The famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fl. is open for play following a comprehensive six-month restorative enhancement honoring the guiding principles of legendary course architect Larry Packard.
The project included re-grassing all fairways and rough, rebuilding each green, and reshaping bunkers to stay true to Packard’s design. The tree-lined layout is the host site of the Valspar Championship presented by BB&T, an official PGA Tour event held every March at Copperhead. Featuring rolling terrain uncommon to the state, the course is regarded by many professionals as one of the finest they play and includes the notoriously challenging stretch of closing holes known as the “Snake Pit.”
“This restoration respects and protects the vision of Larry Packard and his signature design, and further elevates the golf experience for our guests, members, partners and playing professionals,” said Sheila C. Johnson, who is also an officer and executive committee member of the United States Golf Association. “This project is the latest of numerous improvements Salamander has made to Innisbrook, cementing its reputation as one of America’s top golf destinations.”
As part of the plan to faithfully restore the intent and characteristics of Packard’s original design, Wadsworth Golf Construction Company, which was the original course builder, was engaged to oversee the project work. Each green was rebuilt to United States Golf Association specifications with TifEagle Bermuda grass, several were restored to their original size to allow for additional pin placements, and new drainage systems were installed underneath the green complexes.
Fairways were replaced with Celebration Bermuda grass to yield a more consistent hitting surface, and a number of viewing areas around the greens were modified to allow for larger tournament galleries in the future.
The restorative project also included the reshaping and rebuilding of Copperhead’s strategically placed bunkers, including the addition of a set of staircase traps on the uphill 18th hole. At the practice facility, an additional tier was added to the driving range and a new practice green was added for chipping, pitching and bunker shots.
All tee boxes were rebuilt and laser leveled, while several were expanded. Fifteen new forward tees were also added to enhance the experience for players of all skill levels. The length of the course for Tour professionals, however, remains at a challenging 7,340 yards.
Operated by Salamander Hotels & Resorts and owned by Sheila C. Johnson, Innisbrook is situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. The resort features 72 holes of championship golf, 550 guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Academy, 11 tennis courts, the luxury Indaba Spa with 12 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art Fitness Center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
Innisbrook is located at 36750 U.S. Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, Fl. 34684. For more information, visit www.InnisBrookGolfResort.com, or call 727-942-2000.