Hole 13: “Everlasting Torment” Par 5; plays 741 to 357 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 15th, 2015
Hole #13 Everlasting Torment

Hole #13 Everlasting Torment

The Thirteenth hole is named Everlasting Torment since it is the longest hole on the course at 741 yards from the red tees.  The prevailing summer wind is usually at your back so the hole plays downwind.  Most people want to make the hole as short as they can and aim too far right and that brings into play bunkers or the rough.  The aiming point off the tee is the bunker on the left hand side at the very corner of the dogleg.  The aiming point bunker is not reachable on the tee shot.  The second shot should also be aimed at one of the bunkers on the left, either one or two bunkers farther up from the tee shot.  That leaves you the best angle with your approach shot and the green is most receptive from that position.  The green slopes to the left, so the approach shot should be slightly to the right of the pin.

 

The green is one of the most interesting on the course.  The tournament “Sunday” position is back right.  That position brings in a very deep swale on the left of the green, which very often brings 3 putts into play.  If your ball is right of the pin, you are left with a very fast downhill putt.

 

Everlasting Torment was not originally designed to be 741 yards.  During construction, the owner Mike Merchent was standing behind where the original red tees were to get a better sight angle and said “This would be a great place for a tee.”  The next day when he arrived on property a tee was constructed on that spot, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

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Hole 11: “Eden” Par 4; plays 406 to 251 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 7th, 2015

#11 golf hole at Purgatory Golf

 

Eden is a subtle hole, similar to number one on the front, not very long, with a generous fairway.  A barn used to reside in the landing area.  The mailbox post is still located in the left rough.  The barn had a watering hole for the cattle that was surrounded by rocks.  We took the rocks and repurposed them into a rock wall protecting the green.  The rock wall was designed to frame the green, not to penalize poor shots.

 

There is a hump on the left side of the fairway that is the aiming point for tee shots.  The three bunkers on the right side of the fairway can come into play if the wrong aiming line is chosen, or the tee shot is poorly executed.

 

We paid tribute to Bill Diddle on the green by installing one of his famous design traits “Diddle Bumps.”    The green complex doesn’t appear to be overly difficult, but if you have some little bumps in the right places it can really add to the difficulty of the hole.  We have a “Diddle Bump” in front of the green that actually blends into the green complex.  This can really have a determining effect on the shot that you hit into the hole. It’s a very subtle bump out there, but it really impacts the play of that green.

 

If you play golf in the Midwest, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, you’ll come across a lot of Bill Diddle designed golf courses where he used these bumps to add a degree of difficulty on what appears to be an easy hole.  Bill is one of the five founding members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.  He was born and raised right here in Carmel, IN.  Our architect, Ron Kern, is a direct descendent of the Diddle design tree.

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Celebration of the 4th of July

By: Brian Rhodes on June 30th, 2015

flyover tees at Purgatory Golf club

Aerial view of #12

With this upcoming weekend celebrating the day USA declaring their independence from Great Britain’s rule. With all of the celebrations and displays of patriotism, my thoughts quickly go to the idiom of “Freedom is Not Free.” There are many citizens and their families that have paid the ultimate price for us to have our freedom.

 

For the 2nd year Purgatory Golf Club is very proud to be one of the host sites for World’s Largest Golf Outing benefitting Wounded Warrior Project. Last year we had over 90 participants play in the event at Purgatory.  This year our goal is to have 120 players. We have an enormous amount of pride to be part of the group that has contributed over $885,000 in donations for our Wounded Warriors last year, and have raised over 2 million since 2011.

 

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

 

Last year we had a presentation of arms, a live version of the national anthem, Fuzzy’s Vodka brought out their showcase semi truck, and we had a special guest play in the event, one of our wounded warriors. This year we are working hard to surpass last year in every aspect of the event.

 

Monday, August 3rd we are having a 10:00 am shotgun: we are accepting players, donations and sponsorships. If you would like more information please go to www.worldslargestgolfouting.com or call us at the golf shop 317.776.4653. Please come out and join us for a day of fun and fundraising to support those who have fought for our freedom.

 

Golf is a fantastic vehicle to use to raise money, awareness and build camaraderie. The PGA Tour gives more to charity in a year than the other 4 major sports combined.  Once you start adding up all the charity golf outings, it is amazing how golf supports people in need and worthy causes.  If this is the year you want to raise money for something that is near and dear to your heart, contact us.   We will help you exceed your dreams of a great event.

 

Have a great 4th,

 

Brian

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Purgatory Par 3’s

By: Brian Rhodes on June 23rd, 2015

TennaMerchent_Sunrise over 7th

Photo of #7 River of Flames

 

Par 3’s have a huge impact on my overall feeling and personal rating of golf courses.  It is a pet peeve of mine when I use the same club for 3 of the 4 par 3 shots on a course.  With Purgatory being spread out over 218 acres very few people notice that the par 3’s all play in different directions. If we have a consistent wind you will play shots in every wind direction.  Thus even if you are playing similar distances they will require different clubs.

 

Purgatory par 3’s all look vastly different from each other, unless you have made a hole-in-one on one of them it is extremely hard to pick your favorite as they all have fantastic features.  If you are playing the farthest tee forward the only par 3 that has a forced carry is #12, in fact from those tees it is the only forced carry on the golf course.

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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.

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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.

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Hole 8: “The Serpent” Par 4; plays 487 to 336 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on May 6th, 2015

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Is one of my favorite holes, the tees shot is partially blind off the tee, many players may not be able to see their landing area.  This causes anxiety in some players as they are unsure where to aim, as they need confidence in their swing to produce good results.  The tee shot can be played by hitting it at the right bunker with a slight draw or starting it at the left bunker with a fade.

