Expert Advice

Why I Loved The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament Of Champions, Even Though I’m Not A Golf Fan

See how I spent a star-studded weekend in Orlando

Laurie L

My partner and I have owned with Hilton Grand Vacations for 10 years now. We have had wonderful vacations, and I couldn’t imagine vacation ownership getting any better.

When I heard about the Hilton Grand Vacation Tournament of Champions, I had to look it up. It looked like a golf tournament for professional women golfers and celebrities. I’m not a big golf fan, but I do like celebrities. I asked my partner, Scott, if he wanted to go with me since he’s a golf fan, and he jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know, it’s so much more than a golf tournament.

The 18th hole at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando at the 2023 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions 

The 2023 HGV Tournament of Champions was at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club near Orlando. Orlando in January was a chance to escape the snow at a nice golf course. We secured tickets and a room at SeaWorld® Orlando, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club. We had never stayed at this resort, so it was another new experience for us.

We arrived in Orlando on Thursday, ready to spend an exciting long weekend. We met up with friends and spent Friday at SeaWorld® Orlando.

Day 1

Saturday morning came around, our first day at the HGV Tournament of Champions. We hopped on a shuttle provided by HGV from the resort to Lake Nona. Getting off the bus, I had no idea what to expect. Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is no ordinary golf club.

We were pretty hungry upon arriving at Lake Nona, so we stopped at the clubhouse between the 17th and 18th holes. There was great food, and we got to rub elbows with the caddies before we headed out.

Hilton Grand Vacations Owner Laurie takes a selfie with actor Jack Wagner at the 2023 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions 

My first reaction was awe at how beautiful this course is. We started walking from the 18th hole and consulted the program to see which celebrities we would see. Scott was hoping to meet Michael Waltrip, and Jack Wagner was at the top of my list. I used to watch “General Hospital” with my mom, and we once drove to St. Louis just to watch Jack Wagner in a play, so I was hoping to catch him again.

We ran into a caddie on the trail looking for something in the bushes. Suddenly Scott said, “Michael Waltrip.”

Yep, the NASCAR driver walks up to his caddie and helps look for his ball in the bushes. It was surreal for Michael to walk past us and look for the ball while talking to the crowd. So this is a celebrity golf tournament.

I went to try to find Jack and ended up with not one but two selfies with him. I can’t even describe what this meeting was like. I didn’t even ask him for a selfie; he asked me and took the selfie with my phone. It was a dream come true.

After this, we went to see what was happening at the 18th hole. We had access passes to Suite 18, full of more awesome food and drinks. We sat down for a few drinks and watched golf. We heard a large commotion and, without warning, Paris Hilton drove by in a pink golf cart, waving to the crowd.

We spent the rest of the day watching golf and taking more celebrity selfies. I had the time of my life. And this was only day one of golf with a concert later that evening. I’m not sure how much more excitement I can take at this point.

Hilton Grand Vacations Owner Laurie enjoying a drink at the 2023 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions 

Ellie Goulding performed, and Paris Hilton showed off her DJ skills at the aftershow.* We took another shuttle to the concert and didn’t have to worry about parking.

I knew there was going to be food, but HGV had under-promised and over-delivered again. There was an incredible spread of amazing food and alcohol with great music. On our way out to catch the shuttle, we ran into Alfonso Ribeiro — no time like the present for a selfie.

Day 2

After Saturday, I couldn’t wait for day two. Did I say I wasn’t into golf? I will never say that again.

Scott and I knew how things worked now and headed to the course. We saw an American Express lounge yesterday on the 17th hole, which we thought would be a great place to start.

The lounge is just a few yards away from the tee. We were able to get in by showing our American Express card. Since we had a Hilton Honors™ American Express credit card, we got a wristband, which gave us free drinks for the day. We sat there yards away from everyone teeing off. The celebrities were coming to us today.

What an incredible event. I’m really a golf enthusiast now. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but we plan on attending again, January 15–21, 2024.

Read “6 Hilton Grand Vacations Resorts For Golfers On A Getaway” and start planning your next golf vacation.


*To attend HGV Ultimate Access events (valued between $5003,500), Guests must attend a membership portfolio review or timeshare presentation after the event, during their same stay. If you do not attend the membership review or timeshare presentation, the retail value of the event may be charged to your credit card. HGV Ultimate Access events are subject to availability, nontransferable and subject to change without notice. Experience fee applies, minimum of $99 per event, to be paid at time of booking. Offer dates may change due to event availability. Offers may not be used in conjunction with any other promotion.

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Hilton Grand Vacations Explorer, Laurie L.

Laurie L

As an Elite Owner, Laurie has a home-away-from-home at Elara byHilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Grand Vacations on the Boulevard and Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations. She joined in 2013 and says vacations are among the most important things in her life and a big part of her retirement plans. She enjoys traveling with her significant other and friends and is happiest with a bit of adventure (think: helicopter tours and biking trips). 


However, her favorite travel memory is touring an olive oil farm and winery while staying at Hilton Grand Vacations at Borgo alle Vigne in Italy. As a traveler who loves a good deal even more than travel itself, she's your go-to for tips on planning unforgettable trips that won't break the bank. 

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