Killearn Country Club a settled, comfortable standard on the Tallahassee golf scene
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Killearn, Scotland is a village in the west-central part of the old country, with a population of around 2,500 Scottish souls. It's very old.
Killearn Country Club and Inn in Tallahassee, on the other hand, is old only in an American sense. The club and golf course have been in the mild hills of north Florida since 1967, meaning that 40th birthdays are rolling around for both.
Those four decades have given both the course and the Killearn neighborhood that surrounds it a settled look. They've grown comfortable with each other, like a married, middle-aged couple who starts to look like each other after all those years of being together.
"It's hard sometimes to tell when the yard ends and the golf course begins," Head Professional Matt Harper said.
Killearn is probably the best known golf course in Tallahassee, certainly to those old enough to remember the many tournaments the facility has hosted: 21 Tallahassee Opens and four LPGA tournaments.
It's a 27-hole facility, with the south and east courses making up the original holes designed by William Amick. They blend in with the houses rather well, as opposed to the north course, the newest.
"That's the part of the course where you can tell houses were built first and then the course was put in with what was left," Harper said.
Maybe not coincidentally, the north nine, also called "The Narrows," is also considered by most who play Killearn to be the most difficult.
"If you can't keep the ball in play, the north is by far the hardest," Harper said.
The south and east, on the other hand, are more benign, notwithstanding all the pros who have visited the place. There are some very nice elevation changes, up to 70 feet — rare in Florida, though not necessarily in this part of Florida — with sloped and banked fairways that dip and climb.
"It's very player friendly, and day in and day out, very well-conditioned," Harper said. "For the most part it's an open course, not a lot of blind shots, no guessing where to hit the ball to."
Killearn Country Club and Inn: The verdict
True enough, but there are some holes that will get your attention. Specifically, No. 4 on the South course, a 467-yard par 4 that tees off to what is technically almost a peninsular fairway. Water runs down both sides of the fairway and then decides to meet in the middle about three quarters of the way down.
"I think it's one of the hardest holes in Tallahassee," Harper said. "Visually, you've got the lake on both sides. Actually, it's one of our widest fairways, but it definitely gets in people's heads."
The East's fourth hole has its own peculiarities, a long, twisting par 5 best played with a 3-iron, 5-iron and wedge.
The South and East courses add up to a shade less than 7,000 yards and can be played from there by middle handicappers without too much strain.
Killearn is a private course that you can play only if you stay at the inn on the grounds.
There is a fitness facility at the Killearn inn, as well as Jacuzzi and steam room. There are also tennis courts, a swimming pool, restaurant, bar and practice facilities.
The Governor's Inn is a 41-room, boutique hotel about a block from the capital building. You don't have to be a politician or a lobbyist to get free food and drinks here; the inn offers free continental breakfast as well as free cocktails in the early evenings. You also get free valet parking.
Each room is named for a past Governor of Florida, with a photo and information — sometimes pretty saucy stuff — on your very own Governor.
The inn is architecturally interesting and the rooms vary from atrium rooms to loft suites. The best thing about the inn is its location — in the heart of downtown Tallahassee, with bars and restaurants literally right outside the lobby.
July 31, 2007