The Snake Pit at Innisbrook: Everything you need to know

March 7, 2017

The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is known for its narrow fairways and challenging greens, but things heat up when players enter the infamous Snake Pit, guarded by a large bronze – but thankfully, still – statue.

“It’s a navigator’s course,” said NBC golf analyst Mark Rolfing. “You cannot overpower the course. It’s all about the angles there.” And after its restoration in 2015, more of the old-school charm will emerge from the track. 

Last year, Charl Schwartzel topped Bill Haas, eliminating a three-stroke deficit over the last six holes to force a playoff. Despite the South African’s mastery of the Snake Pit in the final round (he went par-birdie-par to finish with a low round of the day 67), the three holes played an average of .598 strokes above par for the week, making it the fourth-toughest closing three-hole stretch on Tour in 2016.

Here’s what the pros have to look forward to at this week’s Valspar Championship.

Course: Innisbrook (Copperhead Course), Palm Harbor, Florida
Holes: 16 (par 4), 17 (par 3), 18 (par 4)

Hole 16, “Moccasin” – 460 yards, par 4

Dubbed one of the hardest holes on the PGA Tour, the 16th at Copperhead is not for the faint of heart. A narrow fairway bordered by water on the right and trees on the left leaves little room for error of the tee. Most pros will elect to hit 3-wood into this dogleg right, still setting them up with a long second shot into an elevated green.

Hole 17, “Rattler” – 215 yards, par 3

This hole’s saving grace might be that it’s the largest green on the course – but you have to get there first. The opening is pear-shaped and well protected, so depending on the pin location, this long-ish par three can go from tough to ugly from round to round.

Hole 18, “Copperhead” – 445 yards, par 4

Bunkers line both sides of this track’s finisher, meaning pros need to remain consistent off the tee right to the last hole. The uphill par-4’s green is sloped back to front, posing a tough final challenge to even the Tour’s most seasoned players. Even more so, when there’s a championship on the line.