Because of its famous “Snake Pit” finish during the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship each March, most people think the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort takes its name from the venomous viper. But while the twisty, tree-lined layout near Tampa can quickly strike, the name actually comes from the numerous copper pennies the crew found while building the Larry Packard design in the early ’70s (no one is sure why they were there).
During last year’s $4.5-million renovation, workers didn’t find more pennies but did install something worth a lot of coin: a new irrigation system that will save 11 million gallons of water annually. They also re-grassed the fairways and rough, rebuilt the greens to USGA specs, and restored the bunkers to Packard’s original, wavy-edge design.
“We’ve got a 45-year-old golf course that’s brand new,” says Director of Golf Bobby Barnes.
That said, the pros won’t notice much difference next month, which is just fine with them. Copperhead is one of their favorite courses. With marked elevation changes and tight corridors of trees, it’s a shotmaker’s course. Holes of note include the dogleg 6th, which requires a fade off the tee then a draw to the green, and the par-five 14th, a double dogleg. Then there’s “The Snake Pit”: the tough 16th doglegs around a lake; 17 is a long uphill par three; and 18 is strewn with bunkers.
But given the real origin of the course’s name—and all the fortunes won and lost on those holes—perhaps Innisbrook should rename them “The Money Pit.”