Those out west know that copperhead snakes sport fangs of venom and punish even one false move. While Florida is spared the reptilian version of a copperhead, its namesake – the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club – is similarly biting. On this 18-hole course tucked away in the St. Pete/Clearwater community of Palm Harbor, anticipate juicy lies and giant, undulating greens that putt dead-true.
Copperhead Course Highlights
You might slip by Copperhead’s first hole with a par. But the long second hole can shake your confidence with its distant, yet daunting, specter of water.
Make your way through the scene, a montage of graceful nature: bald eagles, ospreys, egrets, herons, fox squirrels, bright flowers, beautiful blankets of green and pine trees reminiscent of North Carolina. On the ninth hole, a straight par 4, a rising fairway presents an uphill wood shot even if you do manage to hit the fairway.
Some golfers agree the backside of Copperhead is toughest. You might find a groove nailing drives off the tee boxes, but one thing’s for sure: Starting with the sporty par 4 12th fairway, you’ll find three back-to-back ripsnorters. Don't be fearful as you face the gorgeous, water-guarded par 3 13th. Stem the adrenaline flow surging through your veins from the menacing double-dogleg 14th (Copperhead’s signature hole).
Your scores might not resemble those of the pros playing in the annual PGA events on this course (past winners include heavy-hitters such as Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and K.J. Choi). But once bitten by this Copperhead, you'll want to come back for more.
PGA TOUR's Tampa Bay Golf Championship
Whether you're an occasional hacker with a wicked slice or a weekend warrior with a low handicap, there's nothing more exciting than watching the pros play. You have that opportunity each spring as the PGA TOUR's Tampa Bay Championship comes to the Copperhead course. This full-fledged FedEx Cup event includes 144 PGA TOUR golfers, among them some of the hottest players in the world.
Tournament play typically begins on a Thursday, when the sport's most skilled competitors attempt to conquer the challenging course, including its daunting 'Snake Pit' - the name given to the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, which rank among the hardest set of finishing holes on any PGA Tour course. Friday's 2nd Round and Saturday's 3rd Round always set the stage for what is sure to be an exciting Final Round on Sunday.
The Monday After Challenge enables you to play the Copperhead with Sunday pin placements, lightning fast greens and gallery ropes. Plus, you'll be a VIP at Innisbrook's hospitality tent, play the famous Island course and enjoy special food and beverage events.
Innisbrook Golf Resort Amenities
While Copperhead is the most recognizable of Innisbrook’s courses, the resort offers four championship courses including the Island Course, which has hosted numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers and one of Phil Mickelson's NCAA Championships. For golfers visiting the resort with their families, the Fox Squirrel presents a nine-hole family walking course for all ages and skill levels.
Before you play, take advantage of the resort’s 10-acre practice and instruction facility, daily clinics or the Innisbrook Golf Institute, which operates specialty programs for golfers of all skill levels throughout the year. Afterward, head to the resort’s Indaba Spa for a sports massage or to Osprey Sports Bar for refreshment: Friday and Saturday nights, fire pits, course views and live music will help you unwind.
And for a celebration as memorable as your well-played round, reserve a table at Innisbrook’s Packard’s Steakhouse. Make your selections from the wine and martini lists and menu signatures including aged beef and fresh-from-the-boat fish; then gaze outside to recall the day’s victories and defeats – Packard’s overlooks Copperhead.