How Can I Play Bay Hill?

We examine the options for playing the iconic Florida course that hosts the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational

The 7th green at Bay Hill
Bay Hill hosts the Arnold Palmer Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of the most popular tournaments on the PGA Tour, attracting many of the world’s best players. 

There are several reasons, including its location. As a Florida Swing event, it's close to the homes of many of the world's best players. Then there's its association with one of the game’s greats. However, another is the iconic course that hosts it, Bay Hill.

There are three nine-hole courses at Bay Hill - Champion, Challenger and Charger, but the PGA Tour event takes place over the first two. Combined, it is considered one of the most enjoyable layouts in golf, but it also has a reputation as one of the most difficult on the PGA Tour.

Several holes contribute to that, not least the sixth, a 555-yard par-5 bending left around a lake. Back in 2021, Bryson DeChambeau hit a monster drive over the water there, but that's not recommended for most. 

Instead, the emphasis should be on avoiding the risk of landing in the water at all. If you choose that option, though, you'll still need to make sure you don't end up in one of the bunkers on the other side of the fairway. 

It may not be the most famous at Bay Hill, but the 11th is also one to look out for. The par-4 bends left around a lake, but there are also bunkers to the right, just where the fairway narrows. With the lake still a factor and more bunkers to avoid, hitting the green is also a significant challenge, even after a solid tee shot.

Then there’s the iconic par-4 18th, which has a narrow fairway, pond to the right of the green and bunkers beyond it – in other words, it's a hole with the potential to spoil any card right at the last.

The 18th hole at Bay Hill

The closing hole at Bay Hill is one of the most challenging

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Overall, players can expect firm fairways and greens throughout, with plenty of thick rough, doglegs around water and deep bunkers. The wind is often a factor too, particularly during the afternoon, adding to the difficulty of a course fit to challenge the world’s best on any given day.

If you want to experience Bay Hill, the good news is it’s open to members and registered guests staying at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, with each night's stay entitling the guest to one 18-hole round on the Champion and Challenger courses. The Charger course is an option too, although it's a good idea to check availability beforehand to avoid disappointment.

The 17th hole at Bay Hill

Lakes are a regular feature at Bay Hill

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prices to stay at the accommodation range between $265 to $620 per person per night, but green fees are not included. Thankfully, the additional cost to play Bay Hill doesn't need to break the bank. reports that you can play for as little as $105 in the summer, with the fee rising to $475 between the peak season months of January to May. The rate for other times in the year is $230.

Another option is to become a member. The initiation fee is reportedly $30,000 (and double if you take out a corporate membership) with annual dues around $8,000.

Membership gives access to the club’s amenities, including its golf courses. Finally, you can play Bay Hill as a guest of a member.

How Much Are Green Fees At Bay Hill?

Depending on the time of year, you can stay as a guest at Bay Hill for as little as $265 per night. For each night you stay, you are entitled to one 18-hole round, with green fees reportedly ranging between $105 in summer and $475 between January and May. 

Can The Public Play At Bay Hill?

Members of the public can play the course as a guest at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge or as the guest of a member. The course is not open to the public on a pay-and-play basis.

How Do You Play Bay Hill Without Staying There?

Typically, in order to play a round at Bay Hill, you need to be a guest at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, where each night's stay entitles you to one 18-hole round. However, other options are to become a member, which reportedly incurs an initiation fee of around $30,000 with $8,000 annual dues, or as the guest of a member.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.