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CENTRAL INDIANA GOLF COURSES I COULD TAKE OR LEAVE

The third blog on central Indiana golf courses focuses on those which gained my affection one day and my disdain another. These courses border on being beautiful one day and boring and ugly the next. Sometimes they play easy and are fun. Sometimes they are impossibly difficult and made me want to give up golf.

Many of these eighteen courses are highly ranked by golf publications and have expensive membership fees. Some are private clubs that I was only able to play through the generosity of a member. Others were public venues designed by someone with high standing as a player or course developer. 

I’ll talk about private golf clubs first. Indianapolis has several top notch private country clubs. I have mentioned several of them previously in the blog about courses I liked. These five, however, frustrated me every time I played them, but lured me back when I parred a tough hole. Foxcliff in Martinsville, Hillview in Franklin, Hillcrest, Old Oakland, and the Country Club of Indianapolis are the private clubs I found most aggravating. 

I was a member at Foxcliff for several years. For the most part, I liked the course, but it always suffered from lack of maintenance. Holes 1, 3, 8, 9,11,16, 17, and 18 drove me nuts. I never  played them well so when I came to them, I immediately adopted a negative mindset. That’s not a good thing. 

Being a member at Hillview Country Club in Franklin, led to a similar experience. I liked the course, but holes 2, 4, 7, 9, 13, 17, and 18 gave me fits and always ruined my score. I once had a chance to break 80 there. My last hole was number 9, a par 4 and the toughest hole on the course. If I parred or bogeyed it, I would have 78 or 79. Of course, I choked and got a 6 for an 80–One of my nemesis holes did it to me again (actually I did it to myself). Things like this are very disheartening and discouraging. 

CCI, or Country Club of Indianapolis, is just plain hard. There are several impossibly difficult holes, but it’s always in good shape. I liked the course but found it much too hard for my game. Hillcrest is a tough course, too. Fairways are narrow, out-of-bounds is everywhere, and it feels like 18 holes of golf are built on 16 holes of ground. Old Oakland has three nines. Only one of the nines appeals to me, but it has several hard holes. The other two nines are average at best. I appreciated being invited to play these private courses as the guest of generous, sharing members. 

West Chase, Quail Creek, the Kampen course at Purdue, and Maple Creek are good courses I liked, but I haven’t played them often enough to decide if I love or hate them. Bear Slide, Prairie View, and Coyote Crossing are big time courses developed by big name designers. They are always in good condition, and are beautifully landscaped, but are very humbling. Whenever you think you’re a decent golfer, play one of these three courses, and you’ll be returned to reality.

Southern Dunes, Eagle Pines, Cascades in Bloomington, and Eagle Creek Pines are decent courses, but each has glaring flaws that knock them down a notch. Eagle Creek Pines could easily drop to the “Dislike” list because it is interminably long. It’s woodsy, but not pretty in the least bit. Eagle Pines and Cascades have lots of potential, but a long way to go. One of the three nines at Cascades rates a like/love ranking because it differs so much from the other two. If you could play that nine twice, it would make my favorites list. Southern Dunes was close to being one of my favorites, but since none of my friends liked it, I gave up playing it. Substandard conditioning is a chronic problem that reflects negatively on Southern Dunes, but the layout of the course is much to my liking. The three par 3’s, three par 4’s, and three par 5’s on each nine, however, were a set up disliked by many. I never found it a problem.

The last ambivalently received golf course is Otter Creek in Columbus. When I’ve played there, it’s either been a very hot day and I was exhausted, or I played behind a fivesome, a very aggravating situation. The fivesome thing has happened there twice. Playing on a hot day has happened almost every time. There are 3 very dissimilar nines that have some hard holes, but they’re not impossible. It’s, also, not a course that beats you down. You have a good chance to score well there if the fivesome doesn’t slow you down too much. 

These 18 are all good courses. I wouldn’t refuse to play any one of them if I could. But each of them has a feature, or a demon, that in an instant can change your whole attitude from elation to dejection. I’ve actually experienced that emotion on every single course I’ve ever played, but on some it makes you want to quit while on others you know you can do better. It’s the course that makes that decision for you! Some of these 18 influence me positively, some negatively. It’s all a matter of attitude! 

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