Purgatory is one of my favorites in the Indy area. I’ll warn you that the greens can be brutally rock hard in the summer months (especially if you’re hitting long irons into the greens). A couple holes have given me some of my worst memories in the State Open and USGA qualifiers, but it still keeps me coming back at least once a year for more.
I think that only makes me want to make it my home course more. A challenging course that has variability in what makes it challenging? Sign me up. Let’s just hope for width & angles and the course being down with brown (I ran out of other GCA buzzwords).
Hoosier NLUers… work has me in South Bend and Evansville a decent amount of times a year. Last year I played Warren at ND a couple of times. Looking for some other recs in SB. Also is the 9 holer at Culver at all accessible? As far as Evansville, open to any and all suggestions. Thanks in advanced
I’ll let @ericrbens take the South Bend suggestions as he is the NLU regional expert.
I tried to get on at Culver when I was up in the area (honestly an email probably isn’t the correct way to go about it in hindsight) and was informed that it was reserved for students and staff. I’m sure if you make a compelling case over the phone and they have an open tee sheet they may let you on.
I’m in South Bend and play Warren quite a bit. The other good public option is Blackthorn which is by the airport. I go back and forth as to which of the two I like more. Also, if you can get access, South Bend CC is really good. I think they’re on Box Groove or one of the other sites like that.
For Culver, it’s technically private, but if you call/email the school and ask, they’ll likely let you on. I called whatever number was listed on their website, mentioned that I was interested in golden age architecture, and they were more than happy to let me play one Saturday last summer. They didn’t charge me anything which was nice too. Availability depends on whether they’re hosting a HS tournament or the teams are practicing, but you should be able to make something work in the summer.
There are courses that are good to play a few times a year and then there are courses to play each week as your home course. Purgatory in my mind is one to play a handful of times each year. It’s a fine course and certainly challenging enough but I just believe the course isn’t that interesting and and is only enjoyable if if your game is on. Playing there each week would get a little monotonous and for me rounds would become a death march by July.
Interesting take. I can see how that would be the case. Where should I go in the Noblesville area for a “home” course then? I grew up around the area. Stonycreek is a fun family oriented type of place, but with losing their greens I’m not sure what the quality of golf will be in the upcoming year. Pebble brook is accessible, but I can’t bring myself to play the South course (as I’ve made my opinion known here), so I’d be kept to the second 18 there.
That’s a tough question and one I probably should have given more consideration before posting my earlier comment. I’m not certain what your looking for and Noblesville is tough as there are some really solid courses near by but they are mostly private (Sagamore, Bridgewater Club, Chatham Hills). On that north end of town my preference would be to play the majority of my golf either at Bear Slide in Cicero, or drive a little south to Prairie View or Plum Creek in Carmel. I just struggle with Purgatory. My personal feeling about the course is that it’s overrated. The course feels very manufactured and it was built with the sole purpose of being difficult with an over abundance of bunkers. Of the 18 holes out there I maybe really only enjoy playing 3 or 4 holes (#8, #11, #18). Conversely, I know there are several holes that I just don’t like (#2, #4, #6, #9, #13, #16). The holes I haven’t mentioned don’t fall in either category. I do recognize though that it is well maintained with a good practice facility and if it’s nearby and fits in your budget then that probably matters more than anything I’ve pointed out that’s a negative.
I’ll second Warren and Blackthorn, though I’m much more biased towards Warren. (Probably because playing a Coore & Crenshaw for a student rate way over indexes)
If you’re in a pinch for time, go check out Burke at Notre Dame. It’s a fun little nine with much better views of campus.
Last two I would add are reaches in terms of distance from South Bend and access. Lost Dunes up in Bridgman is great (and a Doak) plus Dunes Club is in New Buffalo. (Never played, but it’s a Keiser property).
