INNISBROOK HIGHLANDS NORTH GOLF COURSE (727-942-2000)
Florida Golf Course Review
The Highlands North Course at Innisbrook Resort is one of two golf courses on property that is serviced by the Highlands clubhouse. The North and South courses share a
beautiful clubhouse with pro shop, restaurant, putting green and nearby driving range. A beautiful outdoor terrace and Bamboo's Lounge are adjacent. In addition to the Highlands
clubhouse, there are separate full service facilities at Innisbrook for the Copperhead (annual home to the PGA TOUR's Valspar Championship presented by BB&T-click here for more information), and the Island Golf Courses.
The picturesque terrain on the Highlands north is a perfect setting for this well balanced layout that features mild undulations along an equal number of tree lined and water holes.
The surrounding lakes, ponds and swamp lands are home to abundant wildlife, including fox squirrels, Canadian geese, alligators, raccoons, blue herons, cranes and many
other types of water fowl. The courses at this luxurious resort were built to support the natural habitats of these creatures, which are plentiful throughout the 1100 acres. On one of
our evening walks around Lake Innisbrook just before dusk, we were able to hook and release a couple of 4 pound largemouth bass, and also came across a couple of 4-5 foot
alligators. Great stuff!
Three separate clubhouses service the 4 public courses at Innisbrook. The Copperhead and Island courses have their own facilities, with putting greens and driving ranges
nearby, and the Highlands South and North Courses share the same clubhouse and practice areas. Each features pro shops, men's and women's locker rooms with showers,
restaurants and lounges, swimming pools, and all have spectacular views of the courses. The golf courses feature standard marking systems, with yardage blocks at
100/150/200, and sprinkler heads measured to the center of the green. 150 yard stakes are also present as a directional aids and to assist with club selection. Color-coded flags
indicate the day's hole locations. 4 sets of tee areas provide golfers with opportunities to play to their skill level - and hole diagrams are present with posted yardages from each tee.
Golfers will find that the Highlands North presents a formidable challenge. At 6515 yards, the layout is not overly long, but a number of demanding doglegs and holes featuring
water hazards have been incorporated in the design. Most golfers will play the gold tees, which at 5925 yards is tough enough. The silver tees provide an alternative at 5535, and
the forward tees are a reasonable 4955 yards.
The initial hole demands right to left shot shape, with the 150 yards stake being an excellent target. The left side of the fairway is the place to be here. Number two also bends
sharply left, and is one of the best scoring holes on the course. Long hitters might be tempted to go for the green, but a tee shot hit over the trees left, will find a nice landing area
and will leave an easy wedge approach. The third is one tough golf hole...long hitters might reach in two, but many golfers will be laying up to the 100 yard marker and playing for
an up and down par, or bogie as the approach is all carry over water. The par three 4th is very tight, with trouble all around the green,and is followed by a beautiful dogleg right,
which plays to a demanding green complex nearly totally surrounded by water. Anything hit left on the approach will roll down the green side slope and into the hazard. *** pic 5
The par 4 sixth is very narrow, with trees squeezing the fairway about 85 yards away, and water and swamp along the right. There is a fair amount of room long and left - more than
is apparent off the tee on number seven. This par 3 provides a brief respite in a tough 6-hole stretch. Aim towards the directional stake in the center of the fairway on 8. A creek
crosses about 210 yards out, and the second shot on this snaking par five must be within 100 yards of the green for a chance to reach in regulation. On the next dogleg right (445
par four from the tips), you must be within 170 yards of the pin for a shot at the green. A narrow fairway past the tree line makes this a difficult hole to cut.
The backside opens with another snaking par five, bending right, left then back to green along the right side - tucked away amongst bunkers and trees. Stay near the middle and
this is a good scoring hole. A tee shot just right of or over the tree on the left side of the fairway will leave a clear approach on the dogleg left 11th. The par three12th demands a
carry over a waste bunker, and is followed by another good scoring hole. There is plenty of room off the tee, and the approach on 13 plays downhill. Aim left of the 150 on the par
four 14th, which is a pretty dogleg left. The approach over water to a green fronted by a wooden support wall is postcard perfect. The putting surface here slopes noticeably right to
left and back to front. Next up are back to back par threes. The 15th is quite simple and plays 1/2 club uphill and precedes another score-able hole that is heavily bunkered.
Number 17 bends left, but right of the 150 marker is the place to be for a good angled approach. The closing hole is a very tough (# 4 handicap) par four, that plays long from all the
tee boxes (435/420/400/380). A long tee shot that flies over the right fairway bunker and reaches the fairway about 150 out will leave an easy approach. Anything less will create a
need for some perseverance to save par.
The Highlands North Course is an extremely fun and challenging round of golf. The 44 sand bunkers are strategically placed, mostly near the mildly undulating and wonderfully
conditioned greens, and water hazards of various types come into play on 9 holes. The grounds and landscaping around the Highlands are absolutely beautiful - and this is the
case throughout the entire Innisbrook Resort property. Suffice to say that visitors will not run out of high quality places to dine, nor will they run out of things for themselves and
family members to due. There is a water park and other activities for children, 6 swimming pools, tennis, racquetball, a workout center, nature path - plus the great golf facilities.
The accommodations in 620 suites of various forms each provide a kitchen, patio or balcony, and spacious living quarters - high class luxury all the way. In 2008, Innisbrook is
undergoing $20 million in renovations and upgrades - including the addition of a full service luxury spa and a new practice facility. Innisbrook Resort is the ideal spot for a golf
vacation - highly recommended by the Two Guys Who Golf. Play on all four courses is limited to members and guests of the resort - you have to stay here to play here.
Click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf Detailed Information page with a link to this course's web page (if available).
Innisbrook offers some great stay & play packages starting at $299 - for more information click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf information page for Innisbrook Resort