ORLANDO, FL. -Roy Schindele, director of sales and marketing for Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, stresses one thing before taking you on a tour of the facilities.
“This is not a resort. It’s a country club,” said Schindele, and that’s an important distinction to make from the outset if you’re lucky enough to visit this place.
There’s a different, very nice feeling about Bay Hill – and why wouldn’t there be? After all, it’s been at least a winter home for perhaps the most charismatic athlete of all time for nearly 50 years.
Based on our visit, Bay Hill has become more than just a winter retreat for Palmer, who spends considerable time in the summer months in Latrobe, Pa., the town where he grew up. He’s 85 now, and health issues have basically relegated him to hitting practice balls on the Bay Hill range these days. I’m told he rarely gets on the course.
Yet, Palmer has an apartment behind the tennis courts and is a frequent visitor to all the club’s facilities. Guests see him playing cards, dining with a group of friends or riding around in his golf cart. While he remains one of the most accommodating of all public figures, Palmer doesn’t spend much of his time posing for pictures or signing autographs for guests. Bay Hill is just where he enjoys life. Continue reading