THE FRENCH LICK RESORT
Experience America’s Newest Award Winning Golf Destination – French Lick Resort
Situated atop the rolling hills overlooking the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana is French Lick Resort, one of America’s premier golf destinations. This historic resort is located in the small town of French Lick, where for over two centuries the Pluto Mineral Springs has attracted visitors. (It is also known as the hometown of basketball legend Larry Bird.)
The town has quickly become one of the great golf destinations in the country. Since the early 1900’s, golf has been an integral part of this resort area. Tom Bendelow designed the first course here in 1907 followed by the great Donald Ross ten years later. In 2009, however, Hall of Fame architect, Pete Dye, has designed a visually stunning masterpiece, which has quickly become one of the most highly acclaimed courses in the country.
The Pete Dye course achieved a rare double honor in the industry when the course opened in 2009, as the leading course was selected as America’s best new course by two of the leading golf publications in the country.
The first honor came by Golf Digest Magazine, which selected the new course as “America’s Best New Public Course” followed by GOLF Magazine’s selection of the course as it’s “Best New Course of the Year.” The awards were announced in the annual review of the best new courses of the year published in the January 2010 issues of each magazine.
Recently, this great modern day layout broke through and is now listed among Golf Digest’s prestigious list of America’s 100 Greatest Courses. It was one of just 18 public courses to earn the elite recognition.
“It has been a tremendous honor to be recognized by both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine over the years,” said Dave Harner, French Lick Resort’s director of golf. These rankings have been a testament to the vision of our late founder Bill Cook, Steve Ferguson, and the legendary Pete Dye who together developed arguably one of the most visually stunning courses in America solidifying French Lick Resort as one of the elite golf resort destinations in the country.”
“As we began the journey, we never imagined that the golf at French Lick would become so highly acclaimed, and recognized both regionally and nationally, in such a short timeframe,” continued Harner.
Bill Cook, the late founder of Cook Group Inc, together with Steve Ferguson, chairman of the board, acquired the historic French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs hotels in 2005 and immediately began restoring the properties including the already popular Donald Ross golf course. They brought in Pete Dye, a native of Indiana, to design and develop the next great “must play” course, which has succeeded in putting French Lick Resort on the map as one of the country’s leading golf destinations.
The Pete Dye Course is regarded as one of the most breathtaking and exciting 18 holes of golf in the country. The course was carefully carved on a dramatic hilltop offering a variety of elevation changes, rugged and dramatic terrain, narrow fairways and challenging bunkers. There are spectacular views from every hole, some that stretch for over 40 miles overlooking the Hoosier National Forest.
Pete Dye believes the course sits on one of the best sites he has ever worked on. “I have spent the past five decades designing golf courses all over the world, including courses on great coastal sites. This project brought great excitement to Alice and me because the course is on arguably the best inland site I have ever worked on.”
Acknowledging the advances in modern equipment, golf balls and player fitness, Dye designed a golf course that stretches over 8,100 yards from the professional tees. However, this new creation welcomes all levels of players. With five sets of tees, yardages begin at 5,100 yards from the forward tees. Most players will probably play from either 6,100 or 6,700 yards.
The new Dye course features many distinct design features, including stretches of holes on each nine that are vintage Dye. The front nine builds excitement from hole to hole and peaks on No. 6. Then it continues to get more visually dramatic as the outward nine finishes back up toward the clubhouse with one of the best views on the course.
The back nine offers the most dramatic stretch of holes from Nos. 11-14. This culminates with one of the course’s signature holes, No. 14. Stretching nearly 600 yards from the back tees, this par five, with a split fairway, escalates from tee to green over a massive grass hollow that will intimidate even the elite players.
The Pete Dye Course is already on the national radar, having hosting the 2010 PGA of America’s Professionals National Championship, the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Championships in 2012, 2013, 2014, Indiana Open in 2012, and will be hosting the LPGA Legends Championships in 2013.
Complementing the new Pete Dye course at French Lick Resort is the historic Donald Ross course, which underwent a $4.6 million restoration project that has brought the course back to Ross’s original plans. The Ross course brings a rich history to the French Lick Resort. The course was site of the 1924 PGA Championship won by the legendary Walter Hagen and hosted other golf greats and celebrities such as Gene Sarazen, Chick Evans, and Bing Crosby.
The Ross course is a parkland gem, which meanders up and down the rolling hills a few miles from the main resort. The wonderful routing of the holes take full advantage of the many elevation points for classic Ross green sites, which are sloped heavily from back to front. It is one of only two public Ross courses in the state of Indiana and considered one of his more challenging designs.
French Lick is now the only resort in the world that combines the classic history of Donald Ross and the modern day design of the legendary Pete Dye. This combination is a spectacular opportunity for golfers to experience two of the best designers who ever shaped beautiful landscapes into golf courses. Visit www.frenchlick.com