Dateline: August 7, 2020 – Indiana Golf

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The Beginning of Our “Masked” Travels

Thanks to Janice’s sister in law Marilyn Roberts who made a bunch of great masks so we had a choice for our “Mask  Look” each day!!

We start our summer trip with four days in Indiana playing college golf courses at a Golf Week Rater Retreat. John drove up, stopping in Raleigh for a few days with the family, then on to Indianapolis to pick up Janice.  Janice spent the weekend enjoying the HOT! HUMID! weather in Central Florida playing in the Florida State 4-ball tournament.  She was delighted to arrive to low 70 temperatures!

Golfweek Indiana College RetreatThe golf retreat was to give us a better understanding of the criteria and the pleasure of visiting and playing some of the wonderful and challenging College Campus Golf Courses in Indiana.  The other players were from various states around the country.  Ratings are based on a number of criteria such as memorability of the holes and the “walk-in-the-park-test.”  The raters then give each course an overall rating.

The College Campus Courses are generally open to public play and a lot of fun.  Here is a link to Golfweeks Top 30 College Courses.

Indiana University

Indiana University,  located in Bloomfield Indiana was the first stop. The PFAU course at Indiana University just opened this year after a total re-make.  The Pfau family has a long and rich history with Indiana University and IU Athletics and their generous contribution made this happen.

The course was designed by Steve Smyers and Hoosier native Fuzzy Zoeller. The course is 7900 yards from the tips, we played from the white tees about 6200 yards, felt like 7000..Yikes.   Taking a look from the back tees was an experience, John joked he, on his best day, couldn’t reach the fairway!

The greens are bent grass, fairways are zoysia grass, roughs are bluegrass and the rest is a fescue grass (like Ireland). It was a very hilly course lots of doglegs with fescue surrounding the fairway bunkers.  This will be a popular college course and will eventually get ranked in the top 30 “College Campus Courses” by Golfweek.

The course was full of character and a great challenge, it was a pleasant day, and we two Floridians enjoyed the cool weather!  After golf, we drove about two hours north where we checked into our hotel for the night.

Purdue University-Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex

We arrived at the course early to play 36 holes with a grab and go lunch box between 18 holes.

The first round was on The Kampen Course, the result of the Purdue-Dye collusion in 1996. This is a unique links-style layout with strategically placed waste bunkers, native grasslands, man-made wetlands, and large greens. Measuring over 7,400 yards from the championship tees. The layout presents a challenge for golfers of all abilities with vast sand bunkers, native grasslands, ponds, and a natural celery bog. A wonderful morning of play.

In the afternoon we played the Ackerman-Allen Course, a Pete Dye design, is an 18-hole, parkland-style, golf course featuring large bent-grass greens, fairways, and tees. The layout presents a challenge for golfers of all abilities with rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, white sand bunkers, and minimal water hazards.

The joy of playing both the Pete Dye courses at Purdue was the dramatic difference in the two courses, the “links” style, and the more traditional classic layout.

Ryan and Greg

We were paired with a father and son dual, Ryan and his father Greg  Deckard from Spokane, Washington.  It made for a special day.  Greg belongs to the “old” Spokane Country Club where John had his first golf lesson.  His mother grew up at the club and his grandfather, Han Fairweather had been the president and a board member in the 1930s.  We wrote about playing at the club last year on our trip through Washington. (Link to Post)  Ryan was a delight, hit the ball farther than John could see!  He works with his father and it is such a pleasure to see a father and son as such good friends!

When we finished we spent some time with the Devon Brouse, the women’s golf coach.  Devon was the Director of Golf when both golf courses were done by Pete Dye and had interesting stories on working with Dye.  Devon graduated from Purdue with a degree in TURF.   Pete Dye liked working with him and had him help with the agronomy on many of the courses in the midwest Dye worked on between 1998 and 2005.

We could not leave Purdue without a toast to Janice’s nephew Jason Roberts, a graduate of Purdue. Jason is a software engineer now working and living in Nashville, Tennessee.


Culver  Academy

Tuesday morning schedule was to play a 9 hole course at Culver Academy, ranked the number 2 course in the college rankings. When we arrived we discovered that you had to walk and carry. The course was very hilly and with Janice’s Achilles problem walking was not an option. The course was built in 1924, originally to be 27 holes, the best 9 holes were built first with the rest to follow, unfortunately, that never happened. In 2008 Bobby Weed was approached to take a look to see if it could be restored. He said, “It was said it was like opening a barn door and seeing a 356 Porsche under dust”. It was not until 2013 that restoration began, it is now 3 par3’s, 4’s and 5’s, about 3300 yards.

