LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Disney's Magnolia golf course, a PGA Tour event site every year since 1971, is undergoing an "extreme makeover" this summer in preparation for the 35th annual Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort in October. The makeover, which begins May 9, will include resurfacing greens, laser-leveling tees, extending tee boxes and building new tee boxes.
When the Magnolia reopens on Sept. 10, the greens will feature TifEagle turf, a hybrid bermudagrass with playability more like northern bentgrass than the previous surface (Tifdwarf). The course will also play about 300 yards longer -- at approximately 7,500 yards from the championship tees. Ten holes will be lengthened, either by enlarging the tee area or by building a new championship tee box.
The Magnolia is the second of Disney's five championship courses to undergo green resurfacing. The Palm course was resurfaced in 2004, and the change is getting favorable reviews from players, according to Gary Myers, manager of golf course maintenance. "Right now, the Palm greens are the best -- which is what we would expect. The six-year program is to bring all the courses up to that standard."
While the Magnolia course is closed for the makeover from May 9 until Sept. 10, players can test the Palm (also used by the pros during the Funai Classic), Osprey Ridge, Eagle Pines, Lake Buena Vista and the nine-hole Oak Trail. To book tee times, players can call 407/WDW-GOLF or go online at www.disneygolf.com .
The 2005 Funai Classic will be played Oct. 20-23. The $4.4 million PGA Tour event will pay $792,000 to the winner from a field of 144 professionals. Ryan Palmer is reigning champion. Advance tickets are available by calling 407/835-2525.