Archive for the ‘Golf Course’ Category

Why did you name the golf club Purgatory?

By: Brian Rhodes on June 12th, 2015

More heaven than Hell book

The Golf Club originally had the working name Sassafras, the Architects original drawing is posted in the hallway, and titled with that name.  There were some sassafras trees over in the north end of the property.  That’s a relatively unique tree in Central Indiana, but informal market research indicated that Sassafras was not a name that serious golfers would embrace.


In religious mythology, Purgatory is where souls pay for their earthly mistakes to gain entry into heaven. It’s about overcoming obstacles to attain eternal happiness.  In medieval poetry, Purgatory was referred to as “sweet misery.” Golf often feels like that; acts of difficulty while obtaining something wonderful.


The golf course is named Purgatory because it’s a beautiful place for you to test your limits.  Purgatory is a name that immediately resonated with golfers and it fits, it fits with why people play golf.  From the time you tee off on the first hole you have challenges and obstacles that you must navigate your way through until the last hole.  You’ve had good holes and bad holes, and the shot that you think you should have made, and a few shots no one ever talks about, the miss-hits that end up perfect.


Purgatory conjures images of great obstacle; it’s a name you remember.  Every golf course is difficult if you play from the wrong tees boxes.  Is our golf course a challenge?  Absolutely.  But does that mean you have to make it too difficult for yourself?  The answer is no.  Play a distance that allows you to enjoy the course and the day, you will find the course to be almost heavenly from the correct set of tees.


The logo also is a discussion starter that even non-golfers find very interesting.

Hole 1: “Pride”

By: Brian Rhodes on June 5th, 2015

TennaMerchent Hole 1

Hole 1: “Pride” Par 4; plays 373 to 206 yards


There are a few architects that think the first hole should set a tone for the course and be a very challenging hole.  Donald Ross immediately comes to mind as most of his course that I have played start off extremely hard and par is an excellent score.  The first hole at Purgatory eases you into the rest of the day, it is relatively short in distance and wide in the landing area.


It is a dogleg left, where the object is not about hitting it long, it’s trying to fit your tee shot into an area that’s 200 to 230 yards off the tee and 50 yards wide.  So hopefully you start your round off out of the fairway, leaving yourself with a short iron, into a little bit of an elevated green that’s pretty receptive, not a lot of undulation, not a lot of movement to it … so you’re not going to hit a shot and be rejected left or right.


Two decent shots ought to give yourself a chance for a par on the first hole; depending on the tee markers many longer players approach this hold as a classic risk reward as they may be able to drive the ball onto the green.  I personally do not recommend this as the approach shot from very close and left of the green is very challenging and depending on the hole placement could eliminate a good birdie opportunity.  When you are on the green take time to overlook the whole course as the green is the highest elevation point on the property.

Signing with Casper Golf

By: Tenna Merchent on April 23rd, 2014

Signing with Casper

Last week we signed a management agreement with Billy Casper Golf. I can almost hear some of my golf friends roll their eyes. Many golf insiders look down their noses at golf management companies. And having researched the subject a great deal, there is good reason. But as the saying goes, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

Some people who are already aware this change was going to take place were nervous. That’s natural, most people don’t like change. But from our analysis, our staff, the golf course, and our clients will be better off with the addition of Casper Golf.

I want to share why we selected Billy Casper Golf.

Service & Quality

Casper uses a training program developed by the same organization that helped Nordstrom’s create their training. They will use this training with our staff to make sure everyone at our course gives you the same high quality service and attention. A golf course has a culture and it is important that every staff member understands and embraces that philosophy. Casper will help us ensure we are achieving that goal.

We have talked to other golf course owners who have relationships with Casper Golf, and they are very pleased with the service given to their clients, the quality of golf course, food and beverages, and proshop merchandise. And our contract says it has to stay as good as it has been 😉

Attention to Detail

As a golf course owner, Purgatory Golf Club is like one of my children. When the bathroom counter is messy, I wipe it down. When the toilet paper is low, I replace it. When there is a cigarette butt on a fairway I pick it up. Mike Cutler of Casper golf told me that he used to randomly tape cash to trash. The first time somebody picked up a piece of trash that had a $5 bill taped to the back of it, the news raced through the staff. Everybody was now excited to pick up the trash. That small act was brilliant.

