Bay Area Resort at a Glance: Palm Harbor's Westin Innisbrook

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

The Resort

Perhaps the premier golf destination on Florida's gulf coast, the Westin Innisbrook boasts five golf courses and is continually a recipient of Golf Magazine's Silver Medal award for golf resorts.

Innisbrook is truly a self-contained golfing destination, and all you need to do is get to the airport - a complimentary shuttle will pick you up at Tampa International, and a mini transit system that will pick you up on demand within five minutes runs all day and into the evening within the resort.

The resort's architecture, which appears to be something akin to the house the Brady Bunch lived in, leaves much to be desired, but who comes to a golfing resort for the buildings?

The Golf

The flagship course of the resort, and hands down one of the best tracks in the state is Innisbrook's Copperhead Course. Formerly the host course of the J.C. Penny Classic, and the new home to the Tampa Bay Classic, Copperhead is immaculately maintained and was revamped by Larry Packard in an attempt to modernize the course.

The result is a course that plays long, but fair, and is anything but a typical Florida course with its pine trees and rolling hills. The Island Course is the next best play at the resort, and the course seems to unfold in a set of three six-hole screenplays.

Hawk's Run is a short, Florida style course that takes the driver out of the hands of the long hitter, and places a premium on irons and shot making. Eagles Watch and Lost Oaks fill the remainder of the bill - both decent, but not outstanding layouts.

Amenities

Where to begin: Innisbrook hosts the Troon Golf School, three golf shops, practice facilities and four upscale restaurants, such as DY's Steakhouse, Turnberry Pub, Iguana Cantina and Toscana.

The resort has 1,000 spacious suits to accommodate out-of-town travelers. Top-notch tennis and racquetball courts, a fitness facility, an elaborate convention center, six swimming pools, jogging and cycling trails, a wildlife preserve and a recreation center round out a full menu of entertainment options.

You've Gotta Be Kidding me

The newest addition to the Innisbrook Resort's impressive repertoire is the Loch Ness Monster Pool. Centrally located within the resort, the pool features a sandy beach, a water slide and waterfall, a pool bar and a hot tub.

The Deal

To play here, you must stay at the resort a minimum of three nights, ranging from $110 to $525 a night. Four packages -- the Classic (which does not include playing the Copperhead), Preferred, Platinum and Diamond -- include at least one round of golf a day, club service, meals, practice range balls, and daily golf clinics.

The Preferred Package, the resort's most popular, includes 18 holes of golf daily, including one round on the Copperhead; accommodations with a golf course view; breakfast daily; advance starting times; unlimited use of the range; daily golf clinics; club storage; locker room service; a gift pack and unlimited access to the fitness center.

The cost is $250-$270 from now until Jan. 12 and from April 27 to May 24. It jumps to $360 from Jan. 13 to April 26 and plummets to $220 from May 25 to Sept. 20.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.


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