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Jul 02, 2013 by Alan Hinds
Most of us are familiar playing parkland courses but Noblesville's Purgatory Golf Club offers the most distinctive links golf in the county; some say the state as well. Adding to the mystical tone of the course is that all holes are named. From the Impenetrable Fortress to Hell's Half Acre, all intrigue and captivate the golfer's attention.
Prevailing breezes, absence of trees, knobby firm fairways, native grasses, extensive bunkering and undulating greens are the work of my playing partner and course architect Ron Kern (see purple shirt).
With six sets of tees and several combination scorecards, the course is playable for everyone. It has a national ranking as one of the best courses for women and a length risk-reward challenge on every hole that also can make it one of the toughest for men. Try to find a course that has both!
The centerpoint is an expansive mountain lodge clubhouse that seems cut from the Rockies. For more information on this award winning course, go to PurgatoryGolf.com.
A full service pro shop is led by the personable Jon Stutz who heads up a superbly proficient team of golf instructors. The many programs of the course make for an active destination point for both local and out of town golfers. Course superintendent James Brown, GCSAA, must be the hardest working man in golf business caring for a golf course of 218 acres with lush green (yes, generous) fairways flanked by waving dormant, tan fescue grasses. The look is visually appealing and challenging all in one.
All the Par 3's are set to shoot in different directions. Even though the 17th, with a sea of bunkers is the most photographed, it is the 12th ,with a fanlike spread of tee boxes, that is uniquely designed to contest all approach shots.
The Par 4's are the holes with the muscle to test the golfer. They are designed as two shot holes but patrons say you can "get there in three." The most notable is the back nine stretch of the 14th, 15th, and 16th. In terrain and routing, each is artfully different but all provide a golfer's perpetual conflict...conservative strategy or risk/reward.
On the front side, the course starts early says Kern. The do-or die Par 4, 2nd over water tests both strategy and execution. For example, golfers can choose their tough shot off the tee or make it on their approach?
Patience and good shot planning make the Par 5's receptive to birdies and pars. The wishbone shaped fairway of the 18th is the most interesting. It offers distance, position, fade and draw options off the last tee. The mental side of golf that distinguishes Purgatory endures to the end.
There is no finer 19th Hole than the warm ambiance of the bar called the "Confessional" staffed by the friendly team of Abbi, Brittany, Teress and Mandy. Golfers end their day readily admitting that time spent in Purgatory is well rewarded.
May 22, 2013 by Alan Hinds
The scorecard of Fishers' River Glen Country Club notes its reputation as "Nature's Golf Course." It's not hard to see why it earns this accolade as it runs adjacent to the White River in an arboretum-like setting. As such, golfers share the fairways with many woodland critters that hop, creep, crawl, dash or fly across the course much like the variety of golf shots I hit on a recent visit.
With its origins dating back to 1940, today's River Glen routes a well-conditioned 18 hole, Par 71 course with four sets of tees starting at 5,106 yards and extending to 6,847 yards. Head professional Scott Casey runs a well-stocked golf shop and directs a variety of golf programs popular with all ages and genders. Course superintendent Dan Kaar broke the code on enjoyable golf with his cutting the rough to a ball-finding length. Yes, it is an off the fairway length but with none of the frustration and fatigue of searching and searching.
Greens are large, elevated, contoured back to front and set to be 10 on the stimpmeter. They are smooth, consistent and once the speed of the greens is felt, putts tend to go where pointed and good reads are rewarded. As with a parkland course, it has many trees, but in most respects these border fair, generous fairways. Trees and shrubs, more often than not, tend to guide rather than grimace the golfer. As an added bonus, they also colorfully paint the seasons at River Glen.
The gentle dogleg turns of the fairways sparks a player's interest on the tee and all the way to the cup. Seven holes draw to the left and seven fade to the right. You might say it is a balanced routing no matter how you slice it. Ponds border several holes and a meandering creek must be crossed at various times but one has to work hard to put a ball in the White River.
Casey tags the par 4, 4th with a tee shot strategy to an elevated green in a grove of trees as a front-side signature hole. He also contends the 9th, a par 4, as being one of the county's top sneaky tough doglegs. The back nine's par 3 14th, aptly nicknamed Swan Island, starts a stretch of holes that require thoughtful tee placements and approach shots over hazards.
