A Golfer’s Guide to Indiana’s Most Beautiful Courses

The U.S. Masters Tournament has been capturing imaginations and delighting fans for almost 90 years — and 2021’s tournament was definitely exciting.

For the first time in history, a Japanese man won a golf major: Hideki Matsuyama walked away with the green winner’s jacket after finishing 10 under par — edging ahead of American runner-up Will Zalatoris by a single shot.

Whether watching The Masters made you remember just how much you love the game or merely got you interested in starting, you need more than clubs and caddy: You need a great course.

Fortunately, Indiana has plenty to offer — including right here in Indianapolis. If you’re looking for a place to play that’s both interesting and beautiful, here are some suggestions that are designed for broad appeal. Beginners, dabblers and hard-core golf enthusiasts alike will find something on this list that’s exciting:

The Pete Dye Course — French Lick

Ranked by Golfweek as the top of the pack among Best Courses You Can Play in 2021, this course is famous for being built on “unplayable” land by world-famous architect of golf Pete Dye himself. The resort sits on rough land that’s full of rugged beauty and challenging terrain — but you can also enjoy a more traditional green designed by notable architect Donald Ross or nine-hole Valley Links Course that sits adjacent to the stunning French Lick Springs Hotel. Either way, you won’t be disappointed with the challenge or the view!

The Fort Golf Resort — Indy

Part of the famed Pete Dye Golf Trail, this isn’t just one of the best public golf courses in Indiana — it’s arguably one of the best in the entire country! The Fort Golf Resort was named the winner of “Best Layout in America” in 2019 by Golf Advisor. Adjacent to Indiana State Park, visitors to this resort can expect to see tree-lined fairways, undulating greens and plenty of scenic hills alongside an 18-hole championship layout — all just a 15-minute ride from downtown Indy proper. 

Chariot Run — Laconia

Designed by Bill Bergin, this course was ranked fourth by Golfweek as Best Course You Can Play in 2018. Chariot Run is an equestrian-themed course that has 18 holes spread over 7,200 yards full of stunning fairways, eye-popping lakes, gorgeous greens and tons of trees — plus there’s a state-of-the-art clubhouse (complete with bar and grill) where you can unwind after a set.

Eagle Creek Golf Club — Indy

Long considered one of Indiana’s best public golf facilities, this club is just a short distance away from downtown and is open to the public. Renovated by Pete Dye in recent years, Eagle Creek has two 18-hole courses that cut through gorgeous natural areas, including wetlands, animal terrain and rolling hills. The Pines is great for golfers of all skill levels, while the Sycamore course is designed to test even seasoned players.

Noble Hawk — Kendallville

Described at times as a perfect combo of traditional golf and links, Noble Hawk bills itself as Indiana’s most unique public golf facility. You can find sand, water, tree-lined fairways and more, all of which combine to a picture-perfect atmosphere in which to play some of the finest rounds of golf. Noble Hawk also prides itself on excellent professional standards and service, which makes for a very enjoyable round or two, indeed.

Michigan City Golf Course — Michigan City

If you’re looking for a “country club” feel (without the country club prices), the Michigan City Municipal Golf Course is a great little executive course with plenty of par-3 holes that make for a relaxing experience for any golfer who wants to take it a little easy right now. The North Course has a total of 3,531 yards and is great for beginners, while the South Course is a more challenging 6,169 yards and par-72, and both are filled with plenty of natural beauty.

Brickyard Crossing Golf Course — Indy

Consistently appearing in the top 100 American Public Golf Courses by both Golf Digest and Golfweek, the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course was another achievement by the renowned Pete Dye. Fourteen holes neighbor the backstretch of the race track, and four holes sit inside the oval — which makes this an exciting, interesting and utterly fascinating place to play a few rounds.

Smock Golf Course — Indy

Remember how we promised something for beginners? The Smock Golf Course is publicly owned and has a free practice facility. With a Silver Course Rating from Indy’s Parks and Rec Association, this facility is passionate about two things: Nature and Golf. Filled with tee boxes suitable for beginners at any age, the folks here are dedicated to growing love for the game one new golfer at a time — and the surroundings are simply stunning.

The Trophy Club — Lebanon

Created by Tim Liddy (Pete Dye’s protege) as his first solo project, the fairways of The Trophy Club are bordered by tall, native grasses and the fairways are lush and green. The rolling terrain here is widely considered some of the most breathtaking in golf, and the 18-hole course is built to USGA specifications. A true “hidden gem,” this is one spot you don’t want to overlook on your golfing journey.

In short, Indiana has everything you can want if you’re a golfer — whether you live here or are just looking for a weekend get-away. (One of these courses may not be enough, however, so you might want to plan for a longer stay!)