IBJ Golf Course Guide

North-side courses dominate golf survey

Prairie View, Purgatory, The Fort score high with readers

18 Holes of Hell

“A multitude of bunkers (125 of them) and tall, thick fescue grass leave little room for error on most holes at Purgatory Golf Club”, rated the most difficult golf course by IBJ Daily readers. Twenty percent of respondents said it was the toughest track to tame.

“Far and away, it’s just the one that isn’t easily solved,” said reader David Ayers. “I’ve brought my A game and I stil get in places that I don’t have an answer for.”

“You have to be accurate from tee to green,” said reader Mike Dodson, noting that even a slightly errant tee shot can land you in the tall grass, which is so thick that you’re probably in trouble, “even if you find the ball.”

“Purgatory’s head pro, Jon Stutz, said it’s nice to be known as a challenging course, but “I don’t think that’s the No. 1 thing we try to promote.”

“He stressed that the course has up to six sets of tees to accommodate all skill levels. “Given the right set of tees, it’s very playable.”

“He noted that many golfers have a tendency to bite off more than they can chew. At Purgatory, one can play the course as short as 5,400 yards or as long as 7,700 at the tips. Playing the back tees will land you on what Purgatory officials say is the longest par-5 hole east of the Mississippi, a back-breaking 741 yards on No. 13.

“Stutz is quick to point out that it’s a mere 528 yards from the regular tees.

“Reader Traci Lipp, with just one full season of golf under her belt, gave Purgatory a whirl. Fortunately, she played the right tees and had low expectations as a beginner, but, she said, “I could see where you might just give up the game.”

“Purgatory also was rated tops as the course where most golf balls are lost…

“Favorite “New” Course

“While it’s regarded as the most demanding course in our survey, Purgatory also topped our readers’ survey as the best of the new golf courses (3 years old or younger). The course opened in 2000.

“Golfers often speak of a course “growing in” or maturing before it really hits its stride, but the thick tufts of fescue would indicate that the areas off the Purgatory’s fairways are plenty mature.”

North-side courses dominate golf survey, Prairie View, Purgatory, The Fort score high with readers;IBJ Indiana Golf Course Guide, 2003.