In Motion

Story by Bobby Munholland Photos Randy Baughn

Teeing It Up, Noblesville is home to one of the “50 Best Courses for Women.”

Golf Digest calls Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville a “slice of heaven despite it’s name.” The course also received high praise from Golf for Women magazine, ranking No. 43 in its 2003 list of “50 Best Courses for Women.” Purgatory is the only Indiana course to make the list.

Golf for Women noted in its July/August 2003 issue that co-owner Tenna Mercent “…made sure the forward tees were built with the same loving care as the back, with the perfect one-degree fall and smart positioning.”

To determine its biannual list of the “50 Best” each year, the magazine invites a panefl of prominent women in the golf industry to nominate their favorite public access courses. The panelists take into account the entire golf experience: the quality of the course, aesthetics and amenities. 2003 was the first year Purgatory made the list. In addition, Golf for Women also ranked it as  “Best of the Best” for being a “Best Value under $70.”

Merchent played a significant role in the design of the course. “My husband and I had traveled to some beautiful golf resorts where the golf experience was as spectacular for women as it was for the men,” Merchent says. “I wanted Purgatory Golf Club to provide the same amenities that I enjoyed, like multiple tee choices for women and properly constructed, sand-based ladies tees. These are the hallmarks of a great women’s course.”

Golf for Women’s list of the “50 Best Courses for Women” is dedicated to the idea that all golfers are not created equal. Golfers at Purgatory will find 125 or so bunkers throughout the course as well as safe routes to every green, plus six sets of tees at every hole to choose from.

According to Jane Merrill and her daughter, Cindi, a junior at Miami University, Purgatory requires finesse but is a “pretty fair course for women.”

“I especially like the women’s tee boxes. They are actual tee boxes designed for women and not just tees planted in the middle of the fairway like an after-thought,” Cindi says.

“I am not a long hitter so I mix and match some of the tees,” her mother adds.

To best accommodate golfers, Purgatory offers three on-course restrooms, so golfers never have to go more than four holes before passing a restroom. Merchent also added her women’s touch to the selection of pro shop merchandise. The pro shop carries three lines of women’s clubs, plus Lilly Pulitzer and Ralph Lauren apparel.

Construction is under way at Purgatory for an expansive 28,000-square-foot log cabin clubhouse that will open in late summer and include a larger pro shop featuring more items for women golfers, plus a banquet facility.

Many golfers who have played the course think it’s appropriately named. It lives up to the definition of “purgatory,” a place where you overcome great obstacles (atone for your sins) while achieving eternal happiness. Last year at Ladies’ Night, Nanette Stephenson did just that with a hole-in-one on the signature hole, No. 17, Hell’s Half-Acre. She knocked it in the cup with an 11-wood.

In Motion, Teeing Up, Noblesville is home to noe of the “50 Best Courses for Women,” In Magazine, July 2003