Tag Archives: golf vacations

Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa

Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Harbor, Florida, is part of the Salamander Golf Collection, an unparalleled group of Florida golf resorts which includes Reunion Resort in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort on the Palm Coast.

At Innisbrook,  Copperhead, the most famous of the four golf courses on property, is home to the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship.  Copperhead golf architect Lawrence Packard says,

Copperhead is a tough golf course but it is fair. I designed it so if you hit a good shot you will be rewarded. There are no gimmicks. I wanted you to have to use every club in your bag.

Hole 4 at Copperhead
Hole 4 at Copperhead

With the pine tree-lined fairways, Copperhead feels more like the Carolinas than Florida. The natural beauty and challenges are the result of the surrounding lakes and ponds, home to abundant wildlife, including fox squirrels, bald eagles, alligators, blue herons, and many other types of waterfowl. The greens are TifEagle Bermuda Grass – an exceptional putting surface favored by PGA TOUR professionals.

The Snake Pit at Copperhead
The Snake Pit at Copperhead

Among the toughest 3 finishing holes on the PGA TOUR,  holes 16,17 and 18 are dubbed the “Snake Pit”.

Fairway at Copperhead
Fairway at Copperhead

As an Innisbrook guest, you can golf Copperhead up to a week before the Valspar Championship. If you can’t get a tee time on Copperhead, take advantage of the three other championship layouts, The Island Course,  the South Course, and the updated North Course. Innovative and imaginative  golf course architect, Lawrence Packard designed all four Innisbrook Resort golf courses.

With a full kitchen, living room and dining room and on-site laundry, the spacious villas at Innisbrook are perfect for a family or a guys golf getaway. The three-storey villas are all named after world-famous golf courses.

Packard's Steakhouse at Innisbrook
Packard’s Steakhouse at Innisbrook

After your round, have a Snakepit Mary cocktail at Packard’s Steakhouse – a tasty variation on a Bloody Mary – known in Canada as a Caesar, when Clamato is substituted for tomato juice.  Whatever you order, don’t miss the Kona Crusted Grilled Lollipop Lamb Chops.  Other on-site dining options include the Market Salamander Grille  for breakfast and the Osprey Bar for a great happy hour.

The Salamander Spa at Innisbrook
The Salamander Spa at Innisbrook

Innisbrook offers complimentary shuttle service throughout the large property. Recommendations include Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play,” and Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America”.

Travel Planner

  • The Valspar Championship March 19 – 22, 2020
  • Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa
    36750 U.S. Highway 19 North
    Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Golf Marco Island

Moderate year round temperatures make Marco Island a fantastic golf destination. Located off the coast of Southwest Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is about 40 minutes south of Naples by car. Most people arrive by car as rail service to Marco Island was abandoned in 1944 and the nearest major airport is in Fort Myers.

Spanish explorers, who sailed to Florida in the mid 1500s, named the island La Isla de San Marco. Prior to the Spanish, the Calusa Indian tribe inhabited most of southwest Florida. Both the Calusa and the Spanish are long gone but their influence still remains in the many Indian and Spanish place names on the Island. 

Guests staying at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort have two great courses at their fingertips,  Hammock Bay and The Rookery, both no more than 20 minutes away.

Hammock Bay alligator
Don’t bother looking for that lost ball!

The Hammock Bay golf course is a beautiful track with lots of natural vegetation, birds and wildlife – you may even encounter a sleepy alligator on your round. The entire development is one of only nine worldwide to earn a Sustainable Development Certified Gold ranking from Audubon International. 

Hammock Bay features 18 distinct holes designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. It’s a par 72 championship golf course designed with the approach shot in mind as evidenced by the positioning and contouring of the greens. Hammock Bay was one of the first golf courses to use paspalum, a salt-tolerant turfgrass.

The rolling terrain of the fairways lined with live oak distinguishes the course, while the breezes off the Gulf of Mexico conspire to make Hammock Bay a challenge that keeps players coming back for more.

Hole 16 at The Rookery
Hole 16 at The Rookery

Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy were also brought in to update The Rookery, a course originally authored by Joe Lee and Robert Cupp. The grass at the Rookery was also replaced with paspalum and all bunkers were enhanced to improve playability. Nestled in shallow wetlands that attract many species of birds, including bald eagles and blue herons, The Rookery has also been designated as a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program.

Every golf course has a unique character, due in large part to the collection of bunkers, said Peter Jacobsen.

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort

Tee times for both courses are available for Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s guests and guests playing either course can conveniently charge golf incidentals to their room. Check their website for specials on golf packages.

If you enjoy seafood, check out the popular Snook Inn on Marco Island, a casual waterfront restaurant with a funky fish camp vibe.