Tag: Gator Golf

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

The first is the Donald Ross Course, built in 1917 and restored 10 years ago by Scottsdale architect Lee Schmidt. The resort added the Pete Dye Course in 2009, and the track was well received by players at the 2015 Senior PGA Championship. The spectacular view from the clubhouse terrace, situated on Mount Airie, offers a sweeping view of the tree-dotted hills of Hoosier National Forest.

“We’ve received a lot of accolades in a very short period of time. That says volumes about the quality of golf at French Lick,” said Dave Harner, the resort’s director of golf. “We have a very unique golf experience with a classic layout by old school architect Donald Ross and a modern design by legendary architect Pete Dye. That’s the best one-two combination in the U.S.”

The magic of the Donald Ross layout is the Scotland-styled greens that are often elevated, crowned, tiered and sloping. The caddies will tell you to “never hit the ball past the pin,” meaning that a deft short game is crucial to good scoring. Consider the benign looking 133-yard, par-3 16th. I hit an 8-iron 15 feet left of the pin, but only a slight tap of the ball with my putter sent it 40 feet past the hole. Oh my.

Slick greens and yawning bunkers are staples of a Donald Ross design

Accuracy is also an asset because most holes are guarded with thick swatches of heather on either side of the fairway. There are four par-3s, but three are longer than 200 yards from the tips. The 13th, at 228 yards, plays uphill to a multi-tiered green, forcing everyone in my group to hit driver, a club that also will come in handy – twice, perhaps – at No. 15, a 665-yard, par-5 from the back tees.

The Pete Dye Course offers five sets of tees, from a staggering 8,100 yards from the tips to a milder 5,100 yards from the forward markers. Mid-handicappers will want to try the middle offerings from 6,100 to 6,700 yards.

The Pete Dye Course offers wonderful hilltop vistas

“It’s a handful from any set of tees,” said Dyan Duncan, public relations manager for the French Lick Resort. “The feedback we get from golfers is, yes, it’s difficult, but also that it’s a unique layout and visually stunning golf course.”

A highlight of the Dye layout is the fifth hole, a par-5 that features a split fairway. A couple holes later is another par-5 with one of Dye’s signature features – volcano bunkers by the green. The best hole is No. 18, a downhill 580-yard, par-5 with a fairway that bends to the left. Aim to the right because the fairway is severely sloped the other way and those side-hill lies out of deep rough can be tough.

There’s plenty to see when you’re done, as well, because French Lick Resort also has spas, a casino, an elephant retreat and a winery. The town originally honed its tourist chops starting in 1845, as visitors flocked to the gateway destination to experience the healing powers of the numerous sulfur springs.

The hamlet of 2,000 people experienced a downturn when the resort was purchased in 1934, but a tourism revival was launched when the Cook Group acquired the land and poured $600 million into resort upgrades.

Some $100 million also was spent to put new life into the town’s West Baden Springs Hotel, once nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World because of its majestic lobby that was under the largest free-spanning dome in the U.S. until 1955. Modeled after the German spa town of Baden-Baden, the hotel once hosted the likes of Al Capone, Gen. John Pershing and boxer John L. Sullivan. Following its restoration, West Baden reopened in 2006 with 243 rooms and suites.

Another option is the French Lick Springs Hotel and Casino that, like the West Baden, has treatment rooms with mineral spring baths. You can also pose for photos holding Bird’s NBA MVP trophy at 33 Brick Street Restaurant.

All in all, French Lick is a surprising discovery for visitors not familiar with what the heartland has to offer regarding scenery, golf and hospitality.

“We treat all of our guests like VIPs, whether they’re staying at the resort or they’re from the area,” Harner said. “We understand how important it is that every need of our visiting golfers are met and exceeded. It’s that VIP treatment that makes us a top-rated golf destination.”

ALSO IN PLAY

The Valley Links Course at French Lick Resort doesn’t get the accolades of its two siblings, but the nine-hole layout that can stretch to 3,500 yards is great for people who want to play a stylish course with rolling fairways, Scottish-style fescue grasses and strategically placed bunkers.

Designed specifically for children and beginners, French Lick Resort partnered with U.S. Kids Golf to develop the family friendly course. The second of its kind in Indiana, there are two sets of tee markers – 1,100 and 1,900 yards – that set up perfectly for youngsters or adults just getting started. Best yet, there are no green fees for children 12 and younger.

