Innisbrook Resort - North Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.2

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 70
Palm Harbor, FL
Website
Date Last Played: March 05, 2012

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Innisbrook Resort - North Course Review

Review and Rating of Innisbrook Resort’s North Golf Course 

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.  

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 – here is a link to our review of the Copperhead Course
  • the Island Course is regarded as the toughest of the four courses thanks to some narrow fairways, 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
  • 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 – read our review of the South Course to learn more

The North Course, which some call Baby Copperhead, is very well maintained and scenic as it plays through the trees, most with draping Spanish moss, and lakes and ponds.  There are no homes on the course but there are plenty of birds, squirrels, and even an alligator sunning itself on the bank of a pond.  It’s quite, scenic, and serene making for a very enjoyable round of golf. 

By today’s standards, Innisbrook Resort’s North Course is short from all tee boxes at 4955, 5580, 6070, and 6325 yards from the tips and it’s a par 70, but it is no walk in the park.  Some would call it ticked up, others might say it is deceivingly hard, and most would say it requires some excellent course management and club selection skills if you want to score well. 

We loved the North Course and really enjoyed playing it.  From our perspective, some of what makes it both fun and demanding includes:

  • water can come into play on nine holes and it creates some risk reward opportunities and  some intimidating forced carries as well as requires some strategy and decisions like lay up or go for it
  • tthe greens are small, some are raised, and most are well guarded by bunkers, water, trees, and more – a precise approach shot is required to hit and hold the green and once you’re on, the breaks can be subtle to wicked
  • the 48 bunkers are strategically placed and can be treacherous with some steep faces that in my case required a couple shots to get out of
  • shots off the tee need to be accurate to avoid the water, trees, or bunkers and the tee shots must be well placed to position you for a second shot – in some cases you might try to drive the green and in others decide on a iron or wood for a safe and well positioned second shot
  • surprising elevation changes and wind may require you to club up or club down and play the wind to land in the desired spot

The second time you play the North Course, it should be a lot easier in terms of strategy, knowing what clubs to use, and where to place the ball.  The layout of the North Course is unique and memorable and some of the holes that we really liked included

  • :#3 is a long 465 yard par 4 with water on the right and left side of the fairway which makes for an intimidating tee shot and then your second shot needs to be precise to carry the water that crosses in front of the green and you need to miss the two menacing bunkers
  • #5 is short at 360 yards and if you spray it left you’re lost in the trees and if you hit it long or right you’re down with the alligators and turtles and your second shot is a tough approach to an island green with a bunker in front and little room for error 
  • #9 is a blast with an elevated tee shot over a pond to a 90 degree dog leg right fairway – an excellent risk reward opportunity
  • #11 is a long 405 uphill shot to a dog left fairway but a huge tree splits the fairway – do you try to fly it, play left, or take the safe but longer right side – all of which take you to a small guarded green

The North Course greens range from small to dime size, most are guarded, and all have some slope with subtle breaks.  They were in good shape when we played but a tad bumpy and ran around an 8.5 to 9. 

The fairways were in great condition and most were a little tight and all are tree or water lined.  They range from flat to gently contoured.  The rough was cut thin and very playable, but if you miss it you’re most likely gone.  The fairways are lined with a variety of trees and lots of stately oaks with draping Spanish Moss. 

The bunkers ranged in size and shape and lots of them had some very steep faces.  The sand varied from soft and fluffy to thin with hard surface under it.

Bottom line - what a demanding shot makers course with some great holes that you'll want to play again

You’ll want to play the North Course 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 6,325 71.1 131
Blue 6,070 69.8 127
White 5,580 67.4 119
Red 4,955 69.4 121

Course Information

Course Architect:
Larry Packard
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
8.8
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
9.2
Bunker Condition
8.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 48 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.2 out of 10
Beauty:
9.2
Difficulty:
9.2
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.2
Back Nine Rating:
9.2
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$100.00 to $150.00

Service is first class from the bag boys to the cart ladies. The Pro Shop is huge with everything you need to look good and play well. The practice facilities are excellent. The grill at the Clubhouse has a wide variety of excellent food and the bar and outside patio are excellent.

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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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