Hoosier Heaven

The Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick is one of golf’s hidden gems

For decades, French Lick, Indiana was primarily known as the hometown of Larry Bird. But thanks to the Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick, there will be a lot more birdies in town.

Located at the French Lick Resort, the Pete Dye Course is a hidden gem in America’s golf landscape. The picturesque course is located on one of Indiana’s highest elevation points, which make for spectacular 40-mile panoramic views. The course, which has previously played host to the Senior PGA Championship in 2015, will also host the Senior LPGA Championship this October.

When the owner of the resort wanted to build a course where the Pete Dye course now resides, it was thought the Indiana terrain was just too tough to accommodate manicured fairways. Dye returned to the resort with a topographical map sketched out on a napkin, saying he was determined to “build the course whether they want me to or not.” Golfers are glad that he did.

The elevation changes on the course are inspirational, as you play your way through Mount Airie, with amazing views of Hoosier National Forest.

The 4th hole is a challenging 196-yard Par 3, that offers a variety of entry points that will test your decision-making skills. The 9th hole, which can play as long as 657 yards, is all downhill, and will challenge you to attempt to make the green in two.

And though every hole has an amazing view attached to it, the course’s signature 18th hole may have the best scenery of them all.

While you’re in town, you may also want to try The Donald Ross Course, which is also located at the resort. Special packages are offered for hardcore golfers who want to play a round on both courses.

There are two hotels at the resort, the West Baden Spring Hotel and the French Lick Springs Hotel, which happens to be connected to a casino if you are feeling lucky. Plenty of dining options, both fine and casual, are available, including 1875: The Steakhouse, one of the resort’s elegant options.

The resort also host a KidsFest with activities for the young’uns, and a 28-room spa that plays host to mineral baths, stone massages and an indoor lap pool.

Before you leave town, be sure to take a drive by the intersection of Washington and Jefferson streets, where you can still see the backboard on Larry Joe Bird’s old garage. If nothing else, it will inspire you to sink all of your shots.

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