My favorite is the 15th, a sweeping dogleg right par 5 to a crest of a hill that curls down to a benign looking stream and bunker protecting one of the original greens. After our side by side layups, my playing partner Joe Rhodes and I placed a friendly closest-to-the pin wager on our 66 yard pitch shots to the green. Thirty minutes later, I was buying the drinks at the club's Red Tail Tavern served by its gracious hostess, Bernadette.
All in all, I finished with one nine under 40 and the other over and was consistently engaged on all 18 holes with both the beauty and subtle challenge of the course. If you like the natural setting of a parkland course, River Glen County Club is sure to be a pleasant choice for you and other nature lovers.
"Now on the first tee: Audubon, Perkins, Hanna and Gibbons."
May 14, 2013 by Alan Hinds
Hamilton County has a love affair with golf. You cannot drive across this golf enthusiastic county without seeing a flag stick somewhere along the way. And our local golfers are willing to share the tee box! It is easily done with 14 public access and seven private courses that distinguish our county. Midwesterners from all over take advantage of our area's golfing hospitality. The Hamilton County Visitors Bureau describes it well. It is called Stay and Play...and so many golfers do.
Special rates for lodging and golf are provided to visitors and your tee times are automatically set up by area hotels. Warm accommodations, variety of area restaurants, noteworthy courses, and collegial pro shops all make for or wonderful golf get-a-way. Courses like Noblesville's Purgatory Golf Club, ranked among America's top courses for women; Carmel's upscale Prairie View Golf Club and Plum Creek Golf Club; Westfield's Wood Wind Golf Club; Cicero's Bear Slide Golf Club; and River Glen Country Club in Fishers are often packed together for a golfing destination. Nearby Indy courses such as the Fort Golf Resort and Brickyard Crossing can also be added in the packages. You have as many choices as the clubs in your bag. Check our golf directory at IndianasPremierGolf.com.
Our terrific courses did not just happen. It was by design! Architects such as Robert Trent Jones Jr., Pete Dye, William Diddle, Jack Nicklaus, Dean Refram, Arthur Hills, Gary and Ron Kern, William Newcomb and the legendary Tom Bendalow have all put their signatures on county layouts. You will find our courses highly rated in such publications as Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, Great Lakes Golf, and Golfweek. It is no surprise our county has become a destination point for golfers everywhere. In Hamilton County, when you can combine golf with just about any other attraction in our eight great towns, you see why our golf Stay and Play is also called the Perfect Parley.
You're more than welcome to join us on the first tee.
May 02, 2013 by Kevin Bowen
The Pete Dye designed golf course on the other side of Carmel, might not hold the prestige of Crooked Stick Golf Club but don't let that fool you. Plum Creek Golf Club is a championship level 18-hole semi-private golf coursed located just east of Hazel Dell Parkway and off of 126th street. Plum Creek is also apart of the Pete Dye Golf Trail.
Along with having one of the premier golf courses in central Indiana, Plum Creek also includes a renovated banquet room, an upscale snack/bar area, chipping and putting greens, a 300-yard long drive range, and pool/tennis facilities. The golf course is just over 6,900 yards from the back tees with demanding par threes and par fives that aren't overly long, with trouble surrounding them. Tee complexes range from 6,900 yards to 5,200 yards (the scorecard even includes a combination of gold and blue tees called the ‘member') and a wide range of ages call Plum Creek home.
Holes 1 and 9 (pictured above), along with the entire back nine, are played south of 126th street, where the clubhouse and practice facilities are located. The rest of the course is played just north of 126th street. The front nine has a little less character than the back, with holes mainly running parallel to each other and houses flanking holes 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8. Two sub 300-yard par fours on the front nine help distinguish the easier front side. Both par threes on the front nine have creeks to the left side of the green and the signature hole on the front is No. 4, with the same water hazard bisecting the fairway in two.
New ownership has made some interesting changes to the entire complex. A new back tee has been built at the long par three ninth hole. With the new tee, the hole can be stretched to up to 239 yards with a creek down the left side. The back nine remains pretty much the same as before with a new back tee built on the 13th hole, making that hole play up to 430 yards from the back tee box.
I love the added trees down the left side of the 13th fairway and management has added about 30 trees around the entire golf course in the past few months. In my opinion, the final four holes at Plum Creek are among the best set of closing holes in central Indiana. All four finishing holes have hazards that come into play with a risk/reward dynamic that creates great drama for all types of golfers down the stretch!
