Rondé Barber talks about the exciting new things coming to Valspar in 2024

The Valspar Championship, marketed as “The Most Colorful PGA TOUR Tournament in the World,” is scheduled to take place March 18 to March 24, at Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort, in Palm Harbor. 

Each year, the nationally televised golf tournament draws some of the best golfers in the world. It also provides a week-long roster of non-golf-related events and has raised millions for charity, over the years. 

Ronde Barber

Once again, according to Rondé Barber, the Valspar Championship is trying to raise the bar to elevate the entire experience, for all patrons, not just fans of the sport. 

Barber, the co-general chair of the Valspar Championship, a Ring of Honor legend cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, joined the Copperheads, the organizing charity of the Valspar Championship, shortly after his retirement and has been a member of the Board of Directors, since 2018. 

He says upping the guest experience at the tournament every year is of the utmost importance. 

“We’re watching professional golf, but there’s also a good section of our fans who don’t care about golf and we just want them to come out there and have a good time,” says Barber. “And that’s part of the impetus for the way that we run the event, instead of making it just golf. We make it about everything with the Florida Blue Family Fun Zone and the Saturday concert presented by Chick-fil-A, this year, with a performance by country music star Cole Swindell, which is one of the biggest draws and all the new hospitality that we’re trying to create.”  

Barber added, “We encourage fans to come to the tournament dressed colorfully so our Valspar COLOR SCOUTS can find them and give them prizes. Our title sponsor also has tiny homes and fun ways to promote their 2024 Color of the Year. And we have numerous fun seating and viewing options for our fans.” 

One of the new offerings, in 2024, is the addition of double-decker skyboxes. On the 18th hole, there will be suites on the first and second floors. 

The DEX Imaging Deck, with a mid-level hospitality price point, will move over to the 11th hole, before you reach the Hooters Owl’s Nest. 

The most-premium new addition to the layout, in 2024, will be the Copperhead Club presented by Lexus. Innisbrook Resort gutted and renovated the old restaurant, Packard’s Steakhouse, and completely revamped it to be part of an ultra-luxe, two-day ticket. It will be the priciest and most VIP ticket available. 

Copperhead Club

The Copperhead Club will have top-end food and beverage offerings, valet parking, cigars, bourbon tastings, jewelry and sunglass cleanings, gifting and other premium experiences.  The ticket also includes access to hospitality on the 18th green. 

“I think you have to take the approach of, if you build it, they will come,” Barber says. “Golf is somewhat of a niche sport. If you’re only targeting people who actually want to come watch golf, you’re only targeting a small portion of our community.” 

It’s a major sporting event and it’s a fun week for those who look forward to the number of events each year, but the biggest thing to remember is the charitable aspect of it all.

“From a board perspective, and from all of our Copperheads, our only goal is to put charity dollars back into our community,” Barber says. 

Copperhead Charities has now put over $50 million into Tampa Bay area charities, since its inception, and has an annual economic impact of over $75 million.

“That’s huge for us. It’s one of the things we take the most pride in,” Barber says. 

The next big milestone for Copperhead Charities will be when they hit the $60 million charity impact number — and Barber says that this number will be because of the support the charity receives from businesses and the community. 

“Yes, you’re consuming a sport. You’re consuming golf, but the reality is none of this works without our partners and our sponsors,” Barber says. “We try to make people realize what kind of impact this [event] has for Palm Harbor and the Tampa Bay area.” 

The tournament week launches with the Publix Copperhead 5K run-walk, which is held on the tournament’s Copperhead Course, at Innisbrook Resort. Participants will run, or walk, the cart paths of the championship course, through the Snake Pit and finish at the 17th green. Runners and walkers of all skill levels, can participate on this scenic race route, the same challenge PGA TOUR players will take on later in the week. All proceeds from the Publix Copperhead 5K will benefit Copperhead Charities.

Interested community members may also volunteer at the tournament. Over 2,000 folks are needed to help conduct the event.

For tickets to volunteer and to find other information, visit ValsparChampionship.com.

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