Depth of Knowledge & Experience

Casper oversees 170 golf courses. Their culture is very focused on testing an idea, and if it works implement it, if it does not abandon it and move onto the next one. It would take me an eternity to come up with, much less test every idea they have already implemented or thrown out. They are also replicating the successful experiments each course has on it’s own at other interested courses.

They have handbooks and policies and procedures for everything. Handbooks by themselves do no one any good. But Casper actually uses theirs. And it’s existence and use demonstrates they have faced all of these issues, thought them through, and made careful decisions. Our staff will be trained on these well thought out choices and will better understand what is expected from them.


A company that is managing 150 golf courses gets better prices and more attention from vendors. A vendor has to take a big buyer like Casper more seriously than an individual golf course. Getting better service for less money is good for Purgatory Golf Club & our clients.


Casper’s culture is to see opportunities. They love to research and find out if something works. They want everyone to be on board. They use a lot of big words, but it is their way of attaching meaning, and importance to an idea.

We have come to the conclusion that they are a good fit for Purgatory Golf Club. I told them they would be our golf course nanny. They laughed and said they had never been call that, but hey, I am entrusting them with my baby.

PS. Mike & I will still be involved, but hopefully doing more fun things like playing golf with guests, taking awesome pictures, maybe Mike will even be able to teach a lesson or two!



First Purgatory Men’s Night of 2014 season teed off with The Masters

By: Tony Adragna on April 11th, 2014

04_TennaMerchent_20110602_0197r-LThe first Men’s Night of the 2014 season, April 10, had a definite Masters theme as a ball skipping across the pond contest preceded a Par 3 course set up on the back nine. Also, the after play buffet included a Clifford Roberts favorite from the Augusta National clubhouse menu.

A total of 50 golfers came out on the balmy 70 degree evening.  Mike Alyea won the event’s low score with a one over, 29.  Closest to the Pin contests were taken by Steve Hurst and Mark Pratt. Skillful skippers of a golf ball across the putting green pond were: Andrew Fleenor, Dick Peck, Kevin Sears, and Marty Schmidt.

Chef Shane surprised the golfers adding peach cobbler and ice cream, an Augusta National favorite, to the buffet table.

The next Men’s Night is Thursday, May 8th, first night of the Tour Players Championship. Play gets under way at 6 pm, preceded by a 3-Putt contest on the putting green. Call the pro shop, 317-776-4653, to book your spot in our next men’s night!


First Men’s Night of the Season is on Thursday

By: Tony Adragna on April 9th, 2014
The first event is scheduled at 5:30 pm, April 10, the first day of the Masters.
The monthly nine hole event is open to all and begins with a shotgun start. Golfers set their own groups, play their own tees and select their own game. Singles and twosomes can be paired. Players return to the clubhouse for complimentary food.
Men’s Nights at Purgatory i
nclude free range balls, nine holes of golf with cart, complimentary food, beverage specials, door prizes, course contests and a chance to win a free round in the golf pool. The fee is $35.
“We have shaken up the April Masters Men’s Night with a decidedly Augusta National flavor,” said head pro Jon Stutz.  “A ball skipping contest across the putting green pond mimics the Hole 16 fun during the Masters practice round.  Play then follows on a unique 9 hole Par Three course set up on the back nine. Back at the clubhouse, Chef Shane has added a favorite directly from the Augusta National clubhouse menu,” added Stutz.
Call the pro shop at 776-4653 no later than the Wednesday before the event to reserve a tee slot.

Local Junior Golfer will play at Augusta National

By: Tony Adragna on April 1st, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 1.40.34 PMNels Surtani, a Junior Golfer from Noblesville, will be participating in the National Drive, Chip, and Putt contest at August National on Sunday, April 6th.

The Golf Channel will dedicate an entire five hour, live production as 88 junior golfers from North America compete to be the Drive, Chip, and Putt National Champion.

Nels Surtani will be one of the 88 participants, but the road he was forced to take there is anything out of the ordinary.

The Golf Channel highlighted Nels in their “Overcoming the Odds” video series.  The video can be seen in its entirety below.

You can also find out more information about the Drive, Chip, and Putt contest by clicking this link.

