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Tournament Golf Courses Near Tampa

When seeking tournament level golf courses near Tampa, there are plenty of great options considering the amount of courses on the PGA tour and devotion to golf in the area.


In fact, the most tournament ready layout in the area is also one of the pros’ favorite courses on the PGA Tour – the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort.  Located about 20 miles northwest of the Tampa Bay International Airport in Palm Harbor, Fla., Innisbrook has four courses with the Copperhead Course, home of the Valspar Championship, being the best of the bunch. Designed by the late father-son team of Larry and Roger Packard, the 7,209-yard course features a finishing stretch known as the “Snake Pit” because of its difficulty. It’s also worth noting that Innisbrook’s Island Course (designed by the same team and opened in 1970) was recently redone, and is no slouch either, having hosted top NCAA tournaments and U.S. Open qualifiers.


Innisbrook is hardly the only game in the area, though, when it comes to tournament ready golf courses near Tampa. A little further out near Brooksville are several terrific layouts, led by the 36-hole combination of Tom Fazio-designed courses at World Woods Golf Club. The sandy Pine Barrens Course is somewhat reminiscent of Pine Valley in New Jersey, but Rolling Oaks, the more traditional of the two golf courses there, is also beautiful and a great test. In either case, there are no homes, and the club has outstanding practice facilities, from a 360-degree range to practice holes. The courses are also ranked among the best values in the country, and you won’t find a better Tom Fazio-designed bargain in Florida.


The Brooksville area and nearby towns are, in fact, replete with championship layouts. There are a couple more great Fazio tracks at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, where the Quarry Course has a stretch of holes on the back nine as spectacular as anything in Florida.  Lake Jovita Country Club has 36 holes of championship golf designed by Kurt Sandness, which features some of the highest points in Florida. And back in Brooksville, you’ll find Pete Dye’s beautiful and, of course, testy Southern Hills Plantation.


Head south to find more great golf courses near Tampa. Located near Bradenton and Sarasota, you’ll find one of Florida’s newest layouts, Lakewood National Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer Design that’s quickly becoming one of the favorites in the area. At just under 7,200 yards from the tips, the course has some of the biggest and most interesting greens in the state combined with wide fairways blends seamlessly into the greens, offering players a number of options playing into the holes.


In the same area, you’ll also find the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, (open to members and guests of the Ritz-Carlton). The course ends with a stretch of holes called the “Lion’s Den,” deemed so difficult that players who can play it at even par or better could win a free shirt.


And finally, drive a bit north, you’ll find more great golf courses near Tampa. TPC Tampa Bay, like Innisbrook, has a championship pedigree as the former host course to a PGA Tour Champions event for 21 years. The par-71, 6,898-yard course is quintessential Florida golf with lagoons and ponds on all but a couple of holes and plenty of sand. The 472-yard par-4 ninth was considered one of the most difficult holes on the tour at the time, and the 456-yard 18th, which ends with an approach over water, is no picnic either.


With warm weather year-round and a collection of some of Florida’s best golf layouts, the Tampa Bay area has plenty of good options when it comes to finding tournament ready golf courses.


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