Valspar Championship, part of the PGA Tour, has arrived in the Tampa Bay area! The Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm, Harbor, FL will take center stage this week as the golf tournament gets underway. Last week as part of a sponsored blogger event, I got the pleasure of a sneak peak of the behind the scenes happenings and what it takes to make an event like this happen. It is a most impressive undertaking, with 125 tents, 1988 bleacher seats at the various holes, 11 scoreboards, and the use of 60,000 feet of rope! The organizers of the tournament have done such a fantastic job of putting together an array of activities that are great for those who are golf fans as well as those of us who aren’t die-hard fans or don’t even play golf at all!
Top 10 Reasons Non-Golfers Should Attend the Valspar Golf Championship
1. Great way to appreciate the outdoors – It wasn’t until within the last 3 years that I ever set foot on a golf course. My boyfriend was very into it and he invited me to tag along. On that first trip, I completely understood the love affair with the sport. It’s not just the physicality of trying to put a little ball in a hole. It’s the entire experience. Golf courses are simply beautiful — the grass, the trees, the sloping landscapes, the water, the animals. On a quiet morning on the course it can be one of the most serene and relaxing environments you will find.
I’ve seen cranes, alligators, otters, a family of fox, rabbits, and of course squirrels at various courses I’ve been to. I’m probably guilty of nature watching more than paying attention to the field of play. At a course like the Copperhead where the Valspar Championship is held, this is a chance to take in the beauty of one of the best golf courses in the state and arguably the country. It will be in tip-top shape for this week’s tournament. There’s a whole science to growing good grass as Bobby Barnes, Innisbrook Director of Golf shared with us. It doesn’t just happen by luck or happenstance. The effort into the grounds is most certainly paying off so get out there and appreciate all of this beautiful greenery.
2. Show off your spring fashion – It’s all about the colors ladies! When the title sponsor is known for selling a vibrant palette of paint in every color known to man, bright colors are a must. Divas this is our chance to officially usher in spring by pulling out your loudest, brightest, vivacious colors for the occasion. There will even be color scouts roaming the course to award prizes to the most colorful attendees. I was already dressed the part at the preview event! If you don’t think you have anything that is up to “par” (couldn’t resist) then you have an excuse to do a little early spring shopping.
3. Broaden your horizons and network – This blog is all about adventure and stepping out of your comfort zone. Attending a PGA Tour golf championship event is a great way to do that. If you don’t play golf, that’s perfectly ok. Let’s be honest; if golf isn’t your thing then watching a golf match on television is certainly about as boring as watching paint dry. (LOL paint dry, you see what I did there? I’m on a roll today!) The atmosphere in person is going to be very different. You may discover that you get really into it and get inspired to try out the sport.
We all know that women’s golf and the sport of golf in general could use more diversity. How will you know if this is a viable sport for you or perhaps your little ones if you don’t get the exposure?
There are so many other things to do where you can mingle and network and meet people who wouldn’t normally be in your social or professional circle. This could be a great way to expand your network. It will also give you talking points the next time you’re at your job and the golf talk starts up. Don’t forget your business cards! I know it happens to me all the time in my corporate life.
4. Wine (and other adult beverages) – If you have visited this blog long enough, then you know my love affair with wine. They had me at Beringer Wine Bar (overlooking the Putting Green). In fact there are 5,400 bottles of wine needed for the entire event. Wine not your thing? Well I promise there is an adult beverage there for your liking with 750 fifths of liquor, 50,000 bottles of beer, and 3,600 kegs on hand.
There’s also The Hooters Owl’s Nest which does require a separate ticket. I heard it’s quite the party so it may be worth a visit. (Hey Hooters! Hook a sista’ up!) Additionally there is the Frenchy’s pool area where there will be concessions for sale — yes that Frenchy’s from the beach with the amazeballs grouper sandwich – yep that’s the one.
5. Support local economy – There is so much that goes into making this event possible. There are literally thousands of jobs created from the needs of this event. There are contractors and vendors for everything from tent set up, to caterers, to electricians, to air conditioning.
6. Kid Friendly Fun – Hey moms (and dads too)! This is a great option for free family fun, especially if this happens to be during your spring break as it is for my family. Yes, free! Kids under 15 are admitted free of charge with ticketed adult. An expanded Jabil Family Fun Zone presented by Publix is located in the area near the 8th green with a 16-foot climbing wall and 9-hole putting course among other activities. It also will be the congregating spot for mascots from various area sports teams, such as the Lightning’s Thunderbug. There will be corn hole toss, arts and crafts, hula hoops, face painting and more. I think I’m more excited about this wall than the kids are. This area is available Thursday to Sunday.
