Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.4

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Palm Harbor, FL
Website
Date Last Played: March 10, 2012

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Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead Course Review

Innisbrook Resort is home to some great golf stay and play accommodations, excellent dining options, and lots of fun amenities (like tennis courts, pools, racquetball, a Spa, fitness center, and more), but best of all it has four outstanding golf courses.  And it's not surprising that the Resort and Courses have received a number of awards and accolades including Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play” and Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Golf Resorts in America.”

Each of the four courses is very different from the others and each has it’s own unique personality and characteristics, for example:

  • the Copperhead Course is probably the best known thanks to the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship Tournament that attracts some of the best golfers each year – but it also has excellent conditions, some very fun holes, and a few holes that are very challenging
  • the Island Course is regarded as the toughest of the four courses thanks to some narrow fairways with little wiggle room off the tee, strategically placed bunkers, and lots of water on the front nine – to learn more, read our review of the Island Course
  • the North Course is a short but a real shot makers course that requires good course management skills, favors accuracy over distance, and requires some precision shots to score well - here is a link to read why we loved the North Course
  • the South Course is the easiest of the nines but it’s no walk in the park thanks to 10 holes and lots of bunkers and the back nine has a links feel to it – read our review of the South Course to learn more

Wow, what a fantastic golf course!  Copperhead is one of those courses that you won’t forget and will want to play again, and again, and again.  Excellent conditions where I felt guilty taking a divot, fun and interesting holes, rolling terrain that doesn’t feel like you’re in Florida, top notch service, excellent greens, and very scenic with colorful landscaping, tall majestic trees with draping Spanish moss, and sparkling ponds. 

When we played it was the week before the Transitions Championship and the course was in perfect condition - the greens were fast and true, the fairways were soft and lush, the rough was thick and challenging - and everything was meticulously maintained and manicured - even the pine needles and pine cones seemed to be perfectly positioned.  The course was alive with working getting the course, grandstands, and viewing areas ready for the tournament.  It was a blast playing where the Pros play and enjoying tour conditions  Paul Azinger, 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain and 12-time PGA TOUR winner stated that "Copperhead is the best course we play on Tour."   Not only are the conditions the best, but the clubhouse, practice area, bar and restaurant, and service are top notch. 

As I steeped up to the first tee I imagined that I was playing with the pros.  The huge crowd cheered as I walked up to the tee box, the big dog came out and the fans were quite, and I took a big swing and dribbled it to just in back of the forward tees (which normally required dropping of the drawers, but not in this case) and crowed emitted some big "Ohs."  The second shot ricocheted off the trees and into the lake and half the crowd left to follow one of the Pros.  When I finally reached the green with several shots "in the hole," my ball missed the cup by a mile and rolled off the green.  By the third hole, my wife and 5 grandkids were the only ones following me.  But I had a blast. 

At 7340 yards and with a rating of 76.8 and 144 slope, Copperhead is not walk in the park and demands good course management and some strategic shot making to score well.   Copperhead will throw a little bit of everything at you to keep you focused - forced carries, dog legs, well guarded greens, tight fairways, blind shots, strategically placed bunkers, elevated tee boxes, challenging greens, and more.   Each of the holes are named and the names can give you and idea of what to expect, for example:

  • Innisbrook's View has a scenic vista of a dog right tree lined fairway with 6 bunkers from a dramatically elevated tee box
  • Narrow Neck is a fun 455 yard par 4 that takes a sharp turn right with a fairway that is very narrow thanks to water on both sides
  • Bunkered demands a 195 yard precise shot to hit a green guarded by four big bunkers
  • The Descent is a 445 yard downhill par 4 from an elevated tee box
  • Forced Carry requires a precise shot over the lake to an oblong green guarded by 4 bunkers and the lake
  • The last four holes - Snake Bite, Moccasin, The Rattler, and The Copperhead - have a nasty bite with strategically placed bunkers, challenging green complexes, risk reward opportunities, dog legs with tight fairways, and some tough approach shots

Copperhead is demanding but fair - the greens are ample, the fairways are forgiving, the roughs are wide and normally playable - and a real joy to play with some really fun and unique holes.  The fairways had several ups and downs, plenty of contour, and some slope.

As mentioned earlier, when we played the fairways were lush and plush and in excellent condition.  They are ample but if you miss them and the rough, you're wet, under the trees, or lost in the dense wetlands or forest. 

The greens are all shapes and sizes, some are raised preventing a bump and run, and most are well guarded - with water, bunkers, trees, or collection areas - requiring a precise approach shot.  The greens have slope and some undulation, were running smooth and at a perfect speed which will be faster during the tournament, and they held the ball well. 

The Copperhead  bunkers were a disappointment - on such a quality course you would expect soft, white, fluffy sand but that's not the case.  They were firm and thin but well manicured.   The bunkers ranged from small pot bunkers to some huge monsters and some were steep and deep.

Bottom line - you need to save your money and go out of your way to play this fantastic layout. 

You’ll want to play Copperhead a couple times and you should also play the other three courses, so why not stay a few days in one of the excellent lodging options at Innisbrook Resort.  They have a great stay and play package, excellent restaurants, 6 pools, 3 bars, a spa, and lots of other recreational activities.  Read our review of Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 7,340 76.8 144
Blue 6,725 73.7 136
White 6,180 70.8 130
Red 5,605 73.6 130

Course Information

Course Architect:
Larry Packard
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
9.8
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
9.5
Bunker Condition
8.8
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 71 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.4 out of 10
Beauty:
9.5
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
9.5
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
8.5
Condition:
9.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.6
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$120.00 to $250.00

Service is perfect and top notch as is the Packards Restaurant, bar, pro shop, and practice facilities.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

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