Sagamore is a bit more than I’m interested in paying for sure. the CEO at my company is a bridgewater member, but I also work with a guy that was an assistant pro there and he didn’t seem to be overly impressed with the course. Bear Slide was a course I didn’t even think about, definitely need to give that one a go. I really like Plum Creek as well. Both very solid suggestions.
Non Indy resident but I recently played most the public tracks in the northern metro area and came away with some pretty different thoughts on each course:
Bear Slide - front 9 is great in my opinion. The questions each hole asked got a little repetitive, but I enjoyed it. The back 9 get’s a little cramped in there, and in my opinion the last 4 holes ruin the experience winding through very narrow trees and forcing target golf after you just played a very different feel of golf for 14 holes. However the stretch of 12/13/14 was pure for me
Prairie View - I played in very strong winds which made me abandon any game you thought you had to just survive the course. Great hole designs but punishing if you’re out of position. If the wind is down I can see it being a really fun round, but weather conditions really limit what you can do. Nothing against the course, it’s just so exposed. I also got a weird treatment there. Front 9 was open in front of me so I asked if I could just go off a little early and start zooming. I was walking and was going to be quick but they made me wait for 4 fourballs of members who were playing a scramble money game…and I never got the invite to play through despite meeting them on every tee.
Purgatory - I loved it. I found that the design and the holes ask you to do something very specific to put you in position. Driving the golf ball is intimidating there with all the visual trouble, but the fairways are super wide. R/L sides of holes did impact angles in at some point which was great, and though the greens were rock hard and firm, bouncing balls in from 10-15 yds short of the cup was a ton of fun. Probably one of the ‘woker’ experiences I’ve seen on a public course! The short holes were a little silly, especialyl 12 and 17, but overall I loved that course above the other 2. Didn’t use the range but the turf looks real nice.
I grew up in Sheridan and that was home for the first 21 years of my life, until I went to law school at Texas and have lived in Austin for the last 28. Family belonged to Harbour Trees growing up, and my high school played at Fox Prairie. It’s amazing the number of courses that have been built in Hamilton County since I moved. Go back occasionally, but have only played Purgatory and Bear Slide since then. Is Fox Prairie any good? I think they re-did it and added 9 new holes some time ago. Always enjoyed it in high school, but I have no idea what it is like anymore.
Heartland Crossing now has new ownership and can only get better, from what I’ve heard…
I managed to play Purgatory for like $15 per person from GolfNow. Was a classic warm-weather October or November day and was priced for the season.
If you can play during the week, Topgolf is $15 for unlimited play 9 am - noon.
I’m actually not sure. If I’ve played it, it’s been 10+ years ago. All of the reviews seem to be pretty consistent (4 star range) which is promising. They also look like they do a $175 mens league that’s 10 events or so. Decent deal to play with good company, and if the company isn’t worth the cost then I wouldn’t feel bad losing it.
Sounds like a great deal. Now that it’s one of the closest courses to my house I’m sure I’ll be out there alot. Seems like Noblesville is pretty ripe with available/affordable golf.
Played out here a ton summer of 2013. Honestly not sure what happened since but it looks like its fallen into some pretty tough times. Will be interested to see if new ownership is able to do something with it.
If you figure out how to get on Dunes Club, let me know…
I played Fox Prairie this past summer. Was pretty much your typical Indy-area public golf course. If I remember correctly it was a little bit nicer than some of the others, which was reflected by the rate being a little bit pricier. Where I enjoyed my round was in the 27 holes the course had to offer. I showed up without a tee time on a weekday around noon and worked with the starter to move around the nines to avoid the old ladies group that was out there. Nothing particularly special about many of the holes I played, but like I said, pretty much your standard Indy-area public course.
Just booked a trip for early August at Swan Lake.
Good to see an NLUer have a good experience there.
Cool! Outside of French Lick I think this is probably the best “resort” experience that you’ll get in the state. I thought the service was good. The golf course likely won’t blow you away. Not a ton of elevation change or anything like that, but they keep pace of play up and if you want to you can play a ton of golf. They keep the place in pretty good shape as well.