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


There are three man-made lakes on the course, with pumps to make a waterfall, making for a gorgeous but intimidating hazard. Another feature of the course is sandstone boulders. Dye used stones dug up from the site to build tee boxes and reinforced areas. He did not use any railroad ties on this course. His new trick is the “volcanoes” that he has placed inside of waste bunkers. They are mounds topped with sand traps. They don’t really come into play on the course, unless you hit a horrible shot, but they are intimidating to see and would not be much fun to have to play out of.

The Pete Dye Course at French Lick is scheduled to open in May 2009. It, like Pebble Beach, will be more of a course that you just have to play once, because the greens fees will be $250, plus a tip for the mandatory caddie for your group.

After spending the night in a very comfortable and beautifully appointed room in The French Lick Springs Resort, following a fantastic meal at the 1875 Steakhouse, Andy and I got to play some golf at the course formerly known as The Hill Course. It was revamped and rejuvenated for about $5 million, going back to the original Donald Ross drawings to get it right.

They restored 35 bunkers to the course, all featuring the Ross flat bottoms and deep faces. All of the greens were restored to their original shape, which was either rectangular or square. They made the eighth green less severely sloped, making a better hole.

The carts are equipped with GPS, which is very helpful, but doesn’t quite let you off the hook. With all of the hills and valleys, you have to do your own addition of yardage when faced with an elevated shot. The course plays to 7,000 yards from the back tees, 5,400 yards from the forward tees, but the elevation changes make it seem much longer.

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    March 12, 2010