It’s no secret I’m all about learning new things and last month on Women’s Golf Day (June 7, #WomensGolfDay) I headed to one of the best vacation spots in Florida, Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, to learn basic techniques during a golf clinic. This Tampa Bay resort was one of hundreds of golf courses around the world commemorating the day with special events and clinics.
Here’s a confession, at forty-something-years old, my golfing experience is limited. Back in the day, as in, high school, I was a pretty good miniature golfer. In fact, I was taken out on a date which ended up being a miniature golf competition with another couple at the local Putt-Putt. Once I visited a golf driving range and although I worked at the lowest golf course in the U.S. (“At 215 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest round of golf you’ll ever play,” Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley) I never actually played the course. My most recent experience handling a golf club has been using it as an exercise wand for my rehabilitation following shoulder surgery this month. (Tip: my local Goodwill is a great resource for clubs, putters and irons.)
Innisbrook, A Splash of Color
Despite my lack of golf knowledge, especially golf lingo, I was eager to learn but was a bit intimidated on what to wear. On its Copperhead Course, Innisbrook Resort hosts the “most colorful golf tournament on Earth,” the Valspar Championship, a popular course with PGA Tour players.
A golf course on the PGA Tour? Yikes! Even though I don’t follow golf, I know the PGA is a kinda a big deal. They are a serious golf course that has regular maintenance and Ace Golf Course Netting for safety. This is a big time course! And this, to me, screams fashion emergency because there is a golf attire etiquette one is expected to follow and I’m a bit fashion-challenged. Luckily, this was a clinic and not a full game so there was some leeway in attire. I wore white capris, a black short-sleeved cooling top by Columbia Sportswear, and red leather flats by RHEA Footwear (one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever worn and now, my go-to travel shoe!)
Learning from the Golf Pros
Golf clinics are everyday occurrences at Innisbrook Resort and during this women’s only clinic, golf pros from the various resort courses shared their expertise and offered hands-on training. Importantly, they were patient and kind! During the two hours of so, I learned how to properly putt and what the heck chipping is and worked on my sorry swing under the guidance of the resort’s Director of Golf, Bobby Barnes.
“Swing the club like you’re swinging around a barrel,” he told me.
Um, yeah. Right. But guess what? I did as he said and it worked! I have to say, there’s something satisfying about whacking a little round ball and watching it flying through the air.
Another tip I learned in perfecting my putt is to lean over the golf ball and with a second golf ball, hold it next to my eye then drop it with the goal of hitting the other ball. The purpose is to train yourself about where to position your putter and body.
If you’re looking to work on your game, check out a golf clinic or, take a look at Innisbrook’s Golf Institute.
One of the Best Vacation Spots in Florida Offers More than Golf
Golfing is not your scene? No problem. Innisbrook offers more such as the Salamander Spa with various pampering treatments including massages, facials, pedicures and other salon services. The spa is the perfect sanctuary and offers a locker room, steam room and lounge to relax. If you’re bringing a special someone, try a couple’s massage in the serene couple’s treatment room.
Salamander Spa also sells pretty and perfect gifts such as hand-crafted soap in gorgeous designs. I had my eye on lovely scarves with designs from images from photographs taken by Sheila Johnson, Founder & CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. Each scarf is a vibrant, wearable masterpiece and is a clever way Ms. Johnson can incorporate her interest in photography and share it with guests.
Short on time, I was not able to enjoy the pool areas but poked my head in to see people cooling off at the Loch Ness Monster Pool. Some of the features include beach areas, 15-foot waterfall, two water slides, and grille for casual eats.
Serenity on Different Greens
Another spot where I found serenity at Innisbrook was along the nature trail which was an elevated boardwalk through a swamp. It was simply beautiful listening to the insects, frogs and birds sing while watching the rays from a setting sun beam through Spanish moss dripping from cypress trees. Walking the short trail, I felt as though I was in the middle of Florida wilderness and not miles away from Tampa Bay.
Prior to resting my tired body in a comfortable and spacious one-bedroom suite (who knew learning how to golf and being pampered in a spa would be so tiring?), I enjoyed dinner of a delicious, buttery poached salmon fillet served on a bed of green bean potato salad and topped with a divine Dijon dill yogurt sauce and grilled lemon at the Market Salamander Grill. I toasted the sunset with a sweet Riesling but before I finished my meal, I made a faux pas.
Golf Doesn’t Stop with the Setting Sun
I learned that even though the sun sets over a golf course, it does not mean you can run out there and snap a photo without consequences. I left my dinner table and ran onto the course to snap a photo of the gorgeous ball of fire then heard, “Hey lady! Get out off the course!”
Oops! Golfers were still playing through and lesson learned. Maybe. Depends on how brilliant the sunset is.
Nuts & Bolts About Innisbrook Resort
My overnight visit was brief and barely scratched the surface on what can be experienced. Non-resort guests can enjoy the Salamander Spa along with the property’s restaurants. Special events, golf clinics and other activities are offered throughout the year. Visit their Specials & Events page for what’s happening and upcoming. Tip: on the bottom of the page, register for the Innisbrook Email Club to stay up to date.
Located about 35 minutes north of Tampa International Airport, Innisbrook Resort is a fantastic Florida getaway, great for golfers of all skill levels and for those seeking serenity.
Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort
36750 U.S. Highway 19 North
Palm Harbor, Fla. 34684
Tel: (727) 942-2000
Toll-Free Reservations: 1-888-794-8627
Note: Like my red leather shoes? Visit RHEA Footwear and use code SOLOTRAVELGIRL to save 20%
Disclosure: I was a guest of Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, however, they have not reviewed this content and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links in order to support my traveling habit and this blog.