Innisbrook Re-Opens Island Golf Course

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 4, 2008, 5:00 pm

Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is known by golfers worldwide for over 35 years of outstanding golf. Now the resort is proud to announce that golf at Innisbrook has just gotten better. After $1.7 million in renovations, the Island Course officially reopens today to offer what may be the resort's most impressive layout... and that's mighty praise considering Innisbrook's Copperhead Course is a favorite among the PGA TOUR players who arrive each March to compete in the PODS Championship.
Entrepreneur Sheila C. Johnson and her hospitality company, Salamander Hospitality, purchased Innisbrook this July and immediately began the renovation of the Island Course, already rated 4.5 stars out of a perfect 5 by Golf Digest's Places to Play. Johnson commented, 'The Island Course was designed on a very beautiful and unique parcel of land with one of the highest points of elevation in Pinellas County. This course is dramatically striking in both beauty and challenge. We knew right away we could take this course to a new level with the right scope of renovation and make it deserving of national acclaim.'

Innisbrook Island Course
The mystical 2nd hole at the Innisbrook Island course.
Island has hosted the Southern Amateur, the NCAA Golf Championships, four Florida Opens, and numerous USGA tournaments. The course opened during the week of October 7-13, 2007 to host over 700 amateur golfers from 69 U.S. cities competing in the GOLF CHANNEL Amateur Tour National Finals.
Now newly overseeded and in tournament condition, Island has been lengthened to 7,310 yards, with a par of 71. Golfers are sure to find great challenge at the extended 11th hole, now playing 530 yards -- one of the longest par fours in the country. Island now sports all new Tif Eagle greens -- the same putting surfaces as Copperhead. Additional improvements include new cart paths, course signage, bunkers, irrigation systems, new tree plantings and finer landscaping throughout. The Glase Golf Construction Company, based in Bonita Springs, Florida, has overseen the entire renovation project.
When asked his opinion about the impact of the newly renovated Island course, Director of Golf, Jay Overton, a 30-year veteran of Innisbrook and former player on the TOUR stated, 'It's now very easy to foresee the Island Course as yet another perfect venue for a major golf event at Innisbrook, in addition to Copperhead -- a consistent favorite among PGA TOUR professionals. I hope what we'll soon find is the emergence of Island back into the rankings among the top golf courses in the country.'
Enhancements to golf at Innisbrook are only the beginning of Johnson's plans for improvements to this distinctive property. Johnson and Salamander Hospitality President, Prem Devadas, also unveiled the first concept boards for further resort additions and improvements alluded to in July when announcing the purchase of the resort. Most notably, the construction of the resort's first full-service, luxury spa is scheduled to be completed by late 2008. The 12,000 square foot facility will offer 12 treatment rooms, a salon for hair, nails, manicures and pedicures and an outdoor spa courtyard with a relaxation pool. There will also be a new 4,000 square foot, state-of-the-art fitness area with workout studios and locker rooms. The Pamela Temples Design Group, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been hired to design for this project as well as other upcoming renovations at the resort. Architecture Incorporated will be the architectural firm on all of Innisbrook's renovation projects, with offices based in Ft. Meyers, Florida and Reston, Virginia.
In addition to the new spa, the resort's Tennis and Fitness Center will undergo extensive exterior and interior renovations including new locker room facilities. Also, Innisbrook's 11 Har-tru courts will undergo surface renovations as well as the addition of new seating areas to create a better venue for high profile spectator events that Johnson is planning to attract.
Innisbrook's three clubhouses and restaurants are also on the resort's list of immediate improvements to be completed prior to the end of 2008. The Copperhead Clubhouse will have a complete interior renovation with a restaurant concept change to an upscale 'Chop House', introducing a menu of exciting Italian specialties to complement its outstanding Steak House fare. The Island Clubhouse will also receive exterior and interior enhancements including complete locker room renovations, as well as a re-do of the existing restaurant, Turnberry Pub, that will introduce an updated and more comfortable version of a traditional golf grille and bar. The Highlands Clubhouse will be completely redesigned to add a new guest registration lobby for all arriving guests, as well as Johnson's signature gourmet market and deli - Market Salamander. Johnson plans to expand her Market Salamander concept here to create a new contemporary grille and bar for the Highlands Clubhouse. Additionally, the rear patio that overlooks the Highlands North and South courses will be expanded to include an outdoor bar which will become a lively gathering place for resort guests. Each of Innisbrook's six climate- controlled swimming pools will be upgraded and enhanced including all new poolside furniture for dining and relaxation.
Innisbrook's 65,000 square feet of meeting space will also receive an extensive make-over with all new interiors and furnishings. Two new executive boardrooms, seating up to 20 each, will be created featuring fine furnishings and appointments. With 14,000 square foot of ballroom at Inverness and twin 8,280 square foot ballrooms in the main conference center, Innisbrook will once again be one of Florida's finest conference facilities.
Plans to further enhance Innisbrook's golf experience include a new practice and instruction area adjacent to the Highland's practice facilities, and each of Innisbrook's four golf courses will receive new tee signage and a new, upgraded fleet of golf carts as well as new cart paths.
Literally no building at the resort will go untouched, with many new infrastructure upgrades planned throughout. That also includes the complete renovation of Innisbrook's Penthouse Suite which will be renovated from top to bottom, with Johnson personally involved in each design choice. Salamander Hospitality Vice President and Innisbrook Managing Director, Chuck Pomerantz, will oversee all of the resort's renovations.
Situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills and 70 acres of lakes on Florida's Gulf Coast near Tampa, Florida, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Innisbrook features 72 holes of championship golf, 620 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, fitness and racquetball center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space. Innisbrook is owned and managed by Salamander Hospitality, a privately owned and operated company based in Middleburg, VA, just outside Washington, DC and built upon a uniquely entrepreneurial approach to the hospitality business. For additional information call (727) 942-2000 or visit
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.