Innisbrook: Facing off against the Snake Pit

With over 900 acres of natural beauty and unlimited opportunities, Innisbrook will help you create memories that will last a lifetime.  If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure you can enjoy 4 championship golf courses, 11 clay tennis courts, 6 swimming pools, 60 acres of lakes and miles of trails to walk, hike or jog. If indoors is your desire then you can relax your mind, body and soul in the Salamander Spa which is open to resort guests, members as well as locals.  Lastly, you can feed your hunger with a variety of cuisines from casual to fine dining all while enjoying live entertainment in a beautiful atmosphere.





Although my decision to visit was a last minute thing, you would never have known by the responses from everyone I met.  From my first stop when I pulled up to the manned security gate to the check-in area which was elaborately decorated for the holidays,  I was greeted with warm smiles and well wishes for an enjoyable stay. Within a matter of minutes, I was checked in to what I would very quickly find out was an incredible 2 bedroom suite that could easily be considered my new home away from home.  Not only was the suite immaculately decorated it was equipped with everything I could possible need from a full kitchen and dining room to a spacious living and work area.  At the end of my long day on the course, I was even able to enjoy a relaxing soak in my extra large shower with the gentle rainfall head pouring down on me.



Over the course of my weekend I was planning two days on the golf courses and an afternoon at the Salamander Spa in between but because of my arrival time, I was able to enjoy an evening of fine dining at Packards Steakhouse first. Packards is know for the highest quality beef steaks, cold water lobster tails and fresh Floridian fish caught daily.  If you’re a wine connoisseur you be impressed to find a list featuring the best from all over the world.  After a busy day and the stresses of traveling, I was extremely hungry but didn’t know exactly what I wanted. My waitress was ready with knowledge of the best dishes and her personal recommendations.  After convincing me to start off with the ever popular french onion soup I still had room to indulge in one of the house specialties- surf and turf. I was delivered an incredible spread of steak, lobster tails, creamed spinach and sauteed mushrooms. Every bite was beyond delicious and yet there was no way I could possibly eat the entire thing. I was looking forward to having my leftovers for the midnight snack later on.  My waitress even convinced me to order the Hot Chocolate Truffle cake which was served nice and warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.  More than I could ever fit in but worth every single bite.  Not only was the food delicious the service was impeccable. Although I had one primary server, I was taken care of by many staff members who graciously answered my questions, offered their suggestions and continually asked if they could do anything more to make my visit better.  A restaurant can have the highest quality food and the most experienced chefs but if the staff who greets and services the guests are not as equally as spectacular then it means nothing.




I started my first morning on the golf course where the PGA Tour Championship visits each March, Copperhead. I was actually playing when the announcement that came through that Rory McIlroy would be attending the Valspar Championship at Copperhead this year.



While this course is surrounded by natural beauty it’s 7200 yards will challenge even the most professional golfer.  The fairways are lined in pine trees and the course is surrounded by lakes and ponds all of which are filled with the wildlife that naturally inhabits these areas.  Don’t be surprised if you see an alligator eyeing you from the water but more importantly be sure not to get bitten by the snake.



After a grooling day on the course, I was ready to spend some time in the Salamander Spa where some of the most respected and sought after spa therapists were ready to pamper and show me the true art of healing. I was greeted at the door with cucumber water and then into the gentleman’s waiting area where there was a variety of teas and a bowl of fresh nuts to begin my experience which took me straight into the Eucalyptus Steam Room. Here I was able to begin the relaxation process and prepare my skin for what was to come. The attendants knew that I was planning on receiving one of their very popular gentleman’s packages which consists of the Golfers Muscle Melter Massage and the Fairway Foot Treatment. At the Salamander Spa there is very focused one to one attention given to each guest and their specific needs.  





The Golfer’s Muscle Melter Massage is a full body massage that uses pressure and light stretching to help improve range of motion, circulation and flexibility after a “rough” day on the course.  It was during this massage that my therapist, Maya, realized the knot in my right shoulder area and began asking questions in order to see if she could reduce the tension and swelling that she was feeling.  Maya specifically worked that area and then applied their specialized BioFreeze product which uses menthol and cold relief to penetrate the muscle and relieve pain from deep within.  After that I didn’t need anything more but was able to continue to relax while receiving a hot stone foot massage followed by a cooling foot and leg treatment and then one more visit to the Eucalyptus Steam Room just to finish things off. This was exactly what I needed in order to prepare myself for another round on the golf course the following morning.




After checking out of my room, day two took me to the North Course which is also called Baby Cooperhead because the original Copperhead consisted of 27 holes and has now been divided into multiple courses. While it is similar to Copperhead, the Baby, has had extensive restorations and has just recently reopened for member and resort play.  At just over 6300 yards, this  course is considered to be one of the most challenging. It  has extremely tight fairways, 11 water hazards, an abundance of trees and daunting Par 3’s to make you work extra hard for that desired low score. Even with all of those challenges I immediately felt like this course was the perfect one for the amateur golfer to feel challenged and yet not frustrated.  I found myself feeling like I had to work hard to place my ball in just the right spot but never like it was out of reach for my level of play.  It was a great combination of working hard and yet feeling relaxed and truly enjoying the round. In the end, it was two days of great hospitality, scenery, and accomodations… a place I intend to visit again!