Earlier this year you voted Innisbrook as a new Silver Medalist in our 2010 Premier Resorts awards, a sign that the resort isn't resting on its laurels, even as it celebrates its 40th birthday. The property is owned by Salamander Resorts, whose founder, Sheila Johnson, has invested millions of dollars in an effort to inject new life into the property. The results are obvious in the improved rooms, restaurants and course conditioning.
There are four coursesCopperhead, Island, North and Southbut focus on the Larry Packard-designed Copperhead, which has hosted the PGA Tour since 2000. A stern test, Copperhead is defined by thick rough, massive pines, awkward lies and huge bunkers.
The Island course hosted the 1990 NCAA Men's Championship (won by Phil Mickelson). It's flatter than Copperhead and the bunkering is not as dramatic, but water lurks everywhere. Both the North and the South are less demanding and interesting (play the South first), although each is a soothing salve for those who've been bitten by Copperhead.
Innisbrook pioneered the concept of using condominiums as a resort's lodging component. The convenience factorespecially for buddies and familiesremains popular today. Accommodations are located in 28 low-rise lodges nestled into the trees.
Each of the 620 rooms and suites features living areas and kitchens. Innisbrook's restaurants have improved dramatically, led by Packard's Steak House. (Try "The Filet," done up Oscar style, with crab, asparagus and Bernaise sauce.) Finally, if 72 holes of golf aren't enough, a spa, tennis, lake fishing and swimming in four pools can all add to the family fun.
Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort
Palm Harbor, Fla.
Green fees range from $110-$225
December packages start at $159 per golfer, per night, based on double occupancy, with no surcharges to play Copperhead.