Falcon’s Fire Golf Club, located in Kissimmee, Fla., is a Rees Jones designed championship golf course located just minutes away from the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando International Airport, and the Orange County Convention Center. Stretching nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees, it offers both local residents and out of town guests a challenging yet playable layout with four set of tees.
Falcon’s Fire Golf club originally opened it’s doors to the public in 1993 and in January 2010, completed significant renovations intended to maintain it’s place amongst the best Orlando golf courses. These included new greens, which were resurfaced with TifEagle Bermuda grass, creating a high quality putting surface, providing golfers with faster, smoother putting conditions. In addition, other changes include reshaping the bunkers, an improved irrigation and drainage system and entire golf course overseeding.
In October 2010, to complete it’s face lift, Falcon’s Fire partnered with Tom Hoch to completely renovate the clubhouse. Hoch is a pioneer in revenue-based design and turn-key architecture solutions and used his formidable skills to inject life into the 10,700 square foot clubhouse. New furniture, fixtures and equipment were added to the clubhouse and outside, a quaint gazebo was built to accommodate those golfers looking to begin a lifetime together surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the greatest sport of all time. The entire project was completed in three months.
Falcon’s Fire Golf Club, in my opinion epitomizes the Rees Jones design philosophy. The course is fun, reasonably challenging and offers plenty of play options on each hole. Mr. Jones is big on risk/reward shots and Falcon’s Fire gives you plenty of these.
Take hole 13, for example. It’s called “Bunker Hill,” dogleg right, water on the right, a straight shot from the tee box is the smart play, but a driver is too much club. You can clear the water with a decent drive, but this hole – well the entire course for that matter, is plagued by a 20-25 mph wind, typically right to left, that’ll ruin your day if you put even the slightest unintentional side spin on that ball. Let’s say you survive the first poke, you still have to contend with a tricky green adjacent to a lake on two sides that tends to slope towards the water and can really upset your day.
Something I really like about Falcon’s Fire is the fact that they’ve named all 18 holes. It gives the course character and I think, helps you visualize what type of hole you’re about to play. Well, that is, if they’re aptly named. Not to mention, when reviewing the course, it’s much more enjoyable to say “Double Dip” (#16) made me shed a tear as I whopped John Duval in the Lefty Challenge, rather than the 16th hole.. Know what I mean?
The greens are in fantastic shape and the undulations that were sharpened after the 2010 renovation are still in tact and can be merciless. “Falcon’s Lair” is a very good example of the type of pain these greens can dish out. It’s a two-tiered green that rolls fast and hard. Three putts aren’t an uncommon occurrence out here for me.
As you can see by the image to the right, they’ve done a fantastic job on their website of giving you a hole by hole visual tour of the course. This was a very impressive feature to me, I don’t think nearly enough golf courses give their websites the time and effort they should.
I like the overall layout of the course. There’s not much water on the front nine, it’s pretty wide open and the first few holes aren’t terribly difficult and number four, “go for broke” is one of my favorites. It’s a reachable par five with a split fairway, that’s a feature to don’t see very often `round these parts.`
The back nine, is the total opposite, water on most of the holes, crazy cross winds, elevated greens and some tricky layouts. There’s a lot of danger here but man it’s a blast.
So, as you might’ve guessed by my golf course review, Falcon’s Fire is a great track and all the time and effort they’ve put into the course has made a positive impact. I played the course back in August 2008 before the renovations and right after a good rain and the course was pretty soggy, to the point where we enacted a lift-clean-&-place rule for those that made it to the fairway, only to have their ball sunk one inch into the ground. The new drainage seems to have done the trick in correcting that.
The golf carts all come equipped with GPS navigation and give you the option of ordering your mid or post round meal at the Falcon’s Nest. The restaurant offers a variety of options including soups, salads, sandwiches and seafood entrees as well as daily specials. In the restaurant, you’re afforded a nice view of the signature finishing hole “Falcon’s Fire.” The staff is efficient and courteous and they offer complementary valet parking at the bag drop.
They’ve hosted our annual Battle of the Golf Blogs golf tournament for two years now and we’ve no plans on changing the venue.
The price is on par with many of the resort courses in the area and there’s always a deal or two to be found on Golfnow.com for those looking to play for a discount.