Veteran golf course designer Larry Packard, best known for Copperhead at Innisbrook Resort, passes on at age 101
Golf course designer Larry Packard has passed away at the enviable age of 101. Best known for designing the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, a longtime PGA Tour stop, Packard was also responsible for the other two courses at this much-loved Tampa institution, and more than 600 other golf courses both within and well outside the U.S. (Here is a list of courses he designed.)
“We are saddened to lose a titan of the golf industry and a cornerstone of the Innisbrook community,” said Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, whose holdings include Innisbrook. “Larry was a truly wonderful and exceptionally accomplished person.”
While this correspondent never had the pleasure of meeting Packard, I recently enjoyed his handiwork – a visit to the well regarded Copperhead less than two months ago introduced me to his oeuvre. We were both born in western Massachusetts, then headed to greener (not to mention warmer) pastures in hopes of finding footing in the golf business. Despite my moniker of “Vagabond Golfer,” Packard, a former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, put me to shame. He designed courses in Egypt, Japan, China, South Korea, Guatemala and Costa Rica, among other far-flung locales.
On the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2012, held at the Innisbrook restaurant that bears his name, Packard had words of advice for those who asked about his longevity: “It’s all about what you eat and what you put into your body. No salt, don’t eat a lot of butter and fats. You also have to be happy, and make sure you like what you do every day.”
He obviously liked what he did, and tens of thousands of golf-oriented visitors to Innisbrook Resort, among the hundreds of other places he made his mark, liked what he did, too.
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