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Best Public Golf Courses in Indiana

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Indiana, sometimes referred to as the “Hoosier State”, is one of the eight states that make up the Great Lakes Region. It is bordered by Lake Michigan to the northwest, and the other Midwestern states of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois surrounding it.

Indiana is passionately fanatical about their professional sports teams such as the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, on top of the various local college teams from the major sports which they also religiously follow. The Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 motorsports races are also held in Indiana.

The state’s climate can be divided between the north and southern portions of the state, with the south generally enjoying more of a sub-tropical climate. The difference in weather conditions between the two regions become more pronounced during the winter season, while there’s only a slight noted variation between the two regions during the summer.

Indianapolis is the state capital and its largest city. Other major cities include Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend. Because of the local population’s affinity for sports in general and the state’s diverse terrain and beautiful landscape, along with mostly favorable weather throughout most of the year, golf is a natural pre-occupation and a popular outdoor sport in the state of Indiana.

In this article, we are going to list and rank the top public golf courses in Indiana, including some semi-private ones which are currently open to non-member players who are willing to pay the corresponding green fees and other charges for playing privileges. 

Best Golf Courses in Indiana

Rating: 4.95/5.0
Location: French Lick, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 8,102 yards(The Pete Dye Course)
Holes: 18     Par: 70     Length: 7,030 yards(The Donald Ross Course)

The French Lick Resort boasts of being the only golf resort in the world to have assembled the famous designers Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Tom Bendelow in one single location. They have a 45-hole facility composed of two 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole course better suited for a quick game or warm-up before hitting any of the two adjacent bigger courses.

Located 70 miles away from Louisville, the French Lick Resort is about a half-day drive from virtually any major city in the Midwest. While it may not be as conveniently accessible as the other courses near the city proper, its elegance, astounding course layout, and breath-taking scenery will ensure that your drive will be absolutely worth it.

The stunning yet unforgiving par-70 Donald Ross Course has a very clever layout that will test your strategic acumen and shot-making capabilities. Opened in 1917, this revered course has hosted numerous regional and national tournaments over the years, including the PGA Championship in 1924.

Although it is over 1,000 yards shorter than its younger brother, the Donald Ross Course is no pushover. It has hosted its fair share of prestigious tournaments over the years and has one of the most remarkable layouts of any golf course in the state of Indiana. Every bunker and elevation changes really test players’ mental toughness and resolve especially if they don’t come with their A-game. The long par-3s at the 6th and 13th holes, with 249 and 252 yards respectively, are also very memorable.

Despite being relatively new, the more popular among the two courses, however, is the highly-regarded and well-loved par-72 Pete Dye Course with its staggering 8,102 yards from the tips. Opened only in 2009 it is widely acknowledged as the current top public golf course in Indiana. It has already hosted several big-ticket tournaments, including the annual Legends of LPGA Championship since 2013 and the Senior PGA Championship in 2015.

Perched on the hilltops of Mount Airy in the famous Hoosier National Forest, the Pete Dye Course is touted to have one of the most dramatic elevation changes in the whole state of Indiana. Its well-managed and pristine fairways and greens demand precision throughout the entire course. There is no shortage of bunkers and elevation changes in this course so better brace yourself for a tough, long ride ahead – especially when you factor-in its jaw-dropping yardage of 8,102 yards. 

Rating: 4.90/5.0
Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 71     Length: 7,020 yards

The home turf of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the Warren Golf Course claims of being one of the best public golf courses in the Midwest. From what we saw, they are not mistaken. 
This 18-hole links-style course, designed by the prolific tandem of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, has been receiving praises from players and top golfing publications due to its perfect balance of beauty, playability, and affordability.

Launched in 1999, it has steadily gained widespread recognition and has been on top of the charts ever since. Golfweek Magazine lists it among the Top College Courses in the United States. With an impressive hole variation ranging from quick par-3s to long par-5’s, this course is very unpredictable – especially when you consider its greens which come in wildly varying sizes from hole-to-hole.

Most memorable holes are the challenging consecutive par-4s at the 7th and 8th, while the most stunning views also coincide with a couple of forced carries at the 16th and 18th holes. The course is always kept in excellent condition. The staff are also very warm and friendly from the moment that you arrive up until you step off the last green.

Rating: 4.87/5.0
Location: Noblesville, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,754 yards

Purgatory Golf Club’s motto: “Your gateway to golfing heaven” could be a promise of great results or of an upcoming miserable experience, depending upon if you bring you’re A-game. Touted as the lengthiest course east of the Mississippi River, this course features breath-taking views from every hole accompanied by an extremely challenging course layout.

Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 best golf courses in Indiana, adventurous golfers will surely love this course because of its distinctly eccentric design. Golf Architect Ron Kern pