GolfPass - The Approach | GolfPass Grass Guru - Innisbrook
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GolfPass Grass Guru – Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course

Valspar Championship • Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course

Hole 1 • Par 5 • 560 yds

By Eric MacPherson

Full speed ahead after the Players.This week the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook hosts the Valspar Championship, a tight course with several fairway bunkers that make shot choice decisions imperative.

From the start of the first hole, we are met with a few beautiful fairway bunkers. Our highlight for this week is the bunker on the right side. Fairway bunkers in the PGA rarely get to see play and the pros are increasingly getting too long off the tee. This being a par 5, and narrower than some of the more open shot shaping holes on tour, we will see more of a premium on ball placement and shot choice. Refreshing to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, the long ball hitter is always at an advantage. However, that gap starts to close when ball strikers and shot choosers have the ability to land the ball in strategic spots. Just ask my friend Mr. 58 Jim Furyk.

A well placed fairway bunker just adds to the game. Do I try to smack one out there and hope it clears but also doesn’t run too far and sit in the rough? Do I lay it up allowing for a gorgeous second shot in to help set up a birdie putt with a short wedge in? I love when the game needs more thought than just driver, wedge, putt. I need that puzzle mentality, it’s more fun to play and certainly more fun to watch.

Copperhead is a gorgeous course with plenty more narrow fairways and fairway bunkers. The first hole sets the stage for an exciting round of golf, that could easily go off the rails with an untimely beach ball as a second shot. Just another example of a beautiful Florida golf course. Great golf, great greens, great bunkers, what…else…do…you…need.

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Innisbrook Resort

Eric MacPherson knows a lot about golf, but even more about grass. Having worked in golf for what seems like forever, and going on to graduate school in turfgrass, he’s able to walk mow a green, and change the shaft in your favorite driver. He’s worked on some of the east coast’s primer golf clubs doing everything from washing carts to building brand new putting greens. He’s also volunteered at several high profile Tour events including a major and the President’s Cup. The only thing he likes more than pushing a walk mower on a beautiful crisp morning, would be teeing it off instead. Shoot Eric a message at eric@golfpass.co.