5 Things You Need to Know: Valspar Championship

With the PGA Tour swinging over to the Gulf Coast side of Florida this week for the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., a few of the big names are taking the week off. But plenty high-profile guys are working this week, such as two of last year’s majors winners, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner.

Here are five things you need to know about the Valspar Championship and the surrounding area:

The Snake Pit will be a factor
Many courses like to design the final three holes as some of the track’s toughest, which creates more drama down the stretch for those vying to win. On Innisbrook’s Copperhead course, players are presented with the “Snake Pit.” At No. 16 is a 475-yard par 4 that doglegs right around a lake; it’s ranked as the course’s toughest hole each of the past four years. The 17th hole is a 215-yard par 3 that ranked as the fourth-toughest in 2013, when it yielded the fewest birdies. And the Copperhead course concludes with a 445-yard par 4 that ranked as the third-toughest hole last year.

Copperhead 600

Fly an F-16 or drive a race car
Most men, and some women, have always wanted to fly a jet. That’s a dream that often goes unrealized, but if you’re in the Palm Harbor/Tampa Bay/Clearwater area, it can sort of become a reality. Visit the Sim Center in Clearwater (15 minutes from Palm Harbor) and hop into one of five simulators: an F-16, an F-35 fighter jet, a Boeing 737 jetliner, a R-22 helicopter, or a Formula 1 race car. Bring a friend and reserve spots in the fighter jet simulators, which are linked so a team of two can complete a mission together.

Sim Center 600

Catch a pro baseball game
Also in Clearwater, the Philadelphia Phillies conduct their spring training at Bright House Field through the end of the March. Over in Dunedin (also 15 minutes away) are the Toronto Blue Jays, who play at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Tickets for any of these games range from $14-$30. Or if you want to jump on the New York Yankees’ bandwagon, they play in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field (30 minutes away).

Phillie spring training 600

Visit some seafood specialists
Right in Palm Harbor just minutes away from Innisbrook is the Mystic Fish Seafood Grill & Bar, the town’s No. 1 restaurant on both TripAdvisor.com and Yelp.com. There’s plenty to be had for the non-seafood lover in your life, but if you’re coming to visit seafood specialists, you ought to try some seafood. Get crazy with the Grilled Octopus, stay safe with the Lobster Squared, or go all out with the Bronzed Chilean Sea Bass.

Mystic Fish Seafood Grill & Bar

Visit a tiki bar
If you’re in Florida, you’ve got to visit a beach, and you’re not going to find a much more picturesque one than Clearwater Beach. While you’re there, treat yourself to some drinks at Shepard’s Tiki Beach Bar & Grill. Enjoy the view, enjoy the weather and enjoy a daiquiri while taking in the live music.

Tiki Bar

Related Link: Golfstradamaus on Valspar Championship

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