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In the rolling hills north of Orlando, Las Colinas golf course offers a challenging yet fair layout in a peaceful setting.
Las Colinas, Spanish for “the hills,” is one of two golf courses at Mission Inn Resort in the quaint Florida town of Howey-in-the-Hills. Less than an hour from the hustle and bustle of Orlando, Mission Inn feels like an indulgent private oasis. Las Colinas, designed by Gary Koch in 1992, exemplifies the resort venue with wonderful facilities and natural settings.
With a 10 acre driving range, a 10,000 sq. ft. putting green, and substantial bunker/chipping area, the practice facilities at Las Colinas are tough to beat. And if you’re smart enough to be staying at the resort, the practice green’s size and number of holes makes a wonderful spot for a friendly putting competition before the sun sets on a great day of golf.
Customer Service & Amenities
From the hustling cart staff through the attentive management staff, every employee I encountered was friendly and courteous in a truly genuine way. The expansive clubhouse includes a well-stocked pro shop, Nicker’s pub and restaurant, and Spa Mirabella. The Nicker’s menu offers a dizzying array of choices, so order a giant pretzel and spicy beer cheese while you think through it.
Beauty & Scenery
The great condition of Las Colinas adds to the overall eye appeal of the course. As you might expect in Florida, there’s water on 12 of the 18 holes which attracts a lot of interest from birds like the beautiful blue heron above. Homes line a few holes, but only on one side with plenty of nature to draw your attention away. I really enjoyed the dense trees that create a sense of isolation.
Las Colinas has five sets of tees ranging from 4922 yards to 7230 yards. The score card also includes a mixed set of tees that offers relief from some of the long holes that can be challenging from the traditional white tees. Except for a couple uphill, blind drives, holes are self evident from the tee boxes. Fairways are generous but finding the rough may require a repositioning shot.
One of my favorite elements of Las Colinas was the variety of approach shots encountered. In addition to having the chance to use virtually every iron in my bag, my mind was challenged by the architectural elements with bunkers, mounds, and green shapes coming into play. And regardless of the player’s ability or creativity, there seemed to always be a line that would allow a ball to roll up and onto the green, reminiscent of links style.
Greens & Surrounds
Around the greens are ample areas of well manicured grass, giving golfers plenty of options on shot selection. The clean lies I encountered gave me confidence to execute precise pitches. Bunkers are set back from the greens to grab wayward approach shots, but not penalize near misses. Green sizes and slopes varied, making for great diversity.
Hole #5 – Par 5 – 463 Yards
From the tee, the dogleg right hides the green from view. I soon learned this wasn’t the immediate challenge of the hole as I approached my drive and discovered the pond that fronts the green. After some quick ciphering to decide what club to lay up with, I was left with a fairly straight forward wedge shot. Don’t be deceived by what looks like an elevated green with fairway in front – it’s actually a 3 tier green and I was happy to walk off with a two putt.
Hole #12 – Par 5 – 505 Yards
Nothing seems more intimidating that a large tree in the fairway, but wow, this is one pretty hole. Turns out the tall, straight trunk of that tree makes it fairly easy to navigate around, but all the other trees lining the hole keep you on your toes.
Hole #15 – Par 3 – 189 Yards
Once again, trees make this hole visually stunning but incredibly challenging. Adding to both of those attributes are the bunkers that make precision paramount.
On its own, Las Colinas is worthy of a day trip from Orlando and most of Central Florida. For a true escape, make playing Las Colinas part of a stay at Mission Inn Resort [full review HERE]. The diversity of the holes as they meander through a mostly natural setting is sure to please golfers of all abilities.