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Play, stay, even study: A family golf-cation at Reunion Resort

My son Zack started playing golf over a year ago, but this summer after five weeks of golf camp and lessons from a pro, it was official.

My son Zack started playing golf over a year ago, but this summer after five weeks of golf camp and lessons from a pro, it was official: He’d caught the golf bug. From then on he wanted to spend more time on the course and the driving range.

Reunion Resort in Orlando offered just that. Only an hour away from Tampa, it’s been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the six best golf courses in Florida. With three signature courses designed by golf legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, Reunion is said to be on every golfer’s bucket list.

The Arnold Palmer course is sited on hilly, roller-coaster terrain that poses a unique challenge. The Jack Nicklaus course is as deceptive as it is beautiful and tempts golfers to take risky shots. Zack was taken out on the Tom Watson course, which emphasizes the short game with spacious green complexes.

The Watson course is full of beauty, variety and challenge. Zack said it was different for him because of the hills and sand which he wasn’t used to.

The Resort has one-to-three-bedroom villas and luxury single-family home choices with up to 13 bedrooms to accommodate extended family. We stayed at one of the homes and zipped around the resort in a golf cart for our two-day visit, which my son really enjoyed.

The day after arriving at Reunion, Zack had a lesson scheduled for 9 a.m. with Michael Henry, the golf pro who teaches the summer camps for kids. A very nice, younger guy, he discussed Zack’s experience with us and our desire to get some quality time for him on the course, and soon they were off to play.

Meanwhile, I hung out at the clubhouse, drinking coffee on the terrace that overlooks the course, watching golfers zip by in their carts, stop in for coffee or meet other golfers for a round.

Reunion Resort also has a golf academy led by a talented team of professionals. There are two driving ranges, and golf carts are available to rent throughout your stay. And if some members of your family are into tennis more than golf, the resort has them covered, too, with an award-winning tennis center featuring six state-of-the-art “Hydro-Grid” tennis courts. The center offers private group lessons and clinics for adults and children, taught by USPTA certified pros.

I thought that Zack would be finished in an hour, but at 10 a.m. he and Mike were back asking if Zack could continue playing. They had played three holes and Mike wanted to take him out for another seven since the course was not that busy. How could I say no?

Ninety minutes later Zack called to say that they were finished playing, that he’d been able to play 11 holes, and that it was “the best day of vacation!”

Mike said he had a natural talent and swing, and would be happy to teach him anytime we wanted to return to the Resort. When we got back to our vacation home, Zack jumped into the pool in the back yard and spent the afternoon cooling off.

The next time we stay at Reunion Resort, we’ll opt to be near the Legends area, close to the Jack Nicklaus Golf course, where you can slip out of your house anytime throughout the day to play. There’s also a Nicklaus Golf Club and Traditions Restaurant that would be a short hop away in the golf cart.

For any parent looking for a way to keep their kids active while participating in online school this fall, head over to the Reunion Resort for an extended visit and stay in a vacation home with plenty of space for everyone to work virtually. Then, when school is out for the day, or your own virtual work is done, the kids can go out and play golf or tennis or head to the five-acre water park, which has three water slides, a lazy river and a kiddie zone.

An aerial view of the water park, which also has a lazy river running through it.

If you are an avid golfer, bring your family, play with your kids and check another item off your bucket list.

Right now, Reunion Resort is offering a Florida/Georgia Back to School Special for staying and playing. Check it out with your family and enjoy.


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