BLACKTHORN GOLF CLUB ( 574-232-4653)
Indiana Golf Course Review
Blackthorn Golf Club in NW Indiana (near South Bend) is a special golfing experience - and proud recipient of many prestigious awards including 4 1/2 stars (Golf Digest 2002), 5 stars (Chicagoland Golf 2002) ,Top 100 Women-Friendly Golf Course (Golf Magazine for Women 1999), Best Course in Indiana (Indiana Business Magazine 1998) and # 4 Best New Public Course in the U.S. (Golf Digest 1996). Its location makes it easily accessible from Southern Michigan, Northeastern Ohio and the Chicago area as well. In fact, it is only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago.
The property takes pride in its resort style customer service and top notch facilities and conditioning. Even on a chilly overcast spring morning, the course was awash in natural beauty, with a variety of holes spread out over acres of secluded terrain. This world class golf is available to the public at rates that are completely reasonable for a course of such stature.
With the Blackthorn Golf Academy on property, the practice facilities here are excellent, and include a driving range, practice green and short game area. Banquet and outing facilities can facilitate groups of various sizes, and the pro shop features a variety of attire and golf accessories. On the course, each sculpted tee provides distance markers measured to the center of the green, and the day's pin placement is indicated on sheets posted in every cart. Uniquely, color-coded flags in the middle of the fairways measure distances at 100/150/200 yards from the greens. This is largely necessary due to the elevated fairways and mounds found on many holes. There is an equal number of uphill and downhill tee shots, laced with a few level fairways as well. Beginning and mid to high handicapped golfers will delight in the usually generous fairways. The initial cut of rough is very playable - but stray too far and you will find your ball in the deep stuff. Experienced players will appreciate the length of this wild and wooly - yet classic links style layout. The adventurous can choose the black tees, which play to 7100 yards with a 75.2 course and 135 slope rating. The green tees measure around 6500 (129 slope) and the next set of tees scale down to under 6000 yards. The second tee areas rotate with a difference of 70/80 yards. Golfers lacking length off the tee (and high handicappers) should definitely opt for the whites - or face 5 par fours measuring 400 plus yards.
The front nine is a bit shorter than the back side, and is characterized by rolling fairways laced with strategic bunkering. With yards of short fringe, the bump and run is often a good option near the mildly undulating and well conditioned greens.As with many links style layouts, many of the putting surfaces have flat areas near the pins, but ridges often call for accurate placement on approaches. Holes one through 3 provide an opportunity for a good start with the par three 3rd one of the best birdie holes on the course. The fifth is a monstrous par four (465 from the tips) with a considerable bunker complex that makes reaching in regulation a chore from any of the tees. After a reasonable par four and five on 6 and 7, a short par three (157 from the green tees) presents another excellent birdie opportunity. The closing hole is a long dogleg right that features a water hazard near the front right of the green - a downhill approach is the saving grace here.
The back features 4 fairly flat holes to begin, followed by a stretch that provides elevated fairways and tees. Ten is a short dogleg left, and precedes a pair of interesting and long par fours with significant waste areas coming into play. After a short trip on your cart through an old dairy barn from the 12th green to the 13th tee (no kidding!) - you find perhaps the best scoring stretch on the course. Two pars threes sandwich a downhill par four and a mid range five par. The 16th is an especially pretty hole - and requires a high arcing shot to carry the depression while remaining on the putting surface. The 454 (tips) yard par four 17th is a challenge due to the length demanded along a narrow tree lined fairway. The closing hole is a beauty - as it bends to the left and plays downhill towards a small green flanked by bunkers right and a formidable water hazard left. Even with bare trees and the absence of colorful wildflowers, this hole exemplifies the natural beauty of the golf environment at Blackthorn.
Elaborate greenside and fairway bunkering, along with scattered water hazards and elevated fairways create challenge and variety. With no on course residential development, Blackthorn presents an opportunity to play the game in a secluded environment on vast acreage surrounded by mature hardwoods and pines. A great course for locals - and certainly worth a day trip from surrounding states - This is a most enjoyable round of golf!
For more information on this course and a link to its website (if available) visit our detailed listing page click here.