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On & Off the Course

July 7, 2007

On and Off the Course: A devilishly good course In Indiana

I can honestly say now that I’ve been to Purgatory and back, and it wasn’t as bad as, well, you know, that other place. In case you’re wondering, the Purgatory I’m referring to is the golf course of that name in Noblesville.

Purgatory is one of the most honored golf courses in Indiana. Not only has it been named the one of Golf Digest Magazine’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, it has also been named by Golf For Women Magazine as one of the Top 50 Courses for Women in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and still hanging in there in 2007 as 46th on the list. Golf For Women also ranks it as the Best Value under the category of “Best of the Best”, because it costs only $60 with a cart. Golf Week Magazine has ranked it No. 1 in the state, and Great Lakes Golf Magazine has it on its list of Top 25 courses in the Midwest.

What can be so great about a course with such an intimidating name? Well, first of all, at its full length of 7,700 yards, it’s the longest course in Indiana, but with seven sets of tees it can also play only 4,400 yards, one of the shortest courses in the state. It used to be the longest course east of the Mississippi, but has since been beaten out by a couple of courses on the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama.

So why did someone decide to name such a heavenly golf course “Purgatory”? According to their Web site, “Purgatory was referred to as ‘sweet misery’ in medieval poetry. Golfing often feels like that; acts of difficulty while obtaining something wonderful.” They decided to name the course Purgatory because it is a place for golfers to test their limits. In religious mythology, Purgatory is the place where souls pay for their earthly mistakes so they can gain entry into heaven. That’s why the logo on all the flagsticks has a golf ball sitting atop a tee that is a trident with a halo floating over it.

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