In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Mission Inn Resort & Club's El Campeόn Course is located in the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills in Lake County. The town was named for William J. Howey, its founder, who was one of central Florida’s first large-scale citrus growers and land promoters. In 1914 Howey began purchasing land in the area and by 1920 had accumulated 60,000 acres for his development project. The town of “Howey” was incorporated in 1925 and two years later changed its name to Howey-in-the-Hills. Howey envisioned a great citrus empire with the town as the commercial and shipping hub.
To attract investors and visitors, Howey hired Chicago-based golf course architect George O'Neil, to design an 18-hole golf course. O’Neil claimed that “this will be America’s most famous course in a short while.” Howey began promoting the links as the Howey Golf Club in 1916, though the course officially opened in 1917. After a decade of use, Captain Charles E. Clarke of Troon, Scotland was brought in to rework and update the golf course.The golf course was also known as the Chain-O’-Lakes Golf Course, Bougainvillea Golf Club and the Floridan Country Club.
In 2009, the El Campeόn golf course, which means “the Champion” was awarded the Florida Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association. El Campeόn has been the site for many tournaments, including NCAA events, the Florida State High School Championships, and eleven Collegiate championships.
The 18-hole, par-72 El Campeόn Course at Mission Inn Resort & Club features six tees playing from 4,800 to 7,000 yards, allowing players of varying skill levels to either challenge themselves, or enjoy the course at a more leisurely pace. El Campeόn tests players with elevation changes of more than 85 feet, and rolling fairways and undulating greens. The family-owned, award-winning resort and convention facility sits on beautifully landscaped grounds. In addition to golf, the resort offers a five-star tennis facility, four elegant dining areas, a restored river yacht and a marina on Lake Harris. Take a look at this Mission Inn Resort & Club video highlighting the golf courses and other amenities at the resort.
In 2019, Mission Inn Resort & Club opened a new “course-within-a-course” called the El Dorado Executive Course. Built within the existing Las Colinas layout, El Dorado is an 18-hole short course that features 14 par-3 holes and four par-4 holes, offering a more fun and accessible experience for golfers of all skill levels.
“It’s no fun to play a 7,500-yard course with forced carries on only your third time on a course,’’ said Bud Beucher, Co-Owner, Vice President & General Manager of Mission Inn Resort. “We wanted to be able to address the changing times and various types of golfers who visit our resort – juniors, hickory club players, older members, or those looking for quick-game options.”
Golf course superintendent Danny Parks oversaw the creation of new tee boxes on the existing holes of Las Colinas to create the El Dorado short course, which will play to 3,063 yards (par 58).
Trails of the Conquistadors - Mission Inn Resort & Club offers two intertwining historical and educational eco-adventure trails celebrating Central Florida's early Spanish conquistador explorations. Nestled in the heart of the resort's El Campeόn golf course, the Trails of the Conquistadors takes guests through a third of a mile of undeveloped land reminiscent of native "old Florida." Nearly 400 years ago, expeditions led by Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando De Soto passed through Central Florida and the Mission Inn area.
The trails capture what these explorers might have seen and showcase the history of Florida's native and invasive plant life, regional birds and wildlife. trails. Plants and animals on the trails change seasonally. Visitors interested in walking the trails can visit the Mission Inn Resort & Club's front desk to obtain an explorer's guide. The trail entrance is located behind La Hacienda bridge, between El Campeon’s 17th Green and 18th Tee.
10400 County Road 48
Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida 34737
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