INNISBROOK RESORT - ISLAND GOLF COURSE (727-942-2000)
Florida Golf Course Review
The Island Golf Course at Innisbrook Resort is the highest rated (4 1/2 stars from Golf Digest) of the four public championship layouts at this luscious resort. The Island received
$1,7 million in renovations in November, 2007 to now rivals the immaculate course conditions and challenge of the famed Copperhead Golf Course. During our 4-night visit our
accommodations were in the suites at the Carnoustie complex, which is adjacent to the gorgeous Island clubhouse. Spectacular views of the golf course are available from
anywhere on property, and Lake Innisbrook is just steps away. It was here that we were afforded the opportunity to land and release a couple of 4-5 pound largemouth bass, and
witnessed alligators, crane, turtles and herons enjoying the aquatic environment. Each evening began with a walk around the lake, followed by a soak in the Jacuzzi and nightly
swim in the beautiful pool that sits next to the Islands putting green. Visitors also have use of the spacious locker rooms that are equipped with showers, and men's and women's
saunas. We should note that we DID NOT require mosquito repellent at any time...a great effort obviously was made to
make the environment as enjoyable as possible here. With monsoon type rains daily and scores of puddles of standing water, the control program has to be incredibly efficient.
The terrain of the Islands Golf Course, like the more famous Copperhead at Innisbrook, is surprisingly rolling. The initial
holes are typically Florida but beginning with hole number seven, uncharacteristic elevation changes occur. There are
many elevated tees, and an equal number of tee areas playing uphill. Like the other courses at this resort, the
surrounding lakes, ponds and swamp lands are home to abundant wildlife, including fox squirrels, Canadian geese, alligators, raccoons, blue herons, turtles 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.
Three separate clubhouses service the 4 semi-private 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. A Golf Learning Academy is also on property, with its separate facilities and
programs. Golf School Packages are available through the resort. Each of the three clubhouses feature pro shops with locker rooms, restaurants and lounges, swimming pools
with hot tubs, 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 on the Islands and both of the Highlands golf courses.
Color-coded flags indicate the day's hole locations. Four 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.
The Island Course is the second longest layout at Innisbrook, next to Copperhead (which is annual host to the PGA TOUR's Valspar Championship presented by BB&T - click here for more information). At 7310 yards, this design offers a 132 slope rating, with numerous doglegs requiring both length and placement off the tee. The gold tees rate a 128 slope
at 6654 yards, with the silver tees measuring 6166/121 slope. Forward players will find a good challenge at 5578 yards and a 129 slope.
The opening hole is the one we call our alligator hole, as we spotted at least one here on each day of our visit. This dogleg right requires a tee shot placed to the right of the left
fairway bunker. The approach is simple, as the surrounding water should not come into play. Number two is our bass hole - we caught both of ours along the banks of reeds on
the left side of the fairway. With any luck you will see schools of largemouth leaping through the air at flies and other bugs, as we did. If you are behind a slow foursome...time for a
couple of casts. Oh, and this is a very score-able hole. The par four 3rd is a bit tougher, as it bends right past the sand traps. Reach in regulation and you are my hero! Number four
has a cypress tree in the middle of the sand bunker that fronts the green...how unusual is that? You will have to navigate this obstacle to reach this par three on the tee shot.
Follow a path left of the tree line on the fifth, which is also a very score-able hole. Number six presents an intimidating, tree lined fairway that plays tight all the way to the green.
Keep it together, keep it together, keep it together. Next up is a par five that bends left off the tee and right on the approach, which is considerably uphill. The second shot will make
a few people nervous - and you will soon be willing to accept par and get out of town, on this - the number one handicap. The par three 8th plays one club uphill. Stay below the
hole, as the green slopes back to front. Do not go left of the tree line on the dogleg left par four ninth. There is unforeseen water...and another pond just left of the green seems
redundant. Do not go there! These last few holes are tough indeed.
The back side demands a short carry over a pond then plays uphill all the way to the putting complex, adding about 80 yards to the advertised length of this hole. An elevated tee
plays to a narrow fairway and then back up to an elevated green on 11. This precedes an uphill tee shot on 12. This hole turns nearly 90 degrees left at the top of the hill, and it is
very possible to drive through the fairway. Aim to be just short of and left of the fairway bunker, or bend a long one over the edge of the tree line left. From 12-16, the Islands winds
its way through a beautiful residential community. These are some of the nicest homes I have ever seen near a golf course. We are accepting donations! The par three 13th plays
extremely uphill, but provides plenty of room for error. The sloped putting surface (back to front) may make you pay for any misguided projectiles, however. The 14th bends left, but
a tee shot to the right side is recommended, unless you are very long and strong off the tee. This is followed by an interesting par five. Your score may very well be determined by
how accurate you are with a wedge/short iron. Two good shots should put you in a fair position to approach the green for a bird try. Bunkers on each side along a narrow green
provide the challenge here. Land in one of them and an up and down will be tough. The par four16th is also tight, with fairway bunkers on each side ready to swallow errant tee
shots. A pond in a treacherous location just short left of the green makes the approach a difficult one, especially if you are hitting a fairway wood. Many will lay up and play for an up
and down par here. The water right should not come into play on the par three 17th, which is followed by a challenging and incredibly beautiful closing hole. The 18th demands an
accurate tee shot placed between 150 and 110 yards from the green. Reach this area of the dogleg, and you will have a clear shot (nearly all carry) over a pretty water hazard filled
with leaping bass. Par this hole and go home happy.
The Island is often mentioned as the favorite of employees and of the visitors we spoke with that played all four courses. It is tough to choose this one over the Copperhead, but it
is an incredible golf course. Then again, you won't go wrong playing any of the courses at Innisbrook. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, and the resort has too many amenities
to mention. 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