Southern Hills Plantation Club Golf: Not for the Faint of Heart

    By Pat Farnan

    The first eye-catching feature about the Southern Hills Plantation Club is the antebellum-style clubhouse that sits atop a promontory overlooking parts of the golf course and the expansive practice area.

    From the clubhouse balcony, visitors are afforded a panoramic vista of several holes of this Pete Dye-designed track.

    But the visual delights don’t end there.

    Tree-lined fairways, major elevation changes, cleverly designed doglegs, and an elaborate and attractive bunkering system are all part of this diverse and muscular course an hour north of Tampa on U.S. 41, just south of Brooksville.

    Southern Hills Plantation Club


    Morning mist at Southern Hills. - Southern Hills Plantation Club


    This is not golf for the faint of heart. At its maximum, Southern Hills Plantation Club stretches out more than 7,500 yards. Throw in a little wind and the best golfers are going to have all they can handle. But even from its shortest tees, about 5,000 yards, this course will require a diversity of shots and strategy.

    Every hole is framed by natural surroundings. In some cases, it’s trees. In others, it’s natural contours, such as hills that rise to about 250 feet above sea level, still unusual in a state where flat is the order of the day.

    Off the fairway, golfers are most apt to see a pond, lake or wildlife setting than a house. Playing Southern Hills Plantation golf gives the feeling of being in nature, rather than touring a course wedged in and compromised by suburban sprawl.


    The mansion at Southern Hills. - Southern Hills Plantation Club

    For all of its stern tests, Southern Hills generally offers a generous landing area for most tee shots. And most of the greens are good-sized, though the trick is learning how to read their contour.

    While Southern Hills Plantation golf offers plenty of length — depending on your ego and driver skills — it also offers several holes, especially par-3s that put a premium on strategy and shot-making, rather than slugging percentage.

    The practice area is first-rate, whether you’re working on long shots, wedges, chipping, putting or sand play. The staff at Southern Hills prides itself on the condition and maintenance of the course, and it shows throughout the facility.


    The course, while pretty, holds challenges aplenty. - Southern Hills Plantation Club

    The course offers a well-stocked pro shop and plenty of dining options at Pete’s Grille. You will find the staff friendly and helpful.

    Southern Hills is a semi-private facility. It has a healthy and growing membership but still encourages public play, especially at certain points of the year and the day.

    The course attracts professionals from around the country eager to give it a shot. It also hosts frequent statewide competitions and other tournaments and is sometimes used as a qualifying site for PGA events.

    Southern Hills is a picturesque layout, stunning in places. But don’t let all that beauty beguile you. For most golfers, this is all the course you would want.

    If you go…

    Southern Hills Plantation Club
    4200 Summit View Dr.
    Brooksville, FL 34601
    (352) 277-5000