We are pleased to announce that an 11′ tall sculpture of our award winning logo will be installed behind the 1st tee on October 3rd!
There are two artists that made this possible.
First is Martin Schliessmann who is an Indianapolis-based Marketing Strategist and Graphic Designer. Martin designed our brand identity and marketing materials, including our Addy Award winning logo. Martin is also lead partner with Escape Route Flix, LLC, where he directed the video documentary “Why Sturgis?” and is currently producing a documentary about the Indiana wine industry (details at www.EscapeRouteFlix.com ).
The second artist involved is Scott Westphal (www.westphalsculpture.com). Scott is the celebrated local artist who designed the 11′ tall metal sculpture and had it fabricated from one-inch thick, rust-resistant aluminum.
You’re invited to pose for pictures at the statue’s base and share your images on social media using #IconPGC, #PurgatoryIcon, or #DivineCamaraderie. You can also make a “Daily Offering” by placing a donation in the donation box that will be set up shortly after the sculpture is installed; monies raised will benefit local charities.
The Purgatory Golf Club Icon
Above you can see 3 stages of the sculpture’s development. The first two pictures show the fabricated sculpture pre-paint. The 3rd image is the sculpture after it was painted with the PGC logo colors. It is difficult to get the scale of this artwork as nothing is in the image except the sculpture. We look forward to posting images soon after it is installed so you can get a better sense of scale, at least until you can come see it for yourself!
We are so happy to welcome the Noblesville High School Boys Varsity Golf Team to Purgatory today. They’ve been practicing at Fox Prairie, a wonderful golf course just 10 minutes from here, and today they will begin the 2nd part of their practice sessions right here in our backyard. Tenna enjoys being the unofficial team photographer so you will likely see more images of the team as they practice and compete popping up on this page. The team has won three out of four dual matches. The dual matches are nine hole tournaments pitting a single school against another and played during the week.
The team also plays in invitationals, which are much bigger 18 hole tournaments that are played on the weekend. Noblesville came in 4th at their 1st invitational the Don Dicken Invitational out of 14 teams. This past weekend the team competed at the Bob Spacey Invitational held at Fox Prairie here in Noblesville. It was a large and competitive field, with 24 teams present. Noblesville came in 2nd.
Left to right: Grant Neterer (12), Collin Kinkead (12), Clay Merchent (9), Parker Deakyne (11), Jacob Deakyne (9) and Mitchell Compton (11).
How to Create Amazing Golf Course Images
1. Do your homework first
- Get on the golf course’s website and look at their photography, illustrations, and yardage book.
- Try to figure out which holes you would like to photograph. Do they have a signature hole? A signature hole is usually the most visually appealing, most photographed and most recognizable hole. (Yes I realize I just used ‘most’ three times in a row, but it’s worth the emphasis.) Why would you want to photograph something everyone else has shot? Because you want to put your spin on it, add your style, maybe hand paint it, or just beef up your portfolio.
- Read about the architecture; are there any important golf course architecture elements you want to make sure you capture?
- Find out who is in charge at the pro shop, the title will normally be Head Professional (called head pro) or Director of Golf. Also find out the name of the Superintendent, this is the person who is in charge of the grounds crew.
2. Call the Head Pro or Director of Golf
- Don’t e-mail, send a Facebook message, or drop by. Pick up the phone and call. Golf pros are getting solicited all the time for all kinds of stuff, be considerate. Introduce yourself. Briefly explain your credentials and goals for the shoot. Offer to send a link to a gallery of your best landscape images (not portraits or travel). Better yet, if you have a book of landscape images offer to mail it or drop it by the course.
- Explain that you’d like to come out on two separate days. One day to scout and another to take pictures. Do not try to scout and shoot on the same day that is a recipe for lame images.
- Your ability to gain access depends on the course. If it is a public course this increases the odds they will let you on. If it is a private course many pros will still let you on if you offer to let them use some of the images you create.
- When you talk to the head pro ask:
- Which holes are the prettiest, most unusual, talked about, hated, where do people lose the most balls? These questions can spur great image titles, “The most terrifyingly beautiful green in the Midwest, Purgatory Golf Club’s 8th hole.”
- Where are the most ‘hole in ones?’ People who shoot a hole in one often want to buy a picture of that hole.
- When is the course at it best, daybreak or sunset?
- What day of the week is the least busy? Is there a morning when the golf course is closed for maintenance? If there is, that is the day you want to be there.
- After the pro has warmed up to you, ask if they can provide a guide. Why do I recommend a guide? When it comes time to go out of the course you either need to: 1) understand how not to piss off the golfers out there, and not damage their beautiful golf course, or 2) have a guide. I suggest a guide. Even though I own a golf course, and have played golf for years, when I go out to shoot, my mind is on one thing, getting the shot. I am not thinking about what kind of trouble I am going to cause for their clients or grounds crew. If I shoot in the morning I want someone from the grounds crew driving me around because then if we come to a hole where the maintenance crew is working, my guide can ask them to step aside while I shoot. If it’s at night and I don’t know the course I’d like someone from the proshop to drive me around.
