A statue of the devious Pete Dye with a very appropriate quote.
When the idea for a golf and gaming feature came up in our weekly Monday meeting a few months ago, Mac and I jumped at the chance to put our names next to it. That meeting several months ago led us to this: a chance to be the first ones on the course at the incredible Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. I have been privileged to play several beautiful courses in my short 26 years but this golf course trumped them all. The fact that it was the toughest test of golf I had ever encountered did nothing to quell my enthusiasm. As Mac and I headed out for the course at 7:00 AM, I made a simple goal for myself: break 90. I learned very quickly, though, that simply breaking 100 would be a much more reasonable goal!
If you don't know much about Pete Dye, simply Google his name. He was one of the most accomplished and influential golf course designers in the world. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in late 2008. He no longer designs courses but his influence will live on forever. If you ever get the chance to play a Pete Dye course, I suggest you take it. He was the inventor of "volcano" bunkers; these bunkers rise up out of the ground on all sides like volcanoes, and I was lucky to avoid all of them on that day.
I was joking with Mac on the way to the course that I was going to beat up on him that day. I'm 30 years younger. I should beat him, right? But it turned out that consistency and accuracy won this day. He beat me by a few strokes. I had never been on a course where accuracy was so incredibly valuable. Putting it in the rough off the tee was akin to a one-stroke penalty. I even elected to hit 3-iron off the tee on a couple of holes just to make sure I stayed in the narrow fairways. Looking back on it, that was a strategy I should've utilized quite a bit more!
We were extremely lucky to have an interview set up after our round with Jan Tellstrom, the Head Pro at the Pete Dye Course. I was able to get some great video of Mac and Jan conversing about the history of the course and the resort itself, all set with a beautiful backdrop behind. Jan noted that the Pete Dye Course is a "destination" course. People come from all over to play that course and it's brother, the Donald Ross Course. Jan noted that most people that visit the French Lick Resort (which has a great casino as well) come for the golf and not the gaming. Sure, they may hit the tables after their round, but the vast majority of singles and groups that visit the French Lick Resort are their for the golf over anything else.
At the end of the day, I was humbled. Thoroughly worn out and thoroughly humbled. I came in with a goal to break 90, but that went out the window just a few holes in. I hoped to hang on to a score in double digits but it wasn't to be. I do have to say, though, on a course that incredibly difficult, I guess I'll settle for a 102. I was there more for the experience, and there was plenty of that. It was a great day on a great golf course. If you're ever close to French Lick, Indiana, I suggest you make your way over to the golf course and play a round!
Taking aim! This is probably one of those holes on which I should've used a 3-iron!
A beautiful patio. We could see several holes from here. Not a bad spot to have a post-round meal.