News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

August 2, 2008

On and Off the Course: French Lick will have two world class courses

A couple of years ago I wrote a column about the changes that were going on at the French Lick Springs Resort. My husband and I finally got a chance to go back there, so I can report first-hand on the changes.

My overall impression is, “Wow! What a difference a half a billion dollars makes!”

That’s for the whole complex, including the West Baden Springs Hotel, which used about $200 million of that.

When we first arrived in French Lick we were too early to check in so we visited the West Baden hotel. I had been in it in the past when it was a dilapidated hunk of concrete and tiles.

After West Baden, we met with Dave Harner, Director of Golf, who took us for a drive up to see the work in progress at the new Pete Dye Course.

This course is going to be unbelievably beautiful while being very nasty and mean at the same time. The site is on a hill behind the resorts magnificently appointed with an historic mansion, built in the 1920s by the son of Thomas Taggart, the entrepreneur behind the French Lick Resort.

It will be used as an inn for high rollers and VIPs. The view from the mansion is spectacular, being on the second-highest point in Indiana. The building that was at one time the carriage house and servants quarters will be used as the pro shop.

The course will be one of Pete Dye’s best — or at least most feared — and friends of his have told me that he thinks it is his best. It will be over 8,000 yards from the back tees, with narrow fairways and small greens. If you miss the fairway, you’re not just in the rough, you’re down a steep slope or in a lake.

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