Perfectly manicured fairways and tees, large hilly greens, over 100 bunkers, and graduated rough. No, this is not the US Open, it’s Purgatory GC, and it’s probably a lot more fun than a US Open, despite the name. Purgatory is located in the northern most tip of Noblesville, IN, about a 20 minute drive from Northwest Indy. Everything from the clubhouse to the practice facility to the course is top rate. The driving range was in perfect condition and the practice green is large with plenty of undulation, a hint of what’s to come out on the course. The staff was friendly and accommodating, and I found the course not to be busy during the week. The course was in such great condition it looked as though I was only the tenth person to play all year. This is a testament to the quality of the grounds crew.
According to Tom Watson, in Golf Digest’s June 2011 issue, you should pick tees that allow you to hit irons into every par 4. At Purgatory there are so many tees to choose from that this is an easy task. The course can play as short as 4562 yards to as long as 7754 yards. It can get very windy on this open layout, so I recommend choosing tees that are a little shorter than you what you are used to. Once you have decided what tees to hit from the course eases you into play.
The first hole is a great starting hole for this course, it gives you the confidence boost needed for the next 17 holes. The second hole really gets your heart pounding. It is a dogleg left par 4 that requires a carry over water of 200 yards to get into the best position. If you hit it too far you will be in one of the four large bunkers that give the beautiful backdrop to the fairway. If you’re in the bunker you will likely have an uneven lie with the ball above your feet, which brings the water into play again for your approach to the green. This hole is enough to make you want to go home and lick your wounds, but it’s only the second hole! The third hole is a short par 3 that is surrounded by deep bunkers on the left and the right. When I say deep, I mean deep, if your partner was in the left bunker holding up his wedge, you wouldn’t see it if you were in the right bunker.
The Scoring Holes
There are six holes that you must take advantage of if you are going to score well at Purgatory. The 1st, 5th, 6th, 11th, 17th, and the 18th. The eighteenth is the only sure birdie hole of the day. The other five holes should be easy pars. The fifth hole is a short par 5 that has water right of the green, but you should have less than a wedge left to the flag for your approach shot. The sixth is a short dogleg right par 4 that has the most undulated green on the course, so ball placement is crucial. The eleventh is a short par 4 that allows you to have a wedge into the green. The seventeenth is a short par 3 that is visually intimidating, but in reality it is just a short club away. The eighteenth is a par 5 that is reachable in two for the big hitters, but even the shorter hitters should have a wedge into this receptive green.
This course defends itself with wind, bunkers, and long par 4’s. Even on the calmest of days, the wind can be a factor out here. There are hardly any trees so the wind just whips right through the course. There are seven par 4’s, each over 430 yards from the black tees, some of which play into the wind. You will have your work cut out for you on these holes. The toughest driving hole is the par 4 16th (see a picture of the drive in the slideshow), with bunkers all up the left and right side of this hole, you have to thread-the-needle to hit the fairway. If you can play these seven holes in four or five over you deserve one of the half pound hot dogs that they serve in the clubhouse.
Overall, this course may seem harrowing, but its bark is worse than its bite. You will be rewarded for your good shots, and if the wind isn’t blowing too hard you should score relatively well. This course is definitely in my top 5 public courses in Indiana. A hint to anyone looking for a deal, check out ezlinks.com for some steep discounts at Purgatory and a few other courses.
Call 317-776-4653 to book your tee time today.