Indy Star Covers PGC’s Clubhouse Plans

Indianapolis Star Covers Purgatory’s New Club House

Below is the article that appeared in the Indianapolis Star on May 23, 2003

HAMILTON COUNTY

Golf course has expansion plans
Purgatory wants to add large clubhouse; lighted driving range would close at 10 p.m.
By Phil Dunlap, Star correspondent, May 23, 2003

The golf course with the scary name is expanding by adding a 26,600-square-foot clubhouse and lighted driving range. The Hamilton County Board of Zoning Appeals granted the request from Purgatory Golf Club owners Mike and Tenna Merchant for a facility that can accommodate banquets, weddings and conferences as well as serve the needs of golfers.

Attorney Jim Shinaver said the golf club, located along 216th Street east of Ind. 37, had been approved for a 15,400-square-foot clubhouse in its original 1997 application for special use, but a permanent building never was erected.

Shinaver said the owners instead built a temporary structure, hoping to buy time to gauge demand better.

Two residents spoke in favor of the request. The only opposition came from board member C. Ron Hall, who objected to the practice range lighting.

Hall said he thought the lighting would be inappropriate for the area, consisting mostly of farming properties.

Board member Tim Clark said that if there were a problem affecting neighboring properties, someone would have shown up to oppose it.

“I think it will help properties develop around there quicker,” said Clark, who added that he thought the club’s owners had gone the extra mile to arrive at an unusual lighting scheme.

Shinaver said the practice range will cease operations at 10 p.m. The course is open every day.

Mike Merchant said he designed the facility after a Florida course, the only one he knows with the same type lighting.

Ralph Martin, whose farm adjoins the course on the east, said he is in favor of the improvements. Merchant discounted concerns about peak golfing times competing for parking with any special events. He said weddings and banquets usually are on weekends and in the afternoon when golfers are nearing the end of their play.

The pavilion area would seat a maximum of 167 people. Food would be served for special events. “While we are open to the public as a public-use golf course, we’re not a restaurant,” Merchant said.