4. Time of Day and Sunlight
- You need to shoot at sunrise or sunset for film and DSRL cameras. The only exception to this rule is infrared cameras. For infrared, the middle of a sunny day is best. But if you are shooting traditional color or black and white images, it needs to be during one of the golden hours, no exception!!!
5. Scouting is your best friend
- I scout the location at least an hour before sunrise or sunset. The day of the actual shoot I am on property about an hour before sunrise, probably 1 ½ hours before sunset, and in position to begin shooting 30 minutes later.
- It isn’t just the time of day that is important. The light from the sun has to actually be hitting the putting green, or whatever aspect of the golf course is your subject. So if the putting green is surrounded by trees that block the rays of the sunrise, I come back at sunset, and vice versa. I need to figure that out during my scout, not the day of the shoot.
- If you intend to shoot in the morning, the best-case scenario is to have the golf course Superintendent or assistant superintendent take you out on the course. That way if the maintenance crew is in your shot (which you don’t want) the superintendent can ask them to step aside while you shoot.
6. Get up as High as You Can
- Your images will be better if you are looking down on the fairway and putting green. You can stand up on a hill or the back of the golf cart.
- Do not try to climb up on top of the golf cart. I’ve even hired a cherry picker (also called a bucket truck) to get a good angle on the putting green.
7. The Subject of your image
- The putting green, when in doubt shoot the putting green! This is what gets golfers all excited. Make sure you capture the undulations in the green; you show these with shadows, one of the many reasons you need to shoot at daybreak or sunset.
- A shot from the tees into the green
- Approach shot into the green, that means you’re in the fairway and if you were a golfer you’d be hitting your next shot onto the green,
- Shots from across the water towards the green
- Par three holes because you can often get the complete hole from the tees. This makes for a really cool image.
- The sprinklers going off in the morning over the putting green
- From behind the putting green looking across it towards the fairway
- The Clubhouse
- Images that could have been taken anywhere like a park
- Weeds, and if there are ugly weeds in an otherwise lovely shot, get rid of them in post
- Backs of golfers
- Average wildlife images
- Power lines are best avoided. Sometimes you can strategically place a tree between you and the power lines to get the shot.
- Clear skies are boring. Cloudy skies add interest.
Don’t shoot golfers without their prior approval. If a golfer hears the sound of a noisy DSLR during their backswing you are going to have a problem.
Decide if you are going to shoot at daybreak or sunset, then figure out where the sun rises and sets over the course. Where can you frame the most intriguing sunrise/sunset?
- The good news is your gear does not have to be professional grade.
- You can shoot golf course landscape images with gear that costs less than $2,000. I started with a Nikon D90 (cost less than $700) and a Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens (cost around $500) a basic tripod, and a cable release. I had a decent camera bag, a LowerPro Slingshot which cost about $45, and a couple of memory cards. But that was everything! Those images I took in my early days are still some of my favorites.
- The brand of camera does not matter. I now own and shoot with Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Lumix, Sony and sometimes even my iPhone. But I didn’t start out with all this gear; I acquired it slowly over the years. I use different cameras for different purposes. And I rarely sell my old gear because as soon as I do I realize I now need if for some special project.
- The camera body does need to the ability to bracket, shoot in raw, and offer high speed continuous shooting.
- Lens selection – a wide-angle lens is the traditional choice for landscape. As I said, I started with an 18-280mm f/3.5-6.3. I now often shoot with a 14mm fisheye, which I put on a tripod, and carry a second body with a zoom that I handhold. I remember the president of my 1st camera club pompously lecturing me “Expensive lens are what separates the landscape pros from the amateurs!” That’s hogwash. You can create beautiful golf course landscape images with an entry-level lens. It’s everything else like light, preparation and artistic vision that separates you from the pack. You can’t buy talent and hard work.
- You need a decent tripod that has legs where you can vary the length. If I am on the side of a hill, I need to be able to have one leg be short and the other two longer. I also like a reasonably light tripod. I’m already carrying so much gear I don’t want my tripod to be an albatross.
- A cable release is essential.
- Get your sensor cleaned, and check your lens for dust. If you end up combining your bracketed images with an HDR program every imperfection in the sky will show up. You will save yourself a lot of post processing time if you take care of your sensor and lens ahead of time.
9. Camera Settings (We Photographers love our technical stuff)
- I shoot at the lowest native ISO my camera supports. For my current camera it is ISO 100.
- I shoot in raw, with my backup memory card set to jpeg fine, just in case something goes wrong with my primary card.
- I set my white balance to cloudy, this can be changed in postproduction, but I put a lot of thought into my starting point and I want it to best my chance of success with the least amount of work.
- I set my picture control to either portrait or vivid, I know some snob out there just gasped out loud when I said I use Vivid. Well I’ve tried them all, and I like the two extremes you can get from portrait and vivid. Portrait will give you the image with the least contrast and vivid will give you the image with the most vibrant colors. (You can also change this in postproduction).
