Why Innisbrook Resort is a Top Golf Trip Destination in Florida
By Chris Lewis
The vaunted Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort.
Since 2000, Innisbrook Resort has hosted a PGA TOUR event at its highly popular and challenging Copperhead Course, which also held the JCPenney Classic, a mixed-team tour event throughout the 1990s.
And upon walking onto the Copperhead Course’s first tee, you’ll immediately realize why it’s been a professional golf mainstay for 33 consecutive years.
“Its layout is second to none in Florida,” says Andrew Corry, the PGA of America Director of Golf for Innisbrook Resort. “You’ll experience elevation changes, spectacular green contours, challenging shot placements off the tees and one of the PGA TOUR’s most daunting finishing stretches — holes 16 to 18, also known as 'The Snake Pit,' where many tournaments have been won and lost.”
Although the Palm Harbor, Florida-based resort is particularly known for the Copperhead Course, it offers guests 45 other holes too: the 18-hole, par-72 Island Course, the 18-hole, par-71 South Course and the 9-hole, par-35 North Course.
According to Corry, many golfers consider the Island Course to be just as challenging, if not more challenging, than the Copperhead Course. Constructed in 1970 (the resort’s first course, in fact), the Island Course features water on more than half of its holes, along with very difficult greens and significant elevation changes.
“The course is also stunningly beautiful and home to ample wildlife,” Corry stresses.
On the other hand, the South Course, which has more of a links-style design, is much more player friendly than the Copperhead and Island Courses. However, it’s certainly no cakewalk either, as it has several waste bunkers and plenty of water hazards. The first four holes look like a regular North American golf course, but, afterwards, golfers will feel more like they’re in Scotland than the United States.
“It’s a fun layout that allows more shot dispersion off the tee than the Copperhead and Island Courses, yet it retains its challenge on the greens,” Corry adds.
Currently, the resort is preparing to renovate the 9-hole North Course, following suit with its recent renovations to the Copperhead and South Courses. Known as “Baby Copperhead,” the North Course should not be perceived as “easy," simply due to its length (2,900 yards from the back tees), as it has narrow, tree-lined fairways and a variety of greens that are guarded by bunkers. As is the case with the resort’s three 18-hole championship courses, precision, patience and shot making skills are necessary.
Despite the challenges of each of the resort’s four courses, relaxation is the name of the game at Innisbrook, starting with its wide assortment of comfortable, spacious condo-style accommodations. Aside from settling into one of its condos, guests can also enjoy its six pools — including the Loch Ness Pool, which has two waterslides — pickleball and tennis courts, and full-service spa, known as Salamander Spa.
“Our boutique-style spa is a great option for golfers after a few rounds of golf, as we have massages that specifically target the muscles they use while golfing,” Corry says.
In addition, the course has five restaurants. Packard’s Steakhouse, renowned for its steak, fresh seafood, martinis and wine selection, is presently being completely renovated. Set to reopen towards the end of 2023 with an entirely new look, the steakhouse provides great views of the Copperhead Course, as it’s located near its first tee.
For further dining options, guests can also relish a chef-driven menu at Market Salamander Grille, which has live entertainment and two outdoor firepits. Or, for a “grab and go” breakfast and Starbucks coffee, Fairways (located next to Market Salamander Grille, which overlooks the South Course) is a great option, too.
Not to mention, before or after their rounds, guests, along with their families, can enjoy poolside dining at the Loch Ness Grille and Bar, home to a locally popular grouper sandwich. Finally, they can also eat and be entertained at Turnberry Pub, which overlooks the Island Course.
As a further sign of the resort’s determination to offer guests the best experiences possible, its Copperhead Course clubhouse is being entirely renovated as well. And, throughout the summer, each course is closed for one month at a time to ensure they’re all fully maintained, as agronomy crews conduct projects like dry jet aerifications and fairway and tee fumigations.
“Such maintenance is paying dividends, as course conditions will be pristine during our busy season well into the future,” Corry concludes.
Other Fun Courses Near Innisbrook Resort:
Crescent Oaks Golf Club: Known for its gorgeous scenery, this 18-hole, par-72 course measures 6,763 yards from the back tees.
Tarpon Springs Golf Course: Opened in 1927, this 18-hole, 6,069-yard course is ideal for golfers of all ages and skill levels.