After our exciting round at Mystic Dunes, it was only mid-afternoon on a gorgeous day with blue skies, so we decided to take a 10 minute drive and drop in on the Father Son Challenge at Champion’s Gate, which has been held for the last 3 years at this golf course in the South part of Orlando. You can’t miss Champion’s Gate, when you first get off exit 58 on the I-4, the impressive main entrance gates to Champion’s Gate are right there.
The Father Son Legend is truly a walking Hall of Fame of Golf, and it’s a celebration of the sport as well as of the bonds of family. Famous golf professionals of the present and the past play with their talented sons and daughters, and all of them share a passion for the game.
This year’s line-up included Jack and Jackie Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and his grandson Sam Saunders, Vijay Singh and 15 year old son Qass, Mark and Shaun O’Meara, Craig and Chris Stadler, Bob and David Charles, Raymond and Robert Floyd (Raymond has won the Father Son Challenge 5 times since 1994 together with his sons Robert and Raymond Jr.), Hale and Steve Irwin, Tom and David Kite, Bernard and 15 year old Stefan Langer, Davis Love III and his 12-year old son Dru, Johnny Miller and Johnny Miller II, Larry and Josh Nelson, Curtis and Tom Strange, Lee and Daniel Trevino, Fuzzy Zoeller and his daughter Gretchen.
We parked our car and approached the club house. Just as we were walking towards the stands on the 18th hole, Davis Love III had finished his round and was coming towards the club house. It is really an amazing experience, seeing all these world famous celebrities and icons of the sport, up so close and so relaxed in this unique tournament format.
Vijay Singh, after his last putt
The rules of playh are based on a Scramble Format, which means that on each hole, each player drives and the best drive is selected. Each player then plays a second shot from the spot where the selected drive lies, and the best second shot is selected. This process is completed uniti the hole is completed.
Mark O’Meara lines up his putt
When we were there we also saw golf greats like Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara and Lee Trevino finish their rounds. It was great seeing Vijay, relaxing after his final putt with a coffee in hand, awaiting the arrival of his son on the last hole and watching his son’s last putt of the day. Because this tournament pairs up the great players of golf with their sons or daughters, it really gives you a much better feeling of these professionals as human beings, and according to Allan Findley, General Manager of Champions Gate, many of these players truly relish this event, which allows them to celebrate their sport as a family away from the pressures of the PGA Tour.
We really enjoyed the atmosphere at the Father Son Challenge, and it would have been great to see some of the other legends of golf, like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, in person. Unfortunately we have an extremely tight schedule and will be unable to come back on a second day, but it was a great experience, getting a first person look at this “Walking Hall of Fame” of the game of golf.