Sneak Preview: The new Pete Dye course at French Lick Resort in Indiana
FRENCH LICK, Ind. – I was offered a sneak preview of the new Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in Southern Indiana this morning. The course isn’t slated to open until the spring of 2009, but the first 16 holes on the course were playable today.
It’s no doubt one of the most anticipated new openings in America and for good reason. The French Lick Resort has put $500 million into its facilities and golf is a major piece of that puzzle.
Probably the only thing similar about the existing Ross course at the Resort and the modern Dye course is that they’re both doggone tough. The Dye can stretch to over 8,000 yards. According to the temporary scorecard, there’s a second set at 7,800 yards. I can just see a player standing on the first tee thinking, “Gee, 8,000 is a little much today, I think I’ll take it easy on myself from 7,800…". There’s a third set at 7,100 yards. On a setting where surely wind will play a major factor on an exposed hilltop, that’s a lot of golf course.
This isn’t a swing-for-the-fences golf course either. The fairways aren’t all that wide, only about 23 yards or so. If the rough grows in a little more, it has the feel of a tournament course for sure. The shaping of the course feels a lot like Whistling Straits - only instead of Lake Michigan, you’re overlooking the valley. There’s some beautiful scenery out here and most green locations have the best vantage points. It’s a good trade off, because like most Dye courses, you can’t hit these greens by accident.
Here’s another similarity to the Ross course, they’re both walkable. Pete himself hoofed the course for the first time this morning - while us younger, wimpier media all rode carts…Stay tuned for plenty more on the extensive renovations to one of the Midwest’s great historic resorts at WorldGolf.com.
Click here for a preview photo gallery of the golf course.
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Back in 2002, I played the Ross course in late Dec.--had the whole course to myself (they gave me the key at the resort to the cart barn to get one out myself, and lock up when I was done). By the 11th hole, there was a very light snow falling. One of my favorite rounds ever.
At that time, I predicted that if the state would allow gambling again in the town, it would be transformed into a fantastic golf destination (http://www.travelgolf.com/departments/coursereviews/indiana/french-lick-springs-resort-and-spa.htm). Glad to see I was right. Can't wait to see the Dye course myself someday!