Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Innisbrook Copperhead Course- The Snake Pit

Innisbrook Resort was developed in 1970 and all four courses were designed by E. Lawrence Packard. It is located on the West coast of Florida in Palm Harbor. Recently, new ownership has freshened it up with a 30 million cash infusion. I played two of the courses in late February just as the PGA was setting the Copperhead up for the Transitions tournament.

The last holes, #16-#18, are called The Snake Pit. They are three of the most difficult finishing holes on the PGA Tour. So, when I arrived on the 16th tee I was ready for a challenge and hoping to play them at even par.

#16 (Moccasin) is a long Par 4, Cape like hole, that plays at 430 yds from the Green Tees. Ideally, you would like to play it to the right side of the FW shortening the hole. My drive found the left side of the generous FW, 177 yards out. The hole played slightly uphill and to a back pin today, so I choose my #4 Hybrid and left myself with about 20 feet to the hole. The greens where firm but they had not been cut down to tour speed yet, my putt was woefully short and left me with a four foot tap in for a par.

#17 (Rattler) is a medium length par 3, which has a narrow neck on the front half protected by bunkers on both sides. Today the pin was located up front at 170 yards. The green is steeply sloped , so you would like to keep your ball below the hole. I hit a 5 iron pin high into the right bunker. Blasted out to within 10 feet and had a side winding putt for par. Missed the putt and took my 4. Easier pin placements are located in the back half of this green, which also allows for a much larger landing area. One over par after two holes of the Snake Pit.

#18 (Copperhead) plays uphill at 420 yards to narrower landing area. Observing the hole from overhead, it does actually look like a Copperhead snake. Needing a birdie, I put a little extra into my swing and predictably blocked it right into the rough. I was left with 160 yards to a green that would accept a nice draw. Coming out of the rough using a 5 iron, my shot hooked into the left front bunker. My last hope was to hole a longish bunker shot but I came up 15 feet short to the sloping green and two putted for bogey. Two over par and I can see why these three holes are rated the third most difficult finishing holes on Tour.

Other notable holes: #1, #4, #9, #12, #14.