The Snake Pit Lurking To Strike Fear Into Valspar Competitors.

The Snake Pit!  Three words if were in medieval times conjure up thoughts of horror, torture, and death.

To golf fans, mention of the Snake Pit may also deliver horror, hurt, and pain.  The Snake Pit is the famed final three-hole stretch on the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort that this week plays host to The Valspar Championship.

The Snake Pit is among a number of three-hole combinations featuring each year on the PGA schedule.  Recently, we had the Bear Trap at PGA National and host course of the Honda Classic.

Bernie getting a real close-up look at the Copperhead snake at the 16th hole of the also named Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort.  (Where did Bernie get that belt)

Early next month those heading to the Masters will face Amen Corner at Augusta National and in May there is the Green Mile, the affectionate name for the final three holes to be found at Quail Hollow and host for the Wells Fargo Championship.  And let’s not forget the Horrible Horseshoe, and three holes featuring at The Colonial course in Texas that hosts the Crowne Plaza, though this year the event is being played at TPC Craig Ranch.

So, where does the Snake Pit rate in terms of a golfing menace?

According to the Tour, the Snake Pit is the third hardest and recenelty averaging at .596 over par with the Green Mile the hardest at around 1.01 over par and the Bear Trap at .803 over par with the Horrible Horseshoe .296 over, and Amen Corner, the 11th, 12th, and 13th at Augusta, supposedly the easiest at .167m.

While the championship course at Innisbrook is named the Copperhead Course, each hole of the Snake Pit is also named after a dangerous snakethe Mocassin is the par-4, 475-yard 16th, the Rattler is the par-3, 215-yard 17th, and finally the Copperhard, and the par-4, 445-yard 18th with menacing bunkers virtually down the entire right side of the hole.

What captures your immediate attention in arriving at the Snake Pit, and the 16th, is the sight of this enormous copperhead snake in a curled-up, ready to strike position, and very much as menacing looking as the snarling grizzly bear on its back feet that welcomes you as you arrive at the par-3 15th at PGA National.

Charles Schwartzel, the 2016 Valspar champion, spoke of the 16th at Copperhead.  “The Snake Pit is ready to jump up and bite you right there at 16”, he said.  “It’s about avoiding the water down the right, and the trees on the left, really. You can’t bailout. You hit left, and you make bogey anyway. You hit it in the water, you’re going to make probably double.”

In 2019, England’s Paul Casey successfully defended his title, and with the 16th, and the opening hole the Snake Pit played again playing the hardest of the trio.

No.16, Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)
Par-4, 475 yards
2019 average: 4.311 (Toughest)
2019 Valspar Championship: 1 eagle, 36 birdies, 250 pars, 115 bogeys, 21 doubles, 4 higher

Graeme McDowell first contested the Valspar Championship in 2016 and he took an instant liking to what he saw.

“Having played the Valspar a few times, I don’t think the Snake Pit has as much bite as say the Bear Trap”, said McDowell.

“I actually liked the golf course as the front nine is very much in front of you with big, flat greens whereas the back nine is a little quirkier and with smaller greens, so I liked the course.

“It’s a good track and really suits my eye well.  I remember when I first came here a few years back and it was on a Monday following the Honda.  I had not played it before but most of the lads out here were saying that I would really like the course and I did.

“So, pleased to be back again this year”.

And now as many of the world’s best get set to tee-up on the 22nd anniversary of the Valspar Championship, who is going to tame the Snake Pit and emerge bite free?


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