Grand Cypress – something for everyone

A little while ago,  I made my way to Grand Cypress Golf Club and to the TaylorMade Performance Lab located in the Academy of Golf. While out there, I played some golf, went through a custom club fitting and toured the facilities.

To sum the experience, let me say, “Grand Cypress is amazing.”

Grand Cypress Golf Club boasts 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus signature golf. There’s two courses, the Old course and the New course.

The Old Course is comprised of three nine-hole courses called the North, East and South Courses. Within these 27 holes, the Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed North, South, and East Nines provide three distinctly unique 18-hole masterpieces.

For the full round of 18, courses can be combined as the North-South, South-East, or East-North Course.

Each combination provides a distinctive playing experience, which will challenge even the best of golfers.

Grand Cypress Golf ClubThe North, South, and East Nines offer a variety of mental and physical stimuli that test accuracy rather than strength and distance. The original North-South combination, marked by sharp ledge fairways, tall shaggy mounds, and plateau greens perched above water or sand, is a demanding, target-style test. The sportier, more wooded East Nine is more generous, with less bunkering (particularly in front of the greens) allowing for more run-up shots.

I played the East-North combination while I was there. The East course was down right brutal, left me wondering if I was fit to wield a club. The North was much more forgiving and helped to offset the pounding dished out by the East. The course was in superb shape, not very crowded and presented many opportunities for a variety of shots. The greens were tough and a little tricky but for the most part, rolled true.

The New Course is Jack Nicklaus’ tribute and homage to the famed Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. This Scottish links masterpiece is complete with double greens, stone bridges and walls, gorse mounds, burns, and pot bunkers as deep as 12 feet, all in the spirit of true Scottish original.

There was great care put into creating a course that was very similar, and to a certain extent, exactly like the Old course at St. Andrews.

They’ve created a replica of the Swilican Bridge that golfers for centuries at have trudged over on the 18th hole at the Old Course in St. Andrews. It’s said to be a very spiritual moment, as youGrand Cypress Golf Club cross the bridge, reflecting on just how many have come before you and will come after.

You can almost visualize the many golf’s “greats” that have crossed that very path, decades and centuries before. This is as close as it’ll ever get to the real thing, with the added benefit of the Florida sunshine!

While you’re there, you can also take advantage of the Academy of Golf, they offer so many different things, that I guarantee that there’s something for everyone. I can tell you from experience that the driving range is immaculate. There’s nothing I hate more than going to the range, and trying to work on your game on ground that’s both uneven and beat all to hell. I was very impressed with the care the give the range and how great the conditions were. They also offer range finders that everyone can use, free of charge, so you can better gauge your distances.

It’s been rated one of golf’s “Top 25 schools” since 1999 and because there’s so much to offer, they’re always running special packages and rates on lessons.

I highly encourage you to check out the TaylorMade Performance Lab whilst you’re there and see if Travis can squeeze you in, it’s well worth the investment.

For the fitting, they put twenty six sensors on your body which are read by the nine high speed (180 FPS) cameras that are strategically located throughout the room.

Once you’re all suited up, you stand in the middle of the room and they turn the cameras on and take a snapshot of your body structure and upload it to be used during your fitting. Thankfully, it’s rather slimming and does a good job of masking the expanding girth..

The whole club fitting process utilizes (initializing copy-paste) Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade technology (MATT) to provide golfers with an experience that far exceeds anything previously available to the public.

It gathers vital swing information and statistics using multiple high-speed cameras and distills that information to create a remarkably sophisticated three-dimensional computer-animated image of your swing viewable from every angle. MATT also executes a multitude of calculations and measurements to develop a data-driven personal club recommendation.

MATT provides a superior club-fitting and/or instructional experience by supplying club-fitters and instructors with an unparalleled level of practical data, giving them the power to analyze your swing and identify your needs with remarkable precision. Your clubs will fit better, improving your game — and your score. (end copy-paste)

For my fitting, I hit three clubs, a six iron, driver and putter. I hit about four shots with each club and after every shot we’d analyze the shot on the big projector screen they have set up. MATT captures every aspect of your swing and it can be viewed a couple of hundred different ways. Here’s a slightly complete list of the different aspects it captures.

* Clubhead Path
* Swing Planes
* Speed Planes
* Center Of Gravity
* Body Line on Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Toes, and Spine
* Face Angle
* Target Line
* Ball Position
* Head Position
* X – Factor ( Relationship between Shoulder Turn and Hip Turn)
* Shaft and Shoulder Plane
* Wrist Cocking Angle
* Shaft Line
* Shaft Deflection
* Posture Lines
* In/Out Path of Club
* Up/Down Path of club
* Hand Speed
* Clubhead Speed
* Effective loft of the club at impact
* Ball Speed
* Launch Angle
* Backspin
* Side spin
* Ball Trajectory
* Computed Distance and Roll

Evaluating my swing, Travis concluded a couple things; On ALL of my clubs (driver, irons, putter) my clubface is open at contact, my swing plane varies pretty significantly from the take away plane to the downward motion plane, and he surmised that it was probably due to the fact that I’ve been hitting clubs that were too short for me. So instead of going straight back and straight forward, I’m taking the club back and while doing that, I’m pushing my hands forward which is causing my head to drop a bit and then i’m pulling the club in at impact which is causing my open club face and causing me to come across the ball putting some sideways spin on it.

Not only was Travis able to identify my swing troubles, he showed me how to fix them. Soooo, real quick, totally awesome club fitting session AND golf lesson! It’s been some solid advice too.

Once the fitting is done, the system uses some sophisitcated algorithm and compares your swing to 1,500,000 others and comes up with a recommended set of custom TaylorMade clubs for you. The master club fitter then looks it over, makes any corrections he/she deems necessary and then sets out to build a set of demo clubs for you to go to the range with. The recommended driver for me was the TaylorMade R9 460, 10.5 degree loft and the clubface closed two degrees. The irons were the 2009 TaylorMade Burner Irons 3I-PW -.5 degree flat.

We went to the range to hit these custom fitted clubs and after a couple swings, I was bombing them down the range. It was such an awesome feeling! Needless to say, I’ve since ordered a full set of TaylorMade Burner irons that I’ve been very pleased with. Now, I’m not saying that every shot is straight and perfect, but custom clubs have made my misses ALOT more manageable.

After the fitting was over, he burned all my swings onto a CD as well as the club recommendations for me to take home. I spent a good while just replaying my swing and checking out the different components.

Regarding lodging, there’s two options that are on site, the Villas of Grand Cypress and the Hyatt Regency at Grand Cypress. Both have tons of amenities and activities for you and the family to engage in. The location is perfect for families as well, for those who aren’t crazy about golf, you’re right next to Walt Disney World, so send them to the attractions and head to the links! 🙂

For all of you locals, just an FYI, they’re starting an initiative to get more of us out there, so you should definitely inquire about what sort of special rates they’re running for Orlando residents.

For further reading, check out the Travel Guide Orlando

Here’s some Orlando golf course reviews for your perusal and if you’re looking to play, here’s a selection of discounted Orlando tee times.

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