A golf friend of mine lives about 30 minutes away so we decided to meet up for a round while I was in Florida. We texted back and forth and agreed to check out Brooksville Country Club, a course that neither of us had played before. The course was semi-convenient for both of us and I heard great things about the back nine! Brooksville, Florida is about an hour north of Tampa and an hour south of where I was staying in The Villages. When it comes to golf, the town is best known for the courses at World Woods. I played those years ago and wouldn’t mind getting back there one day!
Today was a new course though and my friend and I headed out around 9:30, after finding a Golfnow tee time for $35 a person. My friend used his points so it only ended up costing us $17 a piece, score! We cruised around in 3.5 hours, tailing a foursome that moved at the speed of light! Somehow quick rounds turned out to be a theme on this Florida trip. The quick rounds were surprising, that is for sure.
Brooksville CC was a 1970’s creation by William F Mitchell and then Bobby Weed reworked the course in 2006. Weed added some holes for the current back nine and possibly rerouted a few others. And, what you end up with is a unique Florida golf course!
The front is your usual Central Florida design with impressive oak trees and the smallest bit of elevation change. Homes line the perimeter the course, including much of the front nine while oak trees separate the back and forth holes. It helps to shape the ball on the front and it is tight, but worst case scenario you are just pitching back to the fairway if you miss it. Heck, even if you hit the fairway you may need to pay attention to overhanging branches! Like most places, hitting it straight helps here but you shouldn’t lose too many golf balls. I played the blue tees (69.8/126/6357) and found the course quite playable.
In contrast, the newer back nine is brilliant and one you’ll certainly remember! The 11th hole is a reachable par 5 that climbs to a high point on the property. It has a nice looking green, framed by a rugged looking bunker and trees. Once you putt out there you head to the right of the trees to play the 12th hole. It is here you may start wondering if you’ve left the state of Florida!
The 12th, 13th, 14th, and 17th are what I’ll call the “quarry holes” and these were the ones added by Weed. The quarry holes play into and across an old limestone mine, and offer some eye popping golf course views! These two par 3’s and two par 4’s are the highlight of the course, the reason to play here, and add a level of uniqueness that is rarely found in a Florida course. If you play here, make sure to bring your camera as the terrain has a wonderful rugged look to it!
The 12th is the shortest par 4 at Brooksville and is great fun to play! It is 313 yards from where I played and one of those tee shots where I had to pause and think about what I wanted to do. The fairway is split, with the left half above the mine while the right half is down in the mine. The left fairway has harsher angle from the tee while the right fairway is almost completely blind. You also can go directly at the green, over some vegetation, if you can carry the drive ~240 yards. You have all sorts of options on this hole and I found it sneaky tough, considering the yardage.
The 13th is another par 4, but this one offers a more welcoming look from the tee. Although if you play from the gold tees then it is a blind tee shot! From the blues though, you play from an elevated tee and need to hit your drive between the edges of the mine walls. Once you get down in the bottom of the mine then you face an uphill approach to the green.
The 14th and the 17th are par 3’s that play over portions of the mine and you’ll want to control your distance as best as possible. The 14th is 177 yards while the 17th is 127 yards. You’ve got some room behind the 14th green, so if doubt there keep that in mind. The 17th is one of those great, short par 3’s! It plays to a green that is surrounded by the rock walls of the mine. There is water short and I could see the wind swirling, so it wasn’t the most comfortable short iron shot. The green is larger than it looks so if you hit a solid one and don’t get a gust of wind, you should be putting for birdie!
The conditions were fair, but in all honesty the conditions are not going to be the reason you want to play Brooksville. The greens had some sandy spots and were on the slower side. They rolled fine, but just didn’t look great. The fairways seemed to have some trouble growing bermuda and were inconsistent. I had to play shots lower and putt from spots I’d normally chip, when playing around the greens. The conditions were worth $35, but not much more. Put another way, the conditions didn’t affect my enjoyment of the day one way or the other.
My $0.02 is that Brooksville offers a nice mix of country club charm combined with modern design elements. If you are playing the World Woods courses and looking for another round, then I’d say put this one on your list. I’m sure you’ll end up with some good memories and a smile on your face after playing the four signature holes!
#1 (384 yard par 4):
#2 (376 yard par 4):
#3 (496 yard par 5):
#4 (363 yard par 4):
#5 (145 yard par 3):
#6 (390 yard par 4):
#7 (490 yard par 5):
#8 (400 yard par 4):
#9 (172 yard par 3):
#10 (384 yard par 4):
#11 (472 yard par 5):
#12 (313 yard par 4):
#13 (377 yard par 4):
#14 (177 yard par 3):
#15 (407 yard par 4):
#16 (363 yard par 4):
#17 (127 yard par 3):
#18 (521 yard par 5):