Golf was an important part of the history of both French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs Hotels. When the two became French Lick Resort it was obvious that it would continue to play an integral role in the overall success of the property.
The Cook Group, owners of the resort since 2005, wanted to establish their new enterprise as a true vacation spot into a historic property and a world-class golf destination. To do this, an expansion of the existing golf operation was a must. After contemplating several well-known designers they decided on Pete Dye, arguably the world's top golf architect. Dye walked Mt. Airie - the proposed building site and concluded there was no way to build a golf course on that land. The slopes were too severe and the terrain too rugged.
Dye, not being one to give up easily, soon returned to the resort with a topographical map of the area and preliminary drawings on a napkin. He said he intended to "build the course whether they want me to or not." The course officially opened in the spring of 2009 and held its first major PGA event by the summer of 2010. Mike Small was crowned the PNC Champion that year.
Find out all the challenges and opportunities Pete Dye experienced while he built his course on one of the highest elevations in Indiana. Pete explains what holes are memorable and what obstacles golfers face.
Pictured above is the original napkin Pete Dye used to sketch his course lay-out on during a lunch at the Villager restaurant in French Lick. Sketches such as this are typical for Pete when he visualizes a lay-out.