By Jennifer Myers
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.
Phillip’s favorite use of the GPS system though was the ability to order lunch from the eighth tee! When you get past the seventh hole, the GPS system asks if you want to place an order for the turn. If you do, a menu is displayed, you place your order, and it is ready when you stop by the clubhouse at the turn. Phillip highly recommends the hamburgers! Great Lakes Magazine ranked them as the second-best hamburgers in the Midwest, so he’s not the only one who likes them.
I enjoyed having nice wide fairways to aim at, but my favorite part of the course was the greens. They were large and undulating, but rolled very true. They were in great shape, especially for a daily fee facility. You wanted to make sure you landed on the same tier as the pin though, or you had a very long putt!
Daily Greens Fees at Prairie View, including cart, are $90. A “re-run” green fee of $35 would apply if you had time for a second round. Twilight greens fees, which begin at 4 p.m., are $55. Call toll free at 1-88-TO-GO-GOLF to make a tee time.
Another aspect of the Prairie View experience is its’ Golf Training Academy where they combine fitness, instruction, and club fitting to help players maximize their full potential. You can schedule individual or group lessons, hone in on your short game, your woods, your putting, or whatever is needed. They have eight heated bays for winter instruction, along with an indoor putting green and fitness center. Call ahead to make reservations. You could also visit for any one part of the academy. Just call (317) 816-3111 for reservations.
Prairie View hosts many tournaments and special events throughout the summer. Three times a year they hold a “horserace”, where qualifying is held on a Saturday morning. Then at 3:30 p.m. sharp it’s “post time”. All 18 qualifiers, in two-man teams, tee off on from the first tee. Teams are eliminated on each hole until a winner is crowned on the 9th hole. An individual “horserace” will be held on Aug. 16, the fall “horserace” will be sometime in October.
For more pictures and information about Prairie View, visit its Web site at www.prairieviewgc.com
I I I
Quote of the Day — “I’m hitting the woods just great, but I’m having a terrible time getting out of them.” – Harry Tofcano
I I I
Upcoming Events: The Terre Haute Women’s Golf Association will host its 69th Annual Ladies City Match Play Tournament from July 25-28 at Rea Park. Cost is $40. Deadline for entry is Tuesday. New this year is the event is now open to golfers outside of Vigo County. High school and collegiate golfers are welcome and encouraged to play. Entry forms are available at area pro shops or online at www.terre