Southwood Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72

Img_0749 Img_0779 Img_0756

Southwood Golf Club Review

Review and rating of Southwood Golf Club, Tallahassee

Named one of the Top 35 New Courses in America by Golf Magazine and among America’s Best New Courses by Golf Digest, Southwood Golf Club is a Fred Couples Signature Course that opened in 2002 and is one of the best and most popular courses in Tallahassee.  With 5 sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 4521 to 7172 yards, Southwood Golf Club is suitable for players of all skill levels and will provide a fun and relaxing round for novices or a round that will challenge the low handicappers.  There is also a sixth tee box called “Wee” which is 2976 yards and plays as a par 3 course with hole yardages ranging from 71 to 276 yards. 

The course weaves in and out of housing developments with some huge beautiful homes to small more modest houses – all of which are set way back from the fairway and shouldn’t come into play.  Couples did a superb job of leveraging the natural rolling terrain creating several ups and downs and elevated tee shots as the course twists and turns past some stunning huge sprawling live oaks with draping eerie gray moss. 

Make sure you pick the right set of tee boxes because Southwood Golf Club will throw a lot at you and some of what you’ll encounter includes:

  • elevation changes with some uphill blind shots as well as several downhill shots
  • wind that play havoc with your shots and may require you to club up or club down and play the wind left or right
  • fairway and green side bunkers which range from big to some real monsters that are steep and deep
  • big greens that are well guarded requiring a precise approach shot and some study to read the subtle breaks
  • fairways with contour, mounding, slope, and undulation
  • water, trees, swales, and ravines that can cause a problem if you can’t stay in the fairway

But don’t let all of that scare you – Southwood is a fair layout that if you play smart and deploy some good course management and club selection skills you’ll have a fun, memorable, and low scoring round.  And the second time you play, the course knowledge you gained on the first round will make the second round even more enjoyable. 

All of the holes are named with in some cases the name gives you a clue of what you’re up against.  There are some really fun holes that make this course both memorable and challenging, for example:

  • there are a couple holes where you can pull out the big dog and try to drive the green like #2 (The Marshes - a 375 dog leg left past 5 bunkers, a marsh area,  tall mounding, and a challenging approach) or #11 an uphill 335 yard shot to a raised green
  • a number of holes have some uphill blind shots and then back downhill to the green like #10 (Oak Haven - a 562 yard par 5 with a blind uphill shot and back down past lots of oaks and some tall mounding that is tough to play from if you miss the fairway) or #18 (Back Porch) which is downhill all the way to the huge green in front of the clubhouse
  • sprawling huge live oaks line both sides of the fairway and in some cases they pinch the fairway or block your approach shots -  like #15 (Mossy Hill) which has an uphill approach shot with a large live oak blocking the left side and 3 huge bunkers guarding the front and right
  • you’ll also find some great risk reward opportunities like #14 which has a huge stately oak planted in the middle of a gigantic multi-fingered bunker that blocks a direct shot to the green, unless you think you can fly it or #16 a downhill dog right then left over a pond and some steep and deep bunkers to the uphill green – you can risk a boomer off the tee box or a risky second shot over the lake to the uphill green

Southwood’s greens are part of it’s claim to fame – they are typically in very good condition, large, run true and fast around 10 to 11, and hold the ball well.  Some are raised and well guarded, others have plenty of slope and subtle breaks, and a few have some tiers and undulation.  Once the Pro told me they tend to break West, I seemed to sink more putts – unfortunately, he didn’t tell me that until the 14th hole!  When we played the greens were in very good shape.

The fairways were in very good condition and firm and fast thanks to winter conditions – loved the extra roll.  Most of the fairways are rolling with several ups and downs and some with significant and surprising elevation changes.  You’ll also encounter some slope that can take you to some places you don’t want to be, lots of tall mounds along one or both sides, and some tree trouble if you tend to spray the ball.  

The bunkers at Southwood Golf Club were perfect – soft thick sand that was a joy to hit from.  However, most now have a little less sand – I took a lot of it home with me in my pockets, shoes, ears, and hair.  Do whatever it takes to avoid the bunkers, most are deep with very steep faces and if you hit them, the sand is soft enough that you’ll be hitting a fried egg shot that’s typically stuck up against the lip! 

I’m making this review of Southwood Golf Course sound like the course is very challenging and demanding and that’s somewhat true but its very fair with wide fairways, big greens, and bailout areas and little that will devour your ball unless you really spray it.  The layout is great, the price is right, and you can turn in a great score if you apply a little bit of good course management. 

Img_0766 Img_0764 Img_0777

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,172 74.3 135
Blue 6,035 68.9 116
White 5,228 64.8 107
Gold 6,654 71.6 126
Red 4,521 66.2 103

Course Information

Course Architect:
Fred Couples
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 48 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.8 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$39.00 to $75.00

Service is very good and friendly. The pro shop is well stocked, the practice range is adequate, and the restaurant has a variety of good food.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.