Owners, Mike and Tenna Merchent, purchased the land to build Purgatory Golf Club in 1997. After the auction, Denzel Hufford, one of the previous owners, talked to the Merchents about the lovely sassafras trees that had been on the property. The Merchents originally named the course Sassafras Golf Club, and even had a logo designed and business cards printed. But informal market research indicated that Sassafras was not a name that serious golfers would embrace.
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. According to religious mythology, Purgatory is where souls pay for their earthly mistakes so they can gain entry to heaven. The name conjures images of overcoming obstacles to achieve eternal happiness. Once you play golf at Purgatory, you’ll understand!
Purgatory was built on 218 acres while many golf courses are built on 90 – 150 acres. There are a minimum of six sets of tees at each hole. From the far forward tees, the course is a short 4,600 yards. But when you play from the Purgatory tees, the course is a brutal 7,700 yards long. This makes it the longest course in Indiana, and the longest, non-mountain par 72 in the world. But don’t worry; there are at least 4 sets of tees between these two yardages to test your abilities.
You’ll face over 125 bunkers at Purgatory. They’re filled with white sand, made of crushed limestone, which is a rare bunker material in Indiana. Many of the bunkers are outside your most rewarding line to the cup, but of course you’ll find some exceptions. At the 16th hole, large bunkers line the fairway and surround the green. On the 4th hole, you’ll find bunkers protect the green because trees outline the fairway. But you’ll see the most striking is “Hell’s Half Acre” –the 17th hole–where a par three is surrounded by two acres of bunkers, making the green an island in a sea of sand.
At Purgatory, you’ll quickly learn that it’s easier to hit your ball out of a bunker than out of the tall grass. You’ll find that most of the fairways are lined by roughs consisting of tall prairie grasses.
More Heaven than Hell
The course is more heaven than hell. Purgatory Golf Club offers a greater sense of privacy during your game. The distance between fairways are twice the distance of what you will find at most other courses. In addition, tee times are spaced farther apart and you will never be double-booked. At Purgatory, you’ll often feel like you’re not in the real world.
Bathrooms are not only in the club house but three are located out on the golf course. You will never go more than four holes without passing one.
You can work on your game by practicing on either our 7,000 square foot practice putting green or on a separate 10,000 square foot chipping and pitching practice green. You will always be able to hit your best driver on our practice range because it is over three football fields in length, with a bent grass teeing area that’s 100 yards wide and 40 yards deep.
Let us fill a cooler with your favorite beverages, and you’ll be ready to tee off to your most memorable round of golf in Indiana!