Jan 15, 2013 by Hamilton County CVB
It may be chilly now, but you could already be dreaming of hitting the links in Hamilton County and we know how you feel. With the lingering golf buzz still left from hosting the 2012 BMW Championship, and then having that event named the PGA tournament of the year, it's no wonder that we can't get enough golf! The great news is that we have plenty more golf news to share and ways for you to begin planning your Hamilton County golf trip for later this year.
Hamilton County will be represented at many upcoming golf shows throughout the Midwest. Stop by our booths to chat with golf experts, pick up some materials to help plan your trips, and enter to win various golf packages! Look for our booth this weekend at the St. Louis Golf Expo in the St. Charles Convention Center. Other upcoming shows include: the Grand Rapids Golf Show, Chicago Golf Show, and the Michigan Golf Show in Novi.
If you're already planning your trip and looking for top courses to play in Indiana, Hamilton County is the place to visit. In Golf Digest's February issue, 7 of the 15 courses named the best courses in Indiana are located or partnered with Hamilton County! Crooked Stick Golf Club, Prairie View Golf Club, Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, Woodland Country Club, The Sagamore Club, The Fort Golf Course, and Purgatory Golf Club all made the list. Crooked Stick also won the distinction of being on the list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
If you really can't wait until spring to tee off, check out the indoor practice facilities at Prairie View Golf Club and Golf 365. To plan your stay and play trip to Hamilton County, our golf page is a great resource for hotel and course packages and deals!
Oct 18, 2012 by Hamilton County CVB
Admire fall leaves, get spooked, enjoy pies and cupcakes and more this weekend here in Hamilton County! Read on for ideas to fill your weekend with fall fun and for even more ideas, check our full online calendar.
1. Whether you plan to paint, carve or chuck your pumpkins this year, it's time to get them! Get the full pumpkin patch experience and more at the Stonycreek Farms Pumpkin Harvest Festival that happens until the end of October. There you can pick pumpkins, ride a zip line and more! Another great option is the Pumpkin Train where you can ride the rails to the pumpkin patch.
2. Do you love cupcakes? Don't miss the sugary fun with Gigi's Cupcakes this Saturday! Founder Gigi Butler will be making appearances at the Fishers cupcake shop and later at Witten Park for a free concert. Plenty of cupcakes will be given away too!
3. Indiana's fall leaves are at their peak so go explore the fall colors in Hamilton County! Great leaf admiring spots include Ritchey Woods, Cool Creek Park, and Strawtown Koteewi Park. If you'd prefer a view from the water, paddle down White River in a canoe from White River Canoe Company.
4. Visit Conner Prairie to encounter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow's most famous character- the Headless Horseman. This year each weekend of spooky fun includes extra programs in addition to the haunted hayride as well. Enjoy everything from pumpkin bowling to s'mores making!
5. Love history AND want to get spooked? Hamilton County is just the destination for you! Among other spooky things to partake in this October, ghost walks are arguably the most popular and provide a dose of history too. Be sure to reserve your spot on an upcoming tour, because they're going fast!
6. It's time to decorate for fall if you haven't already! Cozy up your home with trinkets, candles and more from local gift shops, boutiques and antique stores. Explore our shopping page to plan your perfect shopping getaway.
7. Take advantage of the last few mild days of fall to play a round or two at a pristine Hamilton County golf course. Visit the Pete Dye designed Plum Creek, challenge yourself at the cleverly-named Purgatory Golf Club, or select another from the impressive list of courses in the county.
8. Enjoy all the lip smacking goodness that comes along with the changing of the leaves! Head north to Atlanta, Indiana to discover Lisa's Pie Shop and their array of award-winning pies. From pumpkin to caramel apple, this shop has it all! While you're there, donate to help send Lisa's famous Pie in a Jar to soldiers overseas.
Aug 28, 2012 by Hamilton County CVB
The 2012 BMW Golf Championship is at Crooked Stick, September 3-9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. Golf fans will have exciting moments watching the likes of Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. But wait, there's more than golf to keep you busy! When you're off the links, try one of Hamilton County's unique, locally-owned restaurants or take in a little entertainment during your stay.
