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.