Biding Time at Orlando International Airport? Why Not Hit the Links?

    By Tim McDonald

    If you've ever visited Florida, there's a good chance you've spent some time at the Orlando International Airport.

    If you happen to have a long layover – and you also happen to have your golf clubs with you – you might want to consider a quick round of golf. Here are some of my favorite courses within a short drive to and from the airport.

    - Shingle Creek is about a 15 minute-drive from the airport. It's a course with impeccable conditioning and top-notch service. Shingle Creek is built on a wide, tree-less basin with elevated greens with multiple tiers. The course has numerous water hazards and can be a bear from the back tees. If you're in a rush, play it from one of the middle tees.

    - Osprey Ridge is a Disney course, a Tom Fazio design with elevated greens and tees on the most secluded part of the Disney property. It also has multi-tiered greens and is more undulating than the other Disney courses.

    - Eagle Creek is one of the more affordable, Orlando-area layouts. It's a pleasing combination of British and American golf architecture with wide fairways and generous landing areas. Eagle Creek has five par-5s so you'll get more than a fair shot at birdies.

    - Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes is a Greg Norman design, close to the hustle and bustle of Orlando, but located in a serene spot. It has wide fairways with little or no rough so your clubs will stay clean.

    - Hawk's Landing is a lovely resort course, another layout in a quiet setting – except for the few holes where you can hear Interstate-4 traffic zooming by. This isn't an overly challenging track, but it is beautifully groomed.