Here are a few of our recommendations of "must-do" activities while you're in town:
• Don't let the pros have all the fun. Take in 18 holes on your own at one of our premier Indiana golf courses.
• Try a Breaded Tenderloin. Indiana is famous for the beloved traditional tenderloin sandwich, and you can find 18 restaurants who serve the crunchy, hometown favorite on our Tenderloin Trail. One of the stops on the trail is the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill in Fishers. Their sandwich was one of the Super46 Sandwiches of Super Bowl 46!
• Bite into a Really BIG Burger! Stop in Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream in Carmel to see if you can handle the Big Ugly. Man v. Food took on the Big Ugly, and if you completely devour this behemoth one-pound burger, you'll get your picture on the wall. Warning: completing a Big Ugly you may cause extreme drowsiness!
• Grab a Brew - or two. Barley Island Brewing Company in Noblesville features handcrafted beers like the Blind Tiger Pale Ale and the Bum Rush. If wine is more your style, try Shiraz Wine Experience and Art Café or Chateau Thomas Winery.
• Stroll through the Carmel Art and Design District to discover a host of unique eateries, including Woody's Library Restaurant, DeTour An American Grill and Mudbugs Cajun Café. On Saturday, September 8, 5 to 10 p.m., enjoy live entertainment and explore 11 different art galleries during the monthly gallery walk.
• Enjoy a musical performance at the Center for the Performing Arts. Scheduled shows include Sheryl Crow (Sept. 6) and LeAnn Rimes (Sept. 9) at the Palladium and A Chorus Line (Sept. 7 to 22) at the Tarkington theater.
Click here for a complete guide of things to do and places to eat in our 8 Great Towns and a list of places with special offers for BMW ticket holders.
Win 2 Free Tickets to the BMW Championship!
Crooked Stick will be booked by our favorite golf superstars, so we wanted to know what other courses you would suggest for golf lovers. If you've played a course in Hamilton County, tell us one of your other favorite golf courses. If you haven't visited Hamilton County before, check out this list of courses, and tell us which course you would love to play. Comment on this post with your answer by Friday, August 31 at 5 p.m., and you could win two tickets for the final day of play and 2 BMW hats! The contest is now closed.
Congratulations to our winner Rich Waite! Here's what he had to say about his favorite Hamilton County golf courses:
"So many good ones! Based on price, Brookshire is a great deal! Wood Wind
is also fun. Step it up a notch, and Prairie View is a challenge.
Many would say the most challenging is Purgatory. Pick your budget,
then you can decide where is the best place to play.
As far as the best "19th Hole" goes, really anywhere I can enjoy a cold beverage with my golfing buddies after the round!!"
Jun 07, 2012 by Hamilton County CVB
Father's Day is only a little over a week away so it's time to begin preparations for a celebration of dads! Use this idea guide to mix and match activities in Hamilton County to formulate the perfect day of celebration. From dads who have a sweet tooth to dads who love the outdoors, Hamilton County can please them all! For even more events, be sure to consult our online calendar of events.
1. If your dad loves theatrical productions, Hamilton County has several stages lighting up with new shows. Catch the cult classic Little Shop of Horrors being presented by the Carmel Repertory Theater. For a Father's Day outing with little ones, Jr. Civic is presenting Once Upon a Shoe beginning on the 16th. Another great option is Hollywood Arms at the Belfry Theater.
2. Country music loving dads will appreciate an early gift of tickets to the Miranda Lambert concert on June 8 at Klipsch Music Center! If your pop prefers a different genre, try the upcoming Symphony on the Prairie or another show at one of the many venues in Hamilton County.
3. Satisfy dad's sweet tooth with a trip to Chocolate Fest at the Schoolhouse this Saturday. This free event celebrates all things chocolate- from plants to treat tastings. Or you could pick up a gift for dad from Simply Sweet Shoppe's selection of nostalgic candies or treat him to some ice cream while enjoying views of Morse Reservoir at Alexander's on the Water.
4. Have a dad who loves to spend time out on the links? Book a Stay & Play package getaway for him! Choose from eight participating courses and fifteen participating hotels to build a golf getaway that he'll remember for years to come. If you select Prairie View for a round, take advantage of their food specials for Father's Day weekend.
