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Innisbrook (Copperhead)

Innisbrook (Copperhead)

Palm Harbor, Florida
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
ArchitectLarry Packard
Palm Harbor, Florida
  • Address36750 US Hwy 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684, USA

There are four courses at the world-renowned Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, which are set in 900 pristine acres of Florida’s Palm Harbor. American architect E. Lawrence Packard designed all four layouts and the Copperhead course is his most famous and arguably best achievement.

The golf courses at the Innisbrook Resort were built between 1969 and 1973 although the course formerly known as the Sandpiper is now part of the North and South courses. The second-best layout at the resort is the recently renovated and lengthened Island course that has hosted numerous U.S. Open qualifiers and NCAA Championships but the course everyone wants to play is the championship, tournament course, Copperhead.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

“The clubhouse for the course is located on a hill so both the 1st and 10th holes are downhill shots and both the 9th and 18th holes are back up the hill. The entire course is well trapped, with all traps being visible. There is water in play on five holes, but bail out shots can be played on most for the medium and short hitters. The greens are mildly rolling so that straight in putts are not possible. To get birdies, the approach shot must be close to the pin. The 4th hole requires one of the most precise short shots on the course. The hole is demanding, but gorgeous!” Commented Packard on the ASGCA website.

The Copperhead course was the annual site of the JC Penney Mixed Team Championship. It was the final game of the year for the LPGA and the only major tournament where male PGA pros teamed up with their counterparts from the LPGA. The tournament was played according to Dick Chapman’s Pinehurst System, in which each team member drives, then the partner plays the second shot from each other’s drive position. They then decide to play whichever ball is in the best position and finish the hole with that ball alternating shots until the ball is holed. The last JC Penney Classic was hosted in 1999 and was won by John Daly and Laura Davies.

Innisbrook’s Copperhead course didn’t have to wait long for the return of top-flight golf. In 2000, the PGA Tour Tampa Bay Classic was founded and has been hosted under various sponsorship banners ever since – apart from a gap in 2001 due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Some PGA Tour professionals consider the Copperhead to be one of the best courses they play all year. If you’ve played it, we’d love to know what you think of the layout, so perhaps you’d like to write a review?


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