Swan Lake Golf in Plymouth, Indiana

This was not a college course but was a good afternoon stop after the 9 holes of golf the group played at Culver Academy. We had played this course last year when driving thru Indiana. Chad Hutsell, Director of Golf, recognized us from last year and sent us out to play 9 holes while we waited for the others to arrive from Culver Academies. The golf courses at Swan Lake have a great history.

A farmer named Roy Swanson ran one of the largest chicken farms in the country.   While on a promotional poultry trip to Illinois he struck up a conversation with another poultry farmer who had recently built some golf holes on his unused property.

Always intrigued by new ideas, Roy got addicted to golf and planed out and developed 3 golf holes on his property.  He then contacted Al Humphrey, a local golf architect, and soon three holes for the family grew into a 9-holes.  He added an additional 27 holes culminating into two 18-hole courses. Swan Lake Resort officially opened on Memorial Day weekend in 1969.  At the time it was a destination for golf school and they hosted thousands each summer.

The resort was purchased in 2000 by the Richard Klinger family that owned the RV manufacturer Holiday Rambler. 

Janice played with the ladies and John played with the guys. The ladies had a bet, the last person with 3 pars in a row wins $1. Theresa Stotler, from Ohio, Debbie Mooksang (golf friend from Florida that is also a rater) and Janice were playing. Debbie had 2 pars, and Theresa had 2, Debbie gets a Birdie..oh no..she had to get a par..Well, it was Theresa’s idea, she knew the game. Janice signed her dollar and handed it over to Theresa. Another great day of golf for all.

Notre Dame

There is so much to say about Notre Dame.  Football tradition, God and of course Golf!  John remembers writing his first book report in elementary school on Knute Rockne, the great legend of football.  Then of course is Lou Holtz!

Holtz once said when asked about becoming the most winning coach at Notre Dame:

“I have no desire in the world to become the most winning coach at Notre Dame.  The record belongs to Knute Rockne or some other coach in the future.”

His record:
100 wins
30 losses
7 ties
1988 National Championship

A famous motivational speaker he reduced his philosophy to:



William K. and Natalie O. Warren Golf Course

The William K. and Natalie O. Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame opened in the fall

John at the driving range
Bill Cook and Ben Crenshaw Design

of 1999 thanks to the generous benefaction of William K. Warren, Jr., ND class of 1956.  Named in honor of his parents, the golf course perfectly links three of Bill Warren’s abiding passions – his family, golf, and Notre Dame.  He has funded a number of improvements that have helped the golf course garner recognition as one of the top collegiate courses in the country.  Last year the U.S. Men’s Senior Open was played at Notre Dame.

A beautiful links-style course comfortably nestled on 250 wooded acres. The course is preserved as a wildlife habitat and has received the coveted Audubon International certification. Lush fescue fairways, softly rolling terrain, and the golden dome in the background make the course a beauty to behold.

The course was excellent, great to play and like Indiana University and Purdue a great test of golf. We played with a couple, Theresa & Bob Stotler from Ohio,  they have been rating courses for over 25 years, what fun!

We had lunch with all the folks that were at the retreat and the Men’s and Women’s golf coaches talked with us about the course and their teams. Unfortunately, the ACC will have no golf competition this year because of Covid19.

We said our goodbyes to everyone and drove to Dublin Ohio, our next stop at the Columbus Zoo.




  1. Stuart Shull

    Very cool!

    1. John and Janice

      Stu, thanks. We look forward to coming down some time this winter to play the North course after we get rid of COVID pandemonium in Broward!

      1. kathy O'Brien

        You guys always have a great time!!! Love the masks!! I don’t use this e-mail address anymore please change it to I don’t want to miss anything. Please call me when you come to visit, miss you guys!!! 🙂

        1. John and Janice

          After all this virus is over we will get down. We talked to Mike about getting the two of you up here this fall, hopefully we can put that together.

  2. Ann Beavers

    Good to see you enjoying my stomping ground…PU, IU, and Culver all have family ties.

    1. John and Janice

      Best to you and Ruth. Amazing the small world, that we would be visiting your family areas. Loved all of it. Culver was really a beautifle campus and the town is adorable on the lake.

  3. Ryan Deckard

    It was our pleasure to spend the afternoon with you two! It was the highlight of our trip. Thanks for including us in this post, hope our paths cross again soon.

    1. John and Janice

      Ryan, thank you so much. Our paths will cross again and best to your father. If he gets to Sarasota later in the fall we will atempt to catch up with him.

  4. Sandra Wanner

    Exciting to here about your Golf outing and the multiple courses you played.

    1. John and Janice

      Sandy and John, thank you so much for the email. We hope that your travels will bring you to Florida and we certainly look forward to a future visit to Portland.

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