- I set my camera to aperture control with an F-stop of f-11 or higher. I’ve played with f-2.8 and a long lens and I HATED it. I stick to the classics now. If I want the sun, or lights on the clubhouse to create a star effect, I’ll go to the smallest aperture available on my camera lens body combo supports like f-22 or f-32.
- I use bracket mode, one stop separation for each capture, and a minimum of three exposures. Sometimes I go as high as nine exposures with a one-stop gap between each. The downside to the nine exposures is on the overexposed side can take a long time, and I have messed up a series thinking it had finished.
- I use high-speed continuous shooting mode so that when I hit the cable release the camera to shoots the entire series. If I don’t have it set to high speed continuous it just shoots the first bracketed exposure, and I have to count and keep clicking the cable release, and make sure I don’t mess it up.
- Bracketing is crucial to my golf course photography. The dynamic range between the sky and golf course is often more than my camera and postproduction software can handle with one exposure. I’ve experimented with a lot of different bracketing settings. Today I use a minimum of three exposures with at 1 stop difference between each exposure. If I like the sky on the darkest exposure I will use just 3 exposures.
- I’ll go to 5, 7, or 9 if I don’t like the sky. I’ve read and heard some speakers say they want the underexposed image to go almost to black. I don’t do that, I just want a rich sky with lots of detail. Over bracketing is really time consuming. I don’t want to waste my time.
11. The Night Before the Shoot
- Charge your camera battery
- Make sure you have freshly formatted memory cards in your camera, and backups in your camera bag
- Pick your lens, and make sure it is properly attached and clean. The traditional lens for landscape is a wide-angle lens. Btw, I never change my lens out on the course, too much of a chance that dust will get on my sensor.
- Select your camera settings so you don’t have to be fooling around with them in the dark if it is daybreak. I pick the lowest native ISO my camera offers, aperture priority, an f-stop somewhere between f-11 and f-22. I use f-22 if I want to get a star effect from the sun. I set it to bracket a minimum of 3 stops, and high speed continuous shooting so that when I hit the cable release it will shoot the whole bracket.
- Pack a tiny flashlight, or if your phone has one that can work too.
- Set out water repellant boots because you are going to be walking in wet grass
- Take Kleenex, the cold morning air often makes your nose run.
- Pack a bottle of water
- Plan on wearing layers, it often starts out cold and gets warmer as the sun rises.
- Get your tripod ready, and attach the quick release plate to the bottom of your camera or lens.
- Attach your cable release to your camera. Since it’s daybreak, you’re going to be shooting in low light part of the time. It may seem obvious, but don’t swing the cable release, or yank on it or jiggle it. You want the camera to be very still.
- Get a good night sleep and set your alarm clock so you are on time.
12. The Day of the Shoot
- Wear bug spray,
- Waterproof or water resistant boots,
- Tuck your pants into your boots. You may be hiking in tall grass, and I have personally ended up with creepy crawly bugs up my pants because I didn’t want to look goofy. Suck it up and look goofy, it will be worth it because you will be comfortable and safe. I have also heard snakes inches from my feet. If there is tall grass, there is wildlife that you don’t want to take home with you.
- Be at the course early, and in position to shoot at least 30 minutes before you expect to start shooting.
- Get to your location, set your tripod up, make sure the cable release is attached properly, frame the shot and wait.
Hell’s Half Acre is probably the most visually interesting or dramatic hole on the course. This hole is an island green, par 3 surrounded by a sea of sand. The 8 bunkers total just over a half acre of sand. This was one of the first hole that was designed, it naturally fit into the topography and very little ground was moved during construction on #17.
The hole is designed to where the longer distance tee boxes have a more difficult angle of approach. The forward tee boxes have a more receptive and inviting angle to the green. The green is slightly elevated and appears much smaller than actual. Hell’s Half Acre has a very large green with the total depth being 37 paces. Depending on the hole position, this could mean up to a 3 club difference in selection for most players.
There is an on-going debate as to whether this or #13 is our signature hole.
Blinding Cloud of Smoke is one of the most intimidating tee shots on the golf course. The hole is framed on both sides of the fairway by bunkers. There is a total of 10 fairway bunkers on this hole. If you play the either of the back two tee boxes the aiming line is over the right edge of first bunker on the left, just before the fairway starts. From either of those tees boxes the fairway is mostly hidden which raises the player’s anxiety over the tee shot. The fairway widens out in a couple of areas, making club choice off of the critical and leaving the player several options to attack the hole. The approach shot is uphill to a kidney-shaped angled green, with bunkers surrounding most of the green.
The interesting thing about this hole is as intimidating as it looks from the tee to the green, upon the completion of the hole, turn around and look back toward the tee, the bunkers magically disappear, just like smoke. Now it looks like the easiest hole on the course. While we wish we could take credit for this unique design feature we actually honored Alister MacKenzie, who was the first architect to implement this into a course design.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.