historic Preservation Officer Robert F. Bendus, former Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley, and LPGA player Michelle McGann, were among those who addressed the media at a press conference which also heralded Winter Park’s Centennial Celebration. Additionally, The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive Show was on location at the Winter Park Golf and Country Club to feature the centennial anniversary announcement, and interview with Secretary Detzner about the Florida Historic Golf Trail.
That same year the City of Winter Park appointed a task force to look into a renovation of the golf course. The City hired golf architects Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb, who introduced new fairways, roughs, greens and playing strategies. The new design enhanced the charm and aesthetic appeal of the course, while preserving its dual-purpose as community park and golf course. opening in 2016, the 40-acre course has become the model for public municipal golf courses.
The 9-hole, par 35 Winter Park Golf Course features three sets of tees playing from 2,100 to 2,400 yards. This course sits in the middle of Winter Park where street crossings, train tracks and a cemetery are all part of its charm.
On any given day of the week, visitors can find a good group to play with. In 2010, Winter Park Golf Course was voted the second best public golf course in the greater Orlando area by Orlando Magazine, and was featured on an episode of The Golf Channel's travel show GolfNow.
Residents of Winter Park have embraced the history of their golf course and are proud of their unique facility. Together with passionate golfers, recognizing the significance of the course, they have worked to maintain this course as one of Florida's very best public access golf courses.
Located off the 9th tee box and next to the Casa Feliz Historic Home and Museum is Winter Park’s Back 9 Putting Course. Architects Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb built this course on the site of an old croquet field. This 10,000 square foot community putting course is open from dusk to dawn, and is free and open to the public.
The historic canals of Winter Park - Since the 1930s, one of the most scenic ways to see and experience Winter Park is on a boat tour through its lakes and historic manmade canals. The Winter Park Chain of Lakes are an interconnected system of six lakes in Winter Park and Maitland that are joined by navigable canals. The earliest canals date back to the 1870s. Under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in the 1930s, the canals were widened and deepened to allow for larger boats. Since then, canal boat tours have been a popular attraction for locals and visitors. Today, visitors can take an hour-long guided scenic boat tour through some of the lakes and canals. For the more adventurous, there are guided tours of the canals and lakes on stand-up paddle boards. Visit Scenic Boat Tours, Maui B's or Paddleboard Orlando for more details.