Hernando Oaks Golf Club in Brooksville is definitely not your typical Florida course. The terrain available to designer Scott Pate allowed him to create a championship course that features undulating fairways, elevated greens, and a few expansive waste areas. Water comes into play on many of the holes and sand bunkers are very well placed. Large, undulating Tifeagle greens make for quick yet true-rolling putts. The course plays 6905 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. From the back tees, the course rating is 73.3 and the slope rating is 132.
A temporary clubhouse currently exists however a new, 26,000 square foot clubhouse is under construction. Given the state of the economy, no one could give me an idea of when it will be completed. The temporary clubhouse has a pro shop plus restaurant/snack shop that serves lunch daily as well as breakfast on the weekends. There is a driving range and large practice putting green on the property as well. Five sets of “golfer-friendly” tees make Hernando Oaks enjoyable for golfers of all abilities.
Number 2: Par 4, 440 yards. You will need a good drive off the tee if you want to make a par on this hole. To maximize your tee shot, you will need to play a draw; if it happens to be in your repertoire. Be sure to avoid the fairway bunker on the left side. Favor the right side of the green on your approach shot as a marshy area looms left. The green is slightly elevated and provides a true putting challenge.
Number 6: Par 4, 285 yards. Decision time: lay up with a fairway wood or long iron or go for it? If you have any confidence in your driver at all, it’s time to man up. If you are a good sand player then you absolutely have nothing to worry about because if you don’t hit the green, you are likely in a greenside bunker. Take your sand wedge, knock it up close, make birdie and mock your friends who hit three wood.
Number 7: Par 3, 199 yards. I love this hole; you will most likely see it as you are pulling in. A long, somewhat downhill par three with a green that is very wide and fairly shallow. From the back tees it is about a 190 yard carry over water. Take a par and head out.
Number 10: Par 4, 405 yards. This hole is a lot like number 2 only without the margin for error around the green. Miss the green left and your wet; right and your in trees, long and you are searching the brush. Watch out for the fairway bunker on the right; it seems to attract a lot of balls.
Number 12: Par 4, 432 yards. Long ball hitters can cut the dogleg left off by going over the pine trees on the left. Don’t get too greedy or you will be blocked out from going to the green. A gentle draw is the preferred shot off the tee. This will leave a mid iron into a fairly small green with several undulations.
Number 18: Par 5, 523 yards. Anything left is swimming. The emphasis here off the tee is on accuracy rather than length; for most golfers it is a three shot, par 5. A mid-iron layup shot will leave a short pitch to a rather large, flat green. Par is a nice way to end the round.
Tee Yards Rating Slope
Gold 6905 73.3 132
Blue 6430 70.8 127
White 6297 70.2 125
Orange 5777 M67.7/L72.8 114/125
Red 5099 69.0 112
Last Word: The route that the course follows takes full advantage of the natural challenges offered by the landscape. Number one starts to the south. Many of the par 3s and par 5s are routed in opposing directions to take into consideration prevailing southwest winds; who wants to play downwind all the time? The holes all vary in length to provide an exciting experience on each hole.
Both tree lined fairways and wide open fairways make club selection very important on several holes. Most of the green complexes include bunkers, some long and narrow, others just plain deep. The Tifeagle greens are a little quicker than most and for the most part require your utmost attention. Hernando Oaks is a must play for both avid golfers in the Tampa area and our winter Snowbird friends from the North. For more information, visit their web site at www.hernandooaksgolf.com. At one time they were offering a complimentary green fee if you joined their email club. To find out if this is still going on, (or to just plain beg for some free golf), give them a call at 866-799-5393 or 352-799-9908.