Day 155: Tee off at Hilaman Park

6 Jun

We pay taxes for a lot of good reasons, but until recently, I never thought golf courses were one of the best purposes for our public funds. Attribute my political conversion to a recent-months’ infatuation with the brutally challenging sport of golf. There are 11 golf courses in Tallahassee – two of which are run by the City of Tallahassee, five others billed as “public” courses (though presumably built and operated without taxpayer assistance), and four private courses. And from what I know, there are maybe a dozen more courses within an hour drive of the Capital City. I’ve laid eyes on about half of Tallahassee’s courses but have played just two – the Southwood Golf Club, which is entrenched in the neighborhood in which we live, and the Hilaman Park Golf Course, where I played on Sunday despite sweltering temperatures. Of the two, Southwood is the more expensive to play but is considerably more lush and modern. Hilaman, near the center of Tallahassee, has narrower, scrappier fairways and the putting greens and teeing grounds are a little more in need of care. It sits on a few gentle hills and there’s a pretty pond on the back nine. The 30-year-old course has undergone renovation of its greens, tees and bunkers. And as for those bunkers, they’re plentiful. On Sunday, I spent more time in the sand than I did the last time I went to the beach. Hilaman’s rates (by golf standards) are reasonable, ranging from $19 weekday after 4 p.m. walking fees to $38 weekend fees with a cart. I rented clubs and used a cart, which pushed my total bill to $50 on Sunday. There isn’t much of a clubhouse, just a simple pro shot and a bare-bones Fat Sandwich eatery.  A girl in a cart from Fat Sandwich provides ambulatory care to golfers, serving on course a variety of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. –Mark Hollis

Address:  2737 Blair Stone Road

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