By Tim McDonald

Probably the most exciting discovery for any golfer is finding the 'hidden gem,' a superb course or destination that somehow has managed to elude the well-worn path of the golfing public.

I've heard it said often that Florida, such a heavily-golfed state, could not possibly be harboring any more hidden gems.

Untrue, my friend. I know because I just got back from one.

The Brooksville Ridge is a series of north-south dunes rising dramatically in the west/central part of the state. And on top of this rolling, bucking topography is a series of Brooksville, FL golf courses that are among the best in the state for a fraction of the cost.

Most golf aficionados have heard of World Woods in Brooksville, but it seems to be a mystery that rural Hernando County has other exceptional layouts that climb and dive with elevation changes that make you think you're in the Carolinas.

World Woods is the anchor, but Southern Hills, The Dunes and the Brooksville Golf and Country Club are very close in terms of quality, and other fine and fun Brooksville golf courses include Silverthorn Country Club and Hernando Oaks.

In all, 17 Brooksville golf courses have built on and around the Brooksville Ridge, which is situated about 45 minutes to an hour north of Tampa. It's not exactly no-man's land, but you can see it from here if you stand on your tip-toes.

I'll be trying to give you some more in-depth looks at these Brooksville golf courses in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned or – what the hey – drive over there yourself and take a look.