5. Pick up a special gift for pops at a local boutique. The Old Picket Fence is hosting a Father's Day Sale that will feature special gifts like cuff links. Another great shop is geared towards the sport enthusiast dad- Authentic Sports Collectables. Housed in the Carmel City Center, this shop carries autographs, game-used memorabilia and more.
6. Take a trip down memory lane with your dad for Father's Day. Head to Noblesville for a day filled with vintage cars and trains. Indiana Vintage Vehicles will be presenting a large vehicle show inside Forest Park where you can gaze at beautiful old cars. Park in downtown Noblesville and hop on the Dad's Day Train that will take to into the car show and back.
7. Does your father appreciate craft beer? Get him tickets to History on Tap at Conner Prairie where he can sample local and historical beers. There will even be a short brew beer being brewed on-site in Prairietown! Another great beer event in Fishers is on June 14. At the Fishers on Tap event dads can sample beers from six local breweries, munch on snacks, and attend Beer 101 sessions to learn even more about tasty brews.
8. If your dad loves the great outdoors, take him on an adventure in Hamilton County! Rent a canoe from White River Canoe Company and bond with dad while floating down the beautiful White River. Or stay on land and rent some bicycles at Carmel Cyclery Bicycle Shop and pedal down the Monon Trail. Once hunger strikes, treat dad to lunch at his favorite locally owned Hamilton County restaurant.
May 31, 2012 by Hamilton County CVB
This is a busy weekend in Hamilton County: golf balls will be flying, artists will be creating, people will be celebrating National Trails Day and more! Come enjoy all of these great experiences in Hamilton County, Indiana. For even more events this weekend and during next week, check our online calendar of events.
1. The My Marsh Classic events at the Hawthorns Golf and Country Club are already in full swing! Learn more about all the events including the Conner Prairie Craft Corner that's perfect for kids by visiting the My Marsh Classic golf tournament website. The public is welcome to attend the rounds of the tournament that take place June 1-3. Tickets are available at Marsh Supermarkets and at the door and kids 16 and under get FREE admission with the purchase of an adult ticket!
2. Another HUGE event is taking place in Hamilton County this weekend is the Nickel Plate Arts Weekend! This arts and culture event is packed with things to do ranging from tasting a new Nickel Plate wheat beer from Barley Island Brewing Company, to seeing plein air painters or discovering creatively painted pianos in Fishers. Be sure to look for the decorated umbrellas throughout the county so you can see art demonstrations, receive coupons and more!
3. Need to jazz up that old, drab furniture? A day trip to Hamilton County is just what you need! On Saturday head to the Annual Huge Furniture Sale at the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall. Browse an eclectic collection of furniture and vintage decorating accessories that will bring new life to any room. Then head to Gallery 116 for a cool refinishing workshop. At the Caromal Colours Workshop you'll learn how to add a distressed look to furniture. Be sure to reserve your spot in the class soon.
4. Take part in a family tradition in Sheridan, Indiana by attending Sheridan Fireside Tales. This free annual event celebrates the art of story telling and music that is perfect for all ages! In the event of rain, the festivities will be relocated to the nearby Sheridan Community Center.
5. Celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday at Westfield Parks & Recreation: National Trails Day Celebration. Help clean up a new section of the Monon Trail and then participate in two new geocaches that will be announced at noon. Or celebrate on your own by renting a bike at Carmel Cyclery or simply walking along one of the many trails in Hamilton County!
6. Take a break from the Nickel Plate Arts Weekend festivities in Noblesville this Sunday and stroll over to Matteo's to enjoy the fine arts of engineering and cuisine. The Ninth Annual Ferrari Festival provides a great combination of the two! Ferraris and other classic cars will be parked in front of the restaurant and a buffet lunch of classic Italian dishes will be available inside.
7. Head to Cool Creek Park & Nature Center to enjoy the outdoors. Once you have had your fill of the outdoors, step inside the nature center and experience their spring exhibit "Spring on a Wing" to learn about birds. Or head to the park in the evening for a Cool Creek Campfire program. Sing songs, roast marshmallows, and learn about nature.
8. Mark up your calendars with the outrageous amount of community concerts that are happening in Hamilton County this summer. Best of all, most of them are FREE! They make for a lovely evening with friends and family, just take a picnic or pick up carry out from a Hamilton County restaurant and enjoy some tunes.
Jul 28, 2011 by Hamilton County CVB
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