Southern Hills in Brooksville: Pete Dye at His Subtle Best

By: Tim McDonald

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Pete Dye is one of our most famous golf architects, partly because many of his designs are so radical they can leave golfers either awestruck or angry.

At the elegant and private Southern Hills in Brooksville, Dye uses some of the best traits in his formidable, architectural bag without overdoing it. The result is a superb golf course: a beautiful layout that is both elegant and rollicking, very challenging and, in a word, fun.

The wide fairways buck and roll, tilt and slope Some are high-banked, and they almost always provide you with options into the green, a trait that will make you want to come back and play it again and again, perhaps a different way this time.

The green complexes also bear the Dye stamp. Some of the surrounds around the greens are adventures in themselves, with swales and dips and deep bunkers. Dye's roving eye never stops wandering, and if you can follow it you'll do well on this course. When I played the course in late October, the greens were in terrific shape.

This is a Florida course with some very atypical elevation changes, as much as 250 feet. You'll have some blind, uphill tee shots as well as some downhill approaches into the tricky greens. Still, I found it a very playable course, mostly because of the wide fairways where you can blast away to your heart's content; still, you'll be better off it you hit to the right spot in the fairway. Best to play with someone who knows the layout.

Not many people seem to know this, but Southern Hills can stretch out to more than 7,500 yards from the back tees, making it one of the longest courses in the state.

Sitting atop the Brooksville Ridge, the dunescape of west/central Florida, Southern Hills offers fine views of surrounding Hernando County. This is one of the better offerings in the area, which is underrated as a Florida golf destination, particularly when you consider the low green fees.

 


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