Mission Resort

If you mention Florida golf to just about anyone from another state, usually the initial impression or comments you’ll hear, relate to the stereotype of flat topography and courses that feature little more than palm trees, water hazards and alligators. For the southern part of the state (south of Lake Okeechobee) this is mostly true, but for those who have traveled beyond the eastern I-95 corridor, an awareness of extraordinary movement through the middle of the state exists. The towns of Ocala, Montverde, Gainesville, Lake Wales, Claremont, Lecanto, and Howey-In-The-Hills are just a few where sand ridges and elongated spines of significant elevation exist. Dozens of courses that feature thrilling and dramatic land movement are located within this region – among the finest destinations in this part of the peninsula is Mission Resort.

Recently, we visited the resort (formerly known as Mission Inn) located in Howey-In-The Hills, Florida (about 50 miles northwest of Orlando). The resort features two distinctly different 18 hole championship golf courses – El Campeón (The Champion) designed in 1917 by Chicago’s George O’Neil, that features some very dramatic elevation changes. This 107 year-old layout is a headliner on the Historic Florida Golf Trail (http://floridahistoricgolftrail.com/courses.cfm). The more modern track, Las Colinas was designed by tour player Gary Koch in 1992, and although it lacks the thrilling elevation changes like it’s classic sibling, it certainly will challenge your shotmaking ability.

El Campeon

5th hole at El Campeon
El Campeon 10th hole

Magnificent mature Live Oaks with Spanish Moss loom over fairway edges adding to the scenery and the challenge on many holes of this par 73 layout.

El Campeon is demanding off the tee, featuring some forced carries and the obligation to execute shots that are often played from uphill or downhill and sidehill lies.

The par 4 fourteenth plays severely downhill from the tee to a fairway that narrows towards a diagonal creek that bisects the landing area. The approach plays back up the hill to a large putting surface that boldly tilts from back to front.

Las Colinas

Las Colinas (The Hills) features more subtle land movement, but there’s enough variety to grab your attention. It demands a bit more shot shaping with several doglegs and a few surprises like the par 4 seventh (above) that plays up a modest rise from the tee, and then downhill to a reveal (above) that presents a wide but shallow target with a short iron approach. A rare hole out from the fairway here, added some excitement to the round. Las Colinas plays to a par of 71.

The resort features a 30,000-square-foot driving range tee planted with Tifway Bermuda grass turf, practice bunkers with target greens, and a 10,000-square-foot putting green. The courses have served as venues for NCAA men’s and women’s national golf championships, as well women’s Epson Tour events.

Plaza De Palmas

There’s plenty to do at Mission Resort beyond the links, pool, gym, spa and several dining options are sure to keep you busy and nourished.

At The Spa at Mission Resort + Club, enjoy some self care treatments such as: Cucumber Melon Pedicure (50-minute pedicure experience). Blissful Body Repair (50-minute exfoliating body treatment) and Citrus Cilantro Hydrating Massage (50-minute full body massage).

The four restaurants at Mission Resort offer something for everyone:

La Hacienda is known for its signature Champagne Sunday Brunch, but also features a daily breakfast buffet for golfers and guests. Made-to-order omelets, Belgian waffles, pancakes, bacon, and a big selection of fresh fruits and cereals is available every morning.

El Conquistador offers a refined menu complemented by an expertly curated wine selection, and each meal finely crafted by the Executive Chef features a magnificent culinary creation. making every dining experience one to remember.

La Margarita is a the place for fabulous cuisine with a top-shelf bar that has an intimate vibe over looking the Plaza De Las Palmas – artisanal pizzas, choice steaks, and seasonal live music set the scene.

Nicker’s Clubhouse offers views of the golf course and a sports bar themed eatery with several big screen TVs featuring salads, gourmet sandwiches, and a worthy array of can’t miss burgers.

The beautiful Plaza de Las Palmas,

Our accommodations at Mission Resort had a superb view of the ninth and sixth holes at El Campeon.

For more information on golf tee times and stay n play reservations: https://www.missionresortandclub.com/


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