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On & Off the Course

July 19, 2008

On and Off the Course: Prairie View Golf Course is worth the drive!

TERRE HAUTE — When the price of gas makes you think about every mile you drive, I can honestly say that a recent trip to Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel was worth the trip! It is Indiana’s only Robert Trent Jones Jr. course, which is much better than a trip all the way to Alabama!

I went with my son to play a practice round with him for the Indiana Open, and I was very favorably impressed. I knew I was in for a treat when the entrance to the course was on a street called “Longest Drive.” I’m not the only one who likes it either. Prairie View was voted as the second favorite Indiana Public Golf Course by tournament participants in IGA events. (Otter Creek was first.)

Prairie View sits on 206 acres in Hamilton County. It incorporates wide fairways and large greens into rolling prairie land along with lakes, wetlands, and towering sycamores, oaks and cottonwoods. The white river serves as a border for the course on five holes. There are five lakes (one with a very tempting looking fishing boat tied up at dock) and a meandering stream that players must avoid. Wind is a constant factor on the open prairie holes, and the long prairie grass is a consistently tough hazard on every hole. There are 90 white sand bunkers strategically placed throughout, making you think twice about which direction you want to go and which club to use off the tee. Conestoga wagons and wagon wheels are dotted throughout the landscape, almost giving the impression that a wagon train passed by that way, but got caught in a sand bunker and could go no farther.

The fairways are generous, but if missed, there’s not a lot of rough before falling into the tall fescue grass. The lack of trees on the prairie view holes makes depth perception tricky, but the carts are equipped with a great GPS system that gives distances to every hazard, along with distance to front of the green, back and to the pin. It even shows how far it is to all the other carts in the vicinity, so you know if they are still in your range.

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