When designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. made Prairie View Golf Club his first Indiana project in 1997, he peppered 18 holes across 206 acres of natural beauty. His design hugs the White River, which rings the course on three sides, but only interferes with shots at four holes. Native grasses trim the entire perimeter of the former soybean- and cornfields, while oak, sycamore beech, and cottonwood trees surround the back nine holes. But the natural obstacles pale in comparison to the manmade impediments – 90 sand traps, including one that stretches 135 yards, make the par-72 course a challenge for even the most avid golfer. Creative flagstick positioning invites visitors to modify their technique for approach shots, with an emphasis on precision rather than power, much like surgically extracting a swallowed engagement ring.
For some added muscle on the course, patrons can practice swings at golf lessons or map out a plan of attack over breakfast at The Albatross Grille, which overlooks the course.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, Par 72 Course * Total length of 7,000 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Though it only has 9 greens and fairways, Balmoral Golf Club can easily be treated as a full 18-hole course. Each of the 9 holes has 2 completely separate tee boxes, which extend from as short as 130 yards to as long as 443. While the latter isn't actually all that long by most standards, the overall effect welcomes golfers of all levels. The challenging course doesn't force beginners and shorter hitters out of their comfort zones, while more experienced players have plenty of room to polish swings. At the culmination of a 9- or 18-hole round or 26.2-hole marathon, players can head into the stately clubhouse, which anchors the 45-acre grounds with private locker rooms and a relaxation deck.
With an 18-hole course, indoor and outdoor driving ranges, and three simulators, Gray Eagle Golf Course & Academy fashions itself as a golf destination dedicated to enjoyable play and improvement. On the course, golfers can play from one of four sets of tees for their journey over the tees, greens, and fairways of bentgrass?a soft material known for its short root system, not its belief that every golfer is a supernatural being. Measuring 6,739 yards from the back tees, the layout may feel longer because holes 1, 9, 10, and 18 are each par 5s, bookending the front and back nines with 500-yard behemoths. When the weather fails to cooperate, the academy keeps golfers swinging with ample opportunities for indoor play, including a massive indoor practice facility, heated and covered outdoor driving-range stalls, and indoor simulators loaded with such world-renowned courses as Kapalua Plantation, Pinehurst No. 2, and St. Andrews.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,739 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 131 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard