The Southern Hills Plantation course might surprise those who are familiar with Pete Dye’s sizable library of courses in Florida. Although there are certainly opportunities for players to send the ball into a swamp, the majority of these holes feature no water features whatsoever, showing Dye’s core comprehension of using the land to create the challenge (and not just the water).
Those familiar with the 36-hole World Woods property nearby, and its Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks courses (both from Tom Fazio), will appreciate the quality of topography in this region north of Tampa Bay, and its rolling features (a rarity in one of the flattest of states).
For the lack of water features that Dye made famous at courses such as TPC Sawgrass, you can expect punishment elsewhere…this is no resort course. Distance is the key differentiator here, as Southern Hills Plantation stretches to just less than 7,600 yards from its back tees. This is Dye’s longest in the Sunshine State, and very near to Florida’s longest course in general. Combine this length with a bevy of centerline bunkers across the wide fairways, and you’ll need to earn your birdies.
What an AWESOME course. Club house is straight forward. Cost at 105 is a wee high. Incredible layout. Nice wide fairways, no gimmicks and lots of fun. No statues :(
Lots of hills - which is rare in Florida. Just wish they would drop the price.
This is a traditionalist presentation course, i.e no hole visuals on the card or tee boxes. Thus, i wondered aimlessly through the dessert. That can be fun, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised, other times not so much....
The first two holes are welcoming, what you see is what you get. They give you an oppty to get off to a good start. On the dogleg left 2nd play your drive a little to the right as the contour will force your ball left towards the fairway bunker. The slightly uphill par 4 4th's fairway bends left, However, it is a long carry over a depression that is not penal. You are just taking a chance on your lie in the rough. As an example, i caught a flyer to set up my 3 putt. The first par 5 5th bends left and is reachable in two.
However, favor the right to maximize your jetway rollout. Also, what appears to be a greenside bunker complex left are a series of bunkers extending back 100 yards. The 6th is a slight dogleg right, uphill, long with a blind tee shot. On the inside elbow is a cluster of bunkers, so favor the middle of the fairway. The par 5 7th is another uphill blind tee shot dogleg right, with the leg significantly downhill. I suspect big hitters can get home in two, I have no firsthand knowledge of how to do that. There is a large waste bunker right, perhaps a 100 yards long. It is not death, i was able to extricate myself to 100 yards out to set up my chunk bogey. The 8th is a fantastic, extraordinarily difficult hole, not really but i did birdie it. The 9th is a fun uphill short par 4. Some of you will hurt yourself trying to reach it. Basically, driver and flip wedge. The only negative I had is my drive was a bit left of center and i ended up in a collection area where it appeared dozens of my brethren had also spent quality time. Even money you end up in a divot.
The back starts with a pretty straight away par four. However, similar to 7 there is a long fairway side bunker right. The long par 4 11th is a tough hole, especially if you hook your approach into one of the few water hazards on the course. The 12th is a benign par 5, reachable and a good birdie oppty. The par 4 14th is a demanding hole. Slight dogleg left, the hole lays out well visually from the tee box. The shorter par 4 15th has some mogul undulation. Off the tee, I think left gives you the best vantage point to attack the pin on your approach. The finishing holes are strong. The par 5 16th is a dogleg left, Favor the right side on both your tee shot and second as the contour runs left towards a fairway bunker and the hazard. It is possible to get home in two, but it is an elevated well protected green. The 17th is a cute mid yardage par 3. The 18th is a long par four with a table top green. A par here is well deserved or lucky.
There must be something in the water in Brooksville. Some excellent courses withing 30 minutes of each other, World Woods and Brooksville GC is worth a play. The back nine has four holes in an old quarry (shades of Black Diamond) that are fun as opposed to terrifying.