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Florida League Course Reviews

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Week 10: Innisbrook Resort, Island Course - Palm Harbor, FL

Tees Played:  Green: 6,686 yds 72.7/140 ; White: 6,130 yds 69.7/130

Conditions: Warm to Hot, Very Light Breeze

Price: $$$ ($75)



The Innisbrook Resort is a large golf and spa resort in Palm Harbor, just a short drive north of the Clearwater/St Petersburg area on the Central Florida gulf coast. A longtime favorite of Tampa Bay area golfers, the resort has three championship courses and hosts an annual PGA Tour event, now the Valspar Championship, on it's Copperhead course (previously reviewed). While not quite as long as Copperhead, the Island Course can play every bit as tough. The Island is somewhere between a shot-making and target golf course. Each hole offers a unique challenge creating a course that demands good decision making and shot choices, and then makes you execute those shots. 


The course conditions in general are very good to excellent. While Copperhead is the show-piece, the other courses are maintained with the same care and detail to ensure a quality golf experience for resort guests. The Island's fairways are narrow so accuracy off the tee is a premium for a good score. The turf conditions were excellent considering our summer date meant lots of recent rain. Even so, we were not cart path restricted and the fairways were only just soft enough to slightly affect roll. The rough was deep enough that you knew you didn't want to be in it, but it wasn't penalizing. Wander too far off the line of the hole there is a variety of trouble waiting for you. Some holes have bunkering around the landing area, others are lined with cypress, and others shaped by water (though maybe not as much as the name 'Island Course' suggests). The greens were in excellent condition, held shots well, and had true, consistent roll with medium speed that approached fast as they dried out from our early morning start. 


The practice facilities at all the resort's courses are very good. The Island's large practice putting/chipping green is adjacent to the clubhouse and first tee, and represents the course conditions well. The full swing range is across the street from the clubhouse but they maintain a 10 minute cycle of carts shuttling from the clubhouse to the range. The practice range has great turf, plenty of hitting stations and targets, quality practice balls, and coolers with chilled water bottles. Again, top rate even for a resort facility with a practice bunker the only piece lacking.


The best description for the course employees is fantastic. Clubhouse personnel were friendly, enthusiastic, helpful and informative. The outside assistants are a great source for info on how the course is set up and how it's playing. Since keeping things on-time is part of maintaining the good resort experience, you will see the on-course rangers more often than some other places. Our tournament play rules can slow things down a bit, but even with that we were only asked once to try and speed up our play. The rangers are present, but not typically fussy or in any way disrespectful. You'll also never find yourself wondering when/if you'll ever see the beverage cart again. They make rounds enough to avoid that without being intrusive or a hindrance. In short, I've never had a negative experience with any course employee during any of my several visits to the resort.


Overall impression: A definite recommend. Innisbrook does a fantastic job making sure you have an enjoyable golf experience. The Island course will challenge your course management and shot making skills while the course conditions and environment will leave you wanting to come back. Like most Florida resorts, the peak (cool weather) season rates will be a bit higher. You'll also want to be aware of the Tour's early spring play date as the resort accommodations will be full along with increased traffic and more crowded play at the other courses. 






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thanks for the reviews.enjoy reading them.

Even though I am at the opposite end of the country,it is nice to read about different courses.

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Final Week: 2-Day - Mission Inn Resort, Howey In the Hills Florida

Tees Played: El Campeon - Blue 6,601 yds 73/139, White 6,242 yds 71.1/135

                     Las Colinas - Blue 6,829 yds 74.1/130, White 6,365 yds 71.3/129

Conditions: Hot, Humid, Afternoon Rain

Price: Golf $ ($49), Lodging $$$ 



The Mission Inn Golf and Spa resort sits in little, out of the way, Howey In The Hills Florida. It is about a 45 minute drive from the eastern side of Orlando near Lake Harris and just east of the Florida Turnpike. This was our league's final regular event, played over two days. The first was on the El Campeon Course with the second round on the Las Colinas course. El Campeon is a challenging, shot-makers course with a parkland feel to the layout. Las Colinas has more of a links feel but still requires sound strategy and good shot making to manage a low score. Both courses offer more elevation change than you expect to find in Florida, and it is incorporated very well into the course designs. 


Course Conditions were consistent between the two courses, and between the better side of good and excellent. Tees were all well manicured. The fairways had good feel and playability and showed good drainage to maintain that after some heavy rain at the end of day one and overnight between rounds. Greens received shots well and rolled true with moderately fast speeds. The only mark against course conditions were some bare/rough spots along the edges of a few Las Colinas greens. Most of the greens are rather large and there is lots of undulation and slope that will challenge you to place the ball on the proper portion of the green with your approach or three putts are definitely in play. The rough on both tracks was noticeable but not penalizing, allowing you to miss the fairway - just don't miss by much. There are ample trees and other hazards that dictate the strategy for each hole such that any shot wandering too far off the line of play will likely cost you a stroke (or more) to get back in the hole.


The practice facilities are all adjacent to/near the central clubhouse. The large practice putting green sits across the path from the starting holes and replicates the on-course conditions well. There is a large, all turf, full-swing range and chipping/bunker practice area just across the parking lot with quality practice balls pre-positioned for each. The clubhouse attendants maintain a cart shuttle to-from the range or it is only a short walk. 


As expected with any resort property, the course employees were all friendly, energetic, and seemed genuinely interested in making sure we had a good experience. Clubhouse attendants were there with cart shuttle service from the parking lot and to the practice range. The were given our group's tee sheet, so carts were all pre-positioned. Post round club attendants were there to clean clubs, and were happy to hear stories of the round and share a laugh. There is also club storage available for guests of the resort. The folks inside the clubhouse were all fantastic as well. The bar/grill is fairly large and overlooks the 1st/18th fairways withe a view of the lake between. On-course personnel were present, without being intrusive. The rangers will be nice about asking you to maintain pace of play and the bev cart will circulate frequently enough you'll not need to wish for them.


Overall impression: the golf courses at Mission Inn will not disappoint and are worth the drive to play. They are challenging for all levels while being fun to play. Using good course strategy and making quality shots will lead to a good score, while wild misses or over-aggressive shot selection can quickly build up to big numbers. The golf courses are a great value and since this is a golf course review not a resort review I will only say the accommodations and other resort amenities may not feel like the same. A definite recommend for golf, while only a mild recommend for the overall resort. 

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