Picking the Perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket

By: Tony Adragna on March 18th, 2014

Last May, the Players Championship in Ponte Verdra Beach had the richest purse of any tournament on the PGA Tour at $9.5 million in total prize money, according to Forbes Magazine. But that is nothing compared to the purse Warren Buffett is offering to anyone who can pick a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket – $1 Billion Dollars.  With a top prize like that, it’s not just college basketball fans who are trying to figure out how to pick the winning teams. Quicken Loans also is giving $100,000 for the 20 highest-scoring imperfect brackets.

Here is a helpful infographic from Quicken Loans with several tips to help YOU win the money!

An infographic from the team at the Quicken Loans Zing Blog.

Stop-Motion Video of Hole #1

By: Tony Adragna on March 11th, 2014

Earlier this morning, I headed out to the course with just my iPhone in hand and knew I wanted to do something unique, but I wasn’t really sure what.  After toying with a few ideas, I got the idea to take a stop-motion video (stop-motion means taking a bunch of pictures and putting them together, pretty much like a flipbook).

I decided to walk the entire first hole while I took the stop-motion video.  By the time I arrived at the hole, I was pleased with the turnout of the stop-motion video.  It’s something I wouldn’t mind doing for each hole, but for now, hole #1 will do.  Below is a the stop-motion video that I took.

FedEx Cup Infographic

By: Tony Adragna on February 24th, 2014

Shown below is an infographic on everything you would want to know about the FedEx Cup.

FedExCup: PGA Golf Trophy

Produced by Aford Awards] a UK manufacturer of golf trophies as well as other glass sports trophies.

Purgatory: A Message from the Communications Specialist

By: Tony Adragna on January 23rd, 2014

TennaMerchent6_6_2012-2231_1024-XLMy name is Tony Adragna, and I have been the Communications Specialist at Purgatory Golf Club for about five months.  You may have seen my name pop up on blog posts around the site, or maybe you have seen my lessons with Mike in our web series, “Changing Your Golf Game.”

I graduated in May from Indiana University with a degree in Sports Communication, so working for Purgatory right out of school was a job I only could have dreamed of.  It is right up the alley of everything I studied in school, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the opportunity to go to “work” everyday at such a beautiful place.

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t greatly familiar with Purgatory before I applied for my job here.  But after doing hours of research, I couldn’t wait for my interview.  When I got the call that I got the job, I was ecstatic.

My first love in sports will always be basketball.  I played four years at Southport High School, and I never missed an Indiana University home game while I went to school there.  I also played in all of the intramural basketball leagues that I could while I was in school, and I still religiously follow the basketball team.

With that said, with pretty much 18 years of pounding my body on hardwood, I’ve pretty much given up playing the sport, despite the occasional adult rec league or pick-up game.  The natural progression for me was to start playing more golf.

I have golfed since I was about 12 years old, but usually only a few times a year & with no guidance.  I figured since I was athletic, I would naturally be good.  Boy, was I wrong.  That’s why I have been loving this “Changing Your Golf Game” series that Mike Merchent and I have been doing this winter.  I am not a very good golfer, but I hope to get good, and I think this series is a good stepping stone for me.  Instead of searching the internet for different basketball shoes, I now find myself searching for different golf equipment.  I could search Google and YouTube for hours on various golf equipment, golf trick shots, etc.  I am starting to fall in love with the game, just like I did with basketball at a young age, and I couldn’t be more happy about it.

But what better place to fall in love with the game than at Purgatory Golf Club?  I remember as I pulled off of 37 on to 216th St. for my interview, I literally almost drove off of the road looking at the beautiful landscape of Purgatory.  I had seen a lot of pictures that Tenna had taken on our website (which are breathtaking in their own right) before my interview, but I had never seen the course in person.  After my interview, I remember just walking around the place a bit to fully grasp how awesome of a job it would be to “work” there.

As soon as I started working for Purgatory, I knew I made the absolutely correct decision to take the job.  Each employee I encountered greeted me and let me know that if I needed anything, they’d be there to help. I remember there was an outing on my first day of work, and even the golfers that were participating had such a friendly vibe to them.  As the days passed and I continued working more and more at Purgatory, the friendliness of the Purgatory members and visitors has never faded.

After thinking it through, I figured out why everybody I encountered was so friendly.  How could you not be happy in such a beautiful place?  So if I ever find myself having a rough day at work, I make sure to get up from my desk, take a walk to soak in my surroundings, and my mind always goes back to that very thought; how could you not be happy in such a beautiful place?