Additionally there are Five Valspar COLOR SPOTS around the course designed for fans to kick back and relax while enjoying a bite to eat. Valspar COLOR EXPERIENCE 2015, located behind the 18th green, will feature lawn games plus a menu of indoor activities.
7. Band Perry in concert – Grammy Award-winning country artists The Band Perry will be in concert after play on the Osprey Driving Range. This is the first year a concert that is open to all public ticket holders will be a part of the tournament events. Everyone attending on Saturday will get free admission to the concert. If country music is your thing, then take advantage of this!
8. Great food – There are two top notch restaurants located at Innisbrook. There is the Packard’s Steak House and the Market Salamandar Grille. The food at both of these locations is excellent! At the preview we were treated to a smorgasbord of tasty food and desserts from both restaurants.
My favorites were the Kona Crusted Lamb Chops (lamb chops with a Kona coffee and cocoa crust and white truffle oil) from Packard’s and the Market Signature Burger from Market Salamandar Grille (ground chuck with a fried egg, pepper jack cheese, and bacon jam). Yes, I said bacon jam. Don’t skim over that. The bacon jam was everything! I would seriously put bacon jam on 75% of my food. It was that good. I’ve eaten alot of things, but nothing like bacon jam. When I return to Market Salamander Grille I will be requesting a side of bacon jam. I think Executive Chef Andrew Coniglio would oblige that request since we’re like BFFs now.
They will be pretty busy during the tournament so reservations are recommended. After the tournament is all said and done, remember that they are actually open to the public! You don’t have to be a member at Innisbrook in order to eat at either of the restaurants. If you don’t get the chance to experience the food when you visit for the tournament, then definitely make it a point to come back over just to have a tasty lunch or dinner.
Dessert featured key lime pie, red velvet chocolate cake, and a brand new dessert that was just unveiled last week, the s’mores cheesecake. The key lime pie was very good with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. S’mores cheesecake was the winner for me! It was creamy and rich and chocolatey. It was all kinds of yummy! I was able to take some of the cheesecake home to share with the 15 year old. He devoured it. His eyes rolled back in his head and everything. This one is hungry teenager approved!
9. Support a female entrepreneur – Many may not know that Innisbrook Resort and Golf club is owned by a woman! Sheila Johnson is the first black woman to become a billionaire and the CEO and founder of Salamander Hotel & Resorts, which acquired Innisbrook in recent years. She has built a network of golf resorts across the central part of Florida called “Grand Golf Resorts of Florida.” They go from Innisbrook near the Gulf Coast to Reunion in the Orlando area to Hammock Beach in Palm Coast along the Atlantic shores. Girl power!
For me personally this is a great way to support a woman of color who has a passion to see women have a larger voice and participation in the golf industry and to see the game and business side of golf be more inclusive of African-Americans and other minorities. Knowing that a black woman is at the helm of this property that is in the national spotlight this week makes me über proud! It makes the thought of attending an event like this a bit less intimidating for me as a black woman. So if your excuse for not going is that you think you will feel out of place or that you will be the only person that looks like you, then wipe that notion from your head! You won’t be the only one and if by chance you were, so what! You could be the face that is seen on T.V. during the national coverage of this event that reminds some little girl out there, “Hey I can do anything!” So often that fear of being the only black person or that rhetoric about “what black women don’t do” from our own communities paralyzes us and we miss out on life experiences. Ignore the hype and don’t allow our gender or our race to dictate how we have fun or live life. The only color that matters on that course this week is the green of the fairways and the putting green and the festive colors that everyone will be wearing. Shake off the fear and the preconceived notions and give this event a try.
10. Social Media strongly encouraged – I’ve heard that at some tournaments cell phones are not allowed. This is not that type of party. Valspar Shot Spots will encourage attendees to get snap happy and social; these four designated Shot Spots around the course will provide a lively backdrop for fun photos. Photos at these locations tagged with #valsparchampionship will be eligible for the chance to win prizes. They will also show up on a board with a feed delay for attendees to see. Get your selfie game ready! Remember to practice good golf etiquette. For tips for newbies visit the spectator tips on Valspar Championship’s website.
I will be in attendance Sunday for the championship round with my family. I also had the opportunity to giveaway tickets on the blog last week. Ironically the ticket winners were both women! I know I’m really looking forward to it! In my research I came across the Don’t List. It’s pretty extensive so please review this prior to attending so that you know what is and what is not allowed. There are restrictions on bags and electronic device allowance so please be advised. You can find all of the other information you need about the event on Valspar’s website.
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle!”