I make several treks to north Florida every year from my home in Orlando. Some of my favorite courses in the panhandle near the beaches include Camp Creek near WaterColor, The Hombre in Panama City Beach and Burnt Pine and Raven at Sandestin Resort in Destin.
Inland, I recommend the SouthWood Golf Club in Tallahassee, an upscale, public-access course designed by PGA Tour player Fred Couples and architect and design partner Gene Bates.
Set on rolling hills framed by large stands of moss-draped oaks, SouthWood has a decidedly Old South flavor. You’ll have to go further south if you want a palm-laden experience. At SouthWood the holes are routed around a wetland area, through thickets of pine and oak and stretches of open meadow.
The golf experience is a pleasurable four-hour walk in the park, so to speak. SouthWood is enrolled in Aubdubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses to ensure that the course helps protect the local environment, conserve natural resources and provide wildlife habitat.
I’m not the only one that thinks SouthWood is a great place to play. A host of top-notch college programs are teeing off Friday through Sunday (March 12-14) for the 2010 Florida State University Seminole Intercollegiate tournament. The teams playing are Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, George Mason, Georgia State, Mercer, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Texas, South Carolina, Troy, Western Carolina and Vanderbilt. Both Florida State and South Carolina are ranked in the top-10 in the nation by Golfweek/Sagarin.
If you get to Tallahassee either on business or pleasure, make sure you play SouthWood. You’ll love it.