× Featured

ProCheck ends the 'trial and error' method of buying a golf ball

Field Test: Takeya 24 Oz. insulated beverage bottle Well designed, rugged and it does its job keeping everything 'cool'

by Mike Lednovich, Editor/Publisher

After three months of taking our Takeya beverage bottle just about everywhere we travel in and around Amelia Island, Fl., we can say this product is a winner.

First, it fits in most golf cart beverage holders, which is a big plus.

Second, the folks at Takeya have incorporated just about every feature a golfer or anybody active and on the go would want.

Takeya’s original “Spout Lid” ensures the ideal drinking experience for active use, – sip, pour, or chug (without removing the entire lid)- meaning you can drive your cart with one hand and easily sip from the bottle with the other.  Takeya’s patented, leak-proof, Original Spout Lid™ is the ultimate combination of wide mouth convenience and narrow mouth drinkability.

The bottle’s leak-proof twist cap prevents accidental spills, while the Hinge-Lock™ keeps the smaller sipping cap out of the way while drinking.
It includes a tough wide loop handle with smooth swing action for all day carrying comfort. The handle has a stainless steel hinge pin for extra durability.

The bottle’s double powder coat makes it easy to grip and protects your hands against heat generated by the sun.

Crafted from food grade 18/8 stainless steel, Takeya’s BPA-free, insulated bottles feature a sweat-free double-wall design and wide mouth to fit ice and allow for easy cleaning. We tried all types of beverages and the results were after 24 hours, there was still considerable ice left in the bottle.

This is a rugged, well made bottle and we especially like the overall design that cradles perfectly in your hand.

There’s a rubber bumper that fits on the bottom of the bottle to keep it from rattling noises when you place the bottle on a table or hard surface.

 

Currently priced at $27.99. Takeya includes a lifetime warranty on its complete line of beverage bottles.

“Developers of this bottle did all the thinking for me. Finally a bottle with a size and a shape that fits in my cup holders and a cap I can’t lose. I won’t be wasting my time looking for either because they’re connected. My hot stays hot and my cold stays cold. My only worry is theft because it is coveted by all.” said reviewer Phil Anders.

For more information go to https://takeyausa.com/products/originals-24oz-insulated-stainless-steel-water-bottle

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.

Shot Scope V2 Announces New Features Distance to hazards and performance tracking added

SHOT SCOPE TECHNOLOGIES has added a hazard feature and an updated Performance Dashboard to its V2 performance tracking watch. All V2 watches will now provide distances to hazards in addition to the existing distances to the front, middle and back of greens and fully automated performance tracking capabilities. This update, delivered remotely to existing users, doubles the on-course functionality of the golf watch and the new Performance Dashboard transforms the off-course experience.

The latest update from Shot Scope enhances the on-course experience provided to users. Dynamic distances, in either meters or yards, show F/M/B distances to both greens and hazards using the highest grade Smart GPS chip commercially available and satellite imagery. Distances are dynamic, changing with angle of approach and every adjustment so that they are optimized for each individual golfer.

The update also includes advanced Penalty Identification, allowing the golfer to classify a penalty on-course, thus significantly reducing post-round editing time. Flagging a “provisional” shot launches a 5-minute timer in order to find the original ball.

Off-course, the Performance Dashboard, which houses over 100 Tour-level statistics, has been relaunched with interactive and immersive data viewing platforms. Unlimited club tracking and comparisons, fairway accuracy for every tee shot, break down the hits and misses of every approach shot, see which short game shots making it into the “red zone” and get your “Never up, Never in” percentage to get to know your putting performance. Hundreds of stats, hundreds of opportunities to improve.
Shot Scope CEO, David Hunter, is delighted to be enhancing the functionality of the product for existing and new customers, “This update really takes the platform to the next level, both on and off the course. On-course functionality has been doubled, and, off-course, the stats pages have been transformed to bring a whole new element of enjoyment to every user’s experience. We can’t wait to hear the feedback from our community and see how it helps improve their game!”

As with all firmware updates, these features fall within the “forever free” promise to existing Shot Scope users of the no-subscription product who continually benefit from product enhancements.

× Featured

French Lick: Donald Ross and Pete Dye at their finest

If the golf courses at French Lick Resort aren’t on your must-play list, adjust it. The Indiana boyhood home of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird also has two layouts that are turning the hoops hotbed into a golf playground as well.