 

The hole can be very long depending on the tees played.  There are 3 factors that shorten the hole’s true playing distance:  the prevailing wind is straight downwind, once past the initial uphill portion the fairway then gentle slopes downhill, the green runs from front to back allowing shots to roll farther.

 

There is a bunker that appears to be greenside and causes an illusion putting doubt about the true distance in the approach shot. The bunker is actually about 50 yards in front of that green. There’s a huge bail out area, just beyond that bunker that leaves a player with a good opportunity for par.

 

The green is a reverse tier, reverse sloping green; it’s modeled after one of Alister MacKenzie’s favorite greens he did at Crystal Downs.  The green actually slopes away from you, and then there’s a tier that slopes away from you.  It’s very unsettling when you can’t see the bottom of the flag.  It is very uncommon; it looks like it has a shorter flagstick then the rest of the course.  Players are used to not seeing the bottom of the flag, when it is uphill shot, but when it is downhill and reverse, it brings in a whole new set of feelings.

 

The Serpent reconfirmed what I have always felt, that blind shots and illusions are an integral part of the game and far from representing tricked up holes.

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Hole 6: “Eunoe” Par 4, plays 434 to 241 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on April 18th, 2015

 

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On paper and on first site this hole looks very benign, during normal play conditions quite a few players have a hard time remembering the specifics of this hole after the round.  The tee shot is shaped by three fairway bunkers and the landing area is fairly wide, leaving an approach shot between 165 to 155 yards to the green.  The players who have length as an asset can challenge the bunker on the right and leave themselves with just a wedge shot into the green.

 

This hole completely changes when we install tournament conditions, just a slight increase of green speeds make a world of difference on this hole.   The green has a Seth Raynor style hogback that routes it way through the green, creating three separate tiers.  If you are on the correct tier the player will have an excellent opportunity for a birdie, the wrong tier increases the odds of a three putt and makes par a good score.  If a player challenges the back left pin position then a bunker behind the green comes into play and makes par almost impossible.

 

“Eunoe” has had the distinction of the highest scoring average in relationship to par during our last 3 Indiana Major events.   Unfortunately, a high number of very good players walk off this green shaking their head at what just happened to their round.

 

Hole #6 was recently featured by Athlon Sports in their article “18 Holes to Play in 2015”

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Hole 2: “Stains of the Inferno” Par 4; plays 462 to 295 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on March 31st, 2015

lake on golf course indiana

Number 2 is where the course really starts it is a classic “cape hole” design.  The definition of a “cape hole” is a hole on a golf course that plays around a large, lateral hazard, and presents a risk-reward tee shot. That hazard is often water, and such water might extend the entire length of the hole. The fact that the fairway on a cape hole gently curves around the hazard means that golfers on the tee face a risk-reward decision: Carrying more of the hazard means placing your drive farther down the fairway, but also creates greater risk of losing your ball in the hazard.  The key point is that a cape hole forces you to think about how much of the hazard you want to cut off in order to carry your ball closer to the green.

 

The hole has a series of bunkers on the opposite side of the fairways that frame the hole and add even more visual intimidation.  I have heard from many players that their first thought is where I drive it, which is the thought process the architect wanted the player to determine before teeing off.  At this point our touchscreen GPS units come in extremely handy in assisting with you decision.  Just a quick reminder that depending on the line you choose to pursue it could be all carry, so remember to subtract the roll from your normal tee shot.  The hole can be played without ever having a forced carry, playing it this way usually will leave the player with a short iron left on their 3rd shot trying to get-up and down for your par the advantage to this route is that it usually eliminates a score higher than bogey.  Your better player is going to get in more trouble than your average player.

 

The staff encourages members and frequent players to play from one of the closest tee markers and the hole becomes a drivable par 4 that can really be a turning point in the match.  By utilizing different tee markers you can play a different course out here every time you play.

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How are Golf Courses Rated?

By: Brian Rhodes on March 24th, 2015

Purgatory Golf Club has won numerous awards throughout the years for having an outstanding golf course.  Quite frequently we are asked how these awards are determined. Many believe their favorite course is ranked behind other courses they may have experienced. They believe the rankings are skewed to a raters personal opinions and not very objective. Below is the criteria that Golf Digest raters use to determine these rankings. As you will notice, there is a formula to how they evaluate the courses. We thought this may be interesting and informative. You may enjoy this formula for evaluation the next time you play.

 

Golf Digest Criteria – each criteria is rated using a 10 point scale

  1. Shot Values How well does the course pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?
  2. Resistance to Scoring How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?
  3. Design Variety How varied are the golf course’s holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?
  4. Memorability How well do the design features (tees, fairways, greens, hazards, vegetation and terrain) provide individuality to each hole, yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?
  5. Aesthetics How well do the scenic values of the course (including landscaping, vegetation, water features and backdrops) add to the pleasure of a round?
  6. Conditioning How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?
  7. Ambience How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

 

The average of each category is then totaled, double-weighting the Shot Values category with the result being the courses total point value.  A course needs 45 evaluations over the past eight years to be eligible for America’s 100 Greatest. The minimum ballots for 100 Greatest Public is 25, for Best in State 10.

 

While we enjoy the recognition and the awards, what we really find special is the enjoyment and interaction we have with our customers detailing their favorite aspects of our facility.  In the upcoming weeks we will blog about our favorite holes and the most interesting characteristics of Purgatory for you to observe as you experience the course.

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