For as far north as the great city of Indianapolis sits, and as short as the golf season is, it’s remarkable how vibrant the golf culture is. Not only does that mean people take their golf seriously, it also means that there’s a lot of great public golf to be played.
That became more than apparent when I reached out to our readers and asked for their insight about the best public courses in this fine city.
While golf seems all too far away, it won’t be long before spring brings new life and these courses open up. For a preview of what’s on its way, let’s dive right in.
The Fort Golf Resort
The original Fort Golf Resort Course underwent a major redesign by Tom Liddy and Pete Dye in 1998. That was over 20 years ago.
Since then, this track has continued to reign supreme as the premier daily fee facility in Indianapolis. Dye’s design characteristics can be felt throughout the course. Intimidating start lines, prominent hazards, and railroad ties can be found throughout.
If you’re looking for a place to stay and play in Indianapolis, you’ve come to the right place at the Fort Golf Resort. The amenities and accommodations are nothing short of brilliant.
Winding Ridge Golf Club
Opened in 2,000, Winding Ridge has spent the last 20 years providing a first-class experience to golfers of all levels. There’s no sign of slowing down either.
The course was designed for all golfers from beginners to seasoned veterans. Winding Ridge can stretch all the way out to over 7,000 yards from the back tees. It can also play as short as 5,200 yards from the forward tees. Talk about plenty of options?
Golfers love this layout because of its variety. Short holes, long holes, easy holes, hard holes. No matter how many times you play here, you’ll never be bored.
It’s not hard to see why this course is so popular with golfers of all abilities.
Prairie View Golf Club
Prairie View Golf Club is the only course in Indiana that was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
The course sits on the banks of the White River in Hamilton County.
A traditional parkland layout, the fairways are lined by ancient oaks and majestic sycamores. If you get a chance to play this course in the fall, the contrast of changing fall leaves against the golden prairie is a sight to behold.
Known for pristine conditions and being a fair test, I’m definitely going to put Prairie View on my list.
Saddlebrook Golf Club
Situated on 152 acres, Saddlebrook Golf Club is said to be the most welcoming, inclusive golf course in the Indianapolis area. That set of values can be seen by how every staff member treats guests. Unbelievable service and accommodating beyond belief.
Concerning the course, this Bob Thompson design is the story of two different nines.
The front nine is wide open and allows you to play aggressively. If you’re going to score, do you work on the outward half.
When you get to the 10th tee, the game changes. This nine is characterized by tight, tree lined fairways that ask you to muster your very best from tee to green.
Even though Saddlebrook measures just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, it allows you to hit every club in your bag.
Most people that play this course once, can’t wait to play it again.
Smock Golf Course
Smock Golf Course is revered as one of the finest and most accessible public facilities in the entire state of Indiana.
While the layout is somewhat open, it’s prone to afternoon winds that can make keeping the ball in play a challenge.
Plentiful hazards and well-placed bunkers put a premium on ball striking.
What makes this facility stand our more than anything though, is its dedication to growing the game.
The junior program is the most inclusive and comprehensive in the area. Ample opportunities for introduction, improvement, learning, and friendly competition can be realized for a reasonable price throughout the playing season. If you have a junior that wants to learn the game, Smock Golf Course is the perfect place.
Morningstar Golf Club
Called the finest course on the eastside of Indianapolis, Morningstar Golf Club is most known for having some of the most challenging greens in Indiana. Not only are they undulating, they’re especially firm and fast during the summer. If you get around here without a three-putt, you’re definitely in the minority.
Morningstar is also touted as a great place to learn and improve your game. Longtime PGA Professional and course owner, Steven Seibel is a storied instructor in the upper Midwest. Along with ensuring a quality experience for everyone that comes to play Morningstar, his passion is teaching.
Quality golf and exceptional instruction, Morningstar has everything you need.
Hickory Stick Golf Club
In the suburb of Greenwood, you’ll find Hickory Stick Golf Club.
Designed by Tom Liddy, this course’s rolling bent grass fairways and mounded rough are unlike anything else in the area. While the fairways are a dream to play from, you’re likely to encounter some awkward lies if you miss the short stuff.
An Irish links-style layout, you’re not going to find narrow fairways lined by trees out here. Instead, native grasses allow you views of the whole course, but can be devastating to your scorecard.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary with the quality you expect, make Hickory Stick Golf Club your first choice.
Dakota Landing Golf Course
Indianapolis’ best nine-hole golf course is Dakota Landing.
This course is short but asks a lot from your game. Narrow fairways mean you have to hit it straight. Small greens dictate that your approaches have to be tidy too.
The signature hole even features an island green. You can’t say that about many courses in the upper Midwest.
A great value and the perfect spot for a casual round, locals love Dakota Landing.
South Grove Golf Course
South Grove Golf Course dates all the way back to 1902. It’s one of the oldest golf courses in Indiana.
Set in the heart of downtown, this track affords splendid views of the Indianapolis skyline.
The rolling topography on which South Grove sits means that both greens and tees are elevated. That means downhill tee shots and uphill approaches.
South Grove has played host to Spring Four-Ball since 1948. This unassuming tournament marks the beginning of the Indiana amateur tournament season. The state’s best players mark this date on their calendars every year.
A timeless gem, don’t forget about a round at South Grove.
Plum Creek Golf Club
Plum Creek Golf Club was the vision of the venerable Pete Dye.
Characteristics of this course include penal bunkers, plenty of water, and difficult greens. From the tees, the fairways look narrower than they are.
While most people think of brutal tests when the name Dye is mentioned in the same sentence as a particular course, Plum Creek is playable for everyone. Just make sure you choose the appropriate set of tees.
If working on your game is your main priority, take full advantage of the state-of-the-art practice facility. The grounds are well kept and there’s more than enough space to work on all the shots.
It’s more than apparent that Indianapolis has a lot going for it. There’s a ton to do and experience and the people are some of the nicest in the country.
Believe it or not, golf is a big deal here too. Not only are the golfers serious about this crazy game, there are plenty of quality courses to be experienced.
I would never have thought of Indianapolis as a golf destination if it weren’t for our readers. You guys continue to blow my mind with your insight and willingness to help.
If I’ve missed anything (which I’m sure I have), drop us a line in the comments below.