A hundred year old Florida golf course, El Campeón at Mission Inn Resort & Club remains a challenge for players of all levels. As one of the oldest golf courses in the Sunshine State El Campeón stands as a testament to the skill, strength and ingenuity of those who brought the game to the United States and constructed the courses that exist today.
Pioneering Golf in Florida
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s golf courses were constructed by hardworking men who had to tirelessly dig, shovel and drive the mules that pulled the loads. Course designers had to deal with land topography, environment and conditions.
John Hamilton Gillespie, who hailed from Scotland and had found a passion for the game at historic St. Andrews Golf Club, cleared land in Sarasota in 1886 to make way for a long fairway which by 1905 featured a 9 hole course and clubhouse.
In 1926, Englishman Herbert Bertram Strong used 100 mules to dig an extensive hole right in the middle of a course and used the soil to build mounds and rolling fairways. With the introduction of earthmoving equipment in the 1950’s, golf course architects still had to juggle many elements to achieve course playability and visual appeal, but the challenges of construction were greatly improved.
Old Florida Golf Course at Mission Inn
Steeped in a rich golf history, Mission Inn Resort & Club features El Campeón, designed by golf architecture pioneer George O’Neil. This course was built in 1917 with enhancements made in 1926 by Charles E. Clark of Troon Scotland. Now in its centennial year, El Campeón is an old Florida golf course which has stood the test of time and continues showcase excellence in golf design.
Awarded #1 Top Florida Golf Course and #2 Top Course in the U.S. in 2015 by Golf Advisor, El Campeón not only enticed visitors in its day but continues to attract numerous golf enthusiasts today. With elevation changes of over 85 feet, bunkers, water hazards, rolling surfaces, doglegs and other design elements, El Campeón offers challenge and variety to golfers of all abilities.
Mission Inn Resort & Club remains a premier choice among central Florida golf resorts where you can walk in the footsteps of golf enthusiasts of yesteryear. Come for the challenge of playing such an old Florida golf course and stay for the sheer joy of golf.