Bay Hill-inspired putting course opens at Orlando park this summer

  • Orlando
    Arnold Palmer Design Company

    Arnold Palmer Design Company has created a new putting course as part of a development of Lake Lorna Doone Park in Orlando, Florida

  • Orlando
    Arnold Palmer Design Company

    The putting course is inspired by the back nine at Bay Hill

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Arnold Palmer Design Company (APDC) has created a new putting course as part of an $8 million development of Lake Lorna Doone Park in Orlando, Florida.

Situated in a historically at-risk neighbourhood, the city of Orlando and not-for-profit organisation Florida Citrus Sports led efforts to transform the 12-acre park into a space with a wide range of facilities to enrich the lives of the local community. Public and private partners, including the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, have contributed to the park’s transformation, including the introduction of a fitness station, basketball courts, community garden, pavilion and more.

APDC donated its services for the creation of a putting course. “It was important to be involved in a development project that is reinvesting in a community that, historically, has been left behind,” said Brandon Johnson, architect at APDC. “We were first introduced to this project in 2018, but the events of 2020, which in many ways underlined longstanding racial, social and economic disparities, made this project even more timely and relevant, and only strengthened our resolve to live up to the Palmers’ legacy by being a part of positive change in our community.

“One of the pillars of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation is the support of nature-based wellness and education, so this project was a natural fit. The foundation is utilising the park’s lake and natural resources for a nature walk, and extending related educational resources to local teachers so they can make the best use of the space.”

APDC’s putting course is inspired by the back nine at Bay Hill. “We incorporated fun slopes, sideboards and micro ridges to help manoeuvre around the course and made sure that it’s aesthetically pleasing,” said Johnson. “As the site of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill plays a huge role in Orlando’s local economy and culture, and this seemed a great way to share the course with the community in an accessible and family-friendly way.”

Maverick Golf Design’s Mike Jones assisted with shaping, while synthetic turf partner Tour Greens supplied the turf and handled the installation of the putting course.

Construction on the wider park project is mostly complete and a parkwide grand opening is scheduled for this summer.

This article first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.