The ballots are in for the 2004 Golden Links Best of Corporate Golf Awards. In the "Best New Course/Renovation" category, readers chose the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, near Orlando. The resort features two challenging 18-hole par-72 championship golf courses designed by Greg Norman, the National and the International. Both have won honorable mentions by Golf Magazine as the "10 Most Distinctive Places to Play." ChampionsGate is also home to the world headquarters of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and, opening in October, the 730-room Mediterranean-style Omni Orlando Resort.
"ChampionsGate has great layouts, a very friendly staff, and a nice clubhouse, says Frank Sablone, executive director of the Tag & Label Institute, Naperville, Ill., and a member of Corporate Meetings & Incentives' Golden Links Advisory Board. "The courses make it playable for all types of golfers. The International is one of those courses where players can play a course that the pros play. And the practice range is one of the best."
The winner in the "Best Service/Staffing" category is The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The Broadmoor's East course is an old-timer, designed in 1917 by Donald Ross, while the West Course was completed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. in 1964. At 6,800 feet, it overlooks both the city and the mountains. The Mountain Course is the Broadmoor's newest, designed by Ed Seay of the Arnold Palmer Group in 1976. It is also known for its dramatic panoramas and superb golfing. But overall, what makes this resort so memorable is the staff—and how they cater to groups, says Sablone. "Staff members all have the ability to remember who you are," he says. "They work with groups very well and are good at making recommendations about play."
As the "Best Overall Course for Meetings and Incentives," readers chose Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, home of the Blue Monster. Built in 1960 and redesigned in the late '90s by Raymond Floyd, the course is known for its several water hazards, some the size of small lakes. Says Golden Links Advisory Board member Walt Galanty, president of Accurate Image Marketing, Inc., Alexandria, Va.: " Without a doubt, Doral is one of the best facilities in the country to have golf events. The entire staff really knows how to run golf events for all sizes and types of groups. The variety of golf allows good players to be satisfied on the same course as beginners."
For more on the Golden Links Best of Corporate Golf Awards, look for the April issue of Corporate Meetings & Incentives.