Relive the Life of Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill

Bay Hill's 18th hole (Image: Bay Hill Club and Lodge)

Morning mist on the famous 18th hole at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club. (Image: Bay Hill Club and Lodge)

(Last updated November 2019.)

In sharp contrast to the golf factories at many Florida resorts, Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando feels more like an upscale bed and breakfast.

Each of the 70 refurbished guest rooms is decorated with photographs and memorabilia celebrating Arnold Palmer’s career. The great man himself used to be in residence at this intimate hideaway from October through March, making the trek almost daily from his condo down the street to his clubhouse office.

Palmer bought Bay Hill in 1976 and, together with design partner Ed Seay, remodeled the Championship Course into a widely acclaimed layout that annually hosts the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Like the King in his prime, the 7,400-yard tournament behemoth exudes strength and flair, demanding strategic shot-making while penalizing golfers who gamble rashly. The exceptionally well-conditioned layout includes six doglegs, with water in play on 10 of the 18 holes.

And like all great courses, this one ends with a wallop on the 18th, where the pinpoint approach shot over a pond (known as the “Devil’s Bathtub”) to a narrow green is nerve-rattling.

Bay Hill also offers a far friendlier nine, the Charger Course, as well as a spa, the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy, and a recently added two-acre short game facility. To make way for the short game facility expansion, the ninth hole on the Charger Course was redesigned into a drivable par four.