INNISBROOK HIGHLANDS SOUTH GOLF COURSE (727-942-2000)
Florida Golf Course Review
The Highlands South Course at Innisbrook Resort is the longer of two golf courses on property that are 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 Chrysler Championship) and the Island Golf Courses.
The South Course is unique in that the middle holes - numbers 5 through 13 are links style, with the remaining holes being more of a traditional design,
featuring tree lined fairways and numerous water hazards. 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 two 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, locker
rooms with showers for men and women, 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. Like the North, directional stakes are also
visible on the fairways of par fives or doglegs on the south at around 250 yards away.
At 6768 yards from the championship tee areas, the Highlands South will provide a formidable challenge for scratch golfers. The slope rating is 127.
Subsequent tee areas measure 6145 (gold with a 124 slope), 5690 (silver with a 119 slope) and the forward jade tees (4975 - 121 slope). Generous
fairways are present on nearly all of the links-style holes. It is important to keep it in play on the traditional holes - the first and last 4 or 5 holes of the
layout. Trees and water hazards can get in the way of a good score. Everything considered however, this is the easiest layout of all at Innisbrook - and a
great resort golf experience. The gold tees are the ones chosen by a majority of golfers.
The beginning hole is fairly straight with a slightly uphill approach - a fair opening hole as the number 11 handicap. A snaking par five follows. Be wary of
the creek that originates from the pond on the right, and crosses the fairway about 60 yards out. The putting surface is a bit elevated and well guarded by
bunkers. There is bail out room on the short par three 3rd, which precedes the shortest par four of the layout - only 350 yards from the tips. Stay on the
left side of the fairway with a lay up off the tee, and this is a great scoring hole. The fifth begins a stretch of holes in a links style setting - open fairways
and few trees in play. There is a row of fairway bunkers left and a pond far right on six, but there is much room for error here. Ditto for seven, which plays
slightly uphill to a mounded green complex. The 8th tee plays to a rolling fairway, with water right about 220 yards from the pin. The hazard juts in towards
the fairway, which is layered and uphill from about 150 in. Avoid the water and you may be able to par the toughest scoring hole of the round. Number nine
is the longest and toughest of the par threes - at 185 into a prevailing breeze with water hazards on both sides of the putting surface.
After a short carry over water, the tenth plays quite simply with an ample fairway and slightly uphill green complex. This is followed by a pretty and wide
open par four that bends right to left - a true links hole. Grip it and rip it - towards the right side of the 150 stake. From an elevated tee you will encounter
a wide fairway on 12, which is a very good scoring hole. The 13th is the longest hole of the layout - 650 yards from the back tees. There is plenty of room
after an initial carry over water, but the length of this hole makes par a challenge. There is usually abundant water fowl hanging out near the tee boxes on
14, which features a tee shot over water to an ample fairway. Right center is the place to be here, as trees extending into the fairway left will make
approaches difficult from that side. The par five 15th is a beautiful hole, and is very difficult to score on. Aim left of the tree and right of the bridge off the
tee. Water crosses the fairway about 265 out, and the second shot must be on the left center of the fairway for a clear approach to a tight green complex.
A well bunkered par three is next, and is of little difficulty. This begins a 3 hole stretch that is the easiest of the layout. The mid range par four 17th invites
a tee shot left of the 150 stake, as it turns slightly to the right on the approach, with trees all along that side. The closing hole is a beautiful par three.
Bunkering in front of the putting surface is extensive, and a pond must be carried off the tee. There are 10-15 yards of grass in front of the green, with a bit of bail out room left.
The Highlands South Course is a popular layout at this resort, as it presents a great variety in design, and perhaps the best opportunities for viewing
wildlife. 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