Portfolio Naples February 2017 - Page 67

orlando is rightfully known for offering a unique level of magic for visitors. e omni orlando resort at championsgate on the south- west side of the city provides enough sparkle and splash that leaving the property to explore other opportunities may seem like a letdown. Since its opening in 2004 the property has always been among the best in the orlando area, preceded by four years with the open- ing of the national and the international golf courses designed by greg norman. Since omni took over the property a major en- hancement and expansion program has been underway that will supplement the resources. 93 new guest rooms will be added for a total of 862 rooms, suites and luxury villas. e property has al- ways been good destination for conferences, soon to have 195,000 square feet of total banquet and event space by the fall of 2017. asked in 2006 about his golf course design philosophy, nor- man replied, “i'm a fan of alister macKenzie, a.w. tillinghast and the old style of design. at’s mainly because classic design- ers didn't push a lot of dirt. i try to move the least amount of dirt, not only to keep costs down but also to keep the course as natural and as visually pleasing as possible. i am not a believer in making things artificial. i don't like mounds of dirt pushed up or things that do not tie into the environment. in the old days, designers whom we now consider the masters only had a horse-drawn plow. ey didn't have D-8 bulldozers to push dirt around and on top of that, they had more time to spend on each site.” for the courses at championsgate norman followed these same principles of using the natural contours of the land to create an interesting routing. when he created the international at championsgate nor- man was not hesitant to add plenty of challenge to the layout. e 7,363-yard course whose rating is 76.3 holds the highest course rating in the state of florida, which hosts over 1,000 golf courses, so the competition is stiff. e recent 2016 rejuvenation project yields improved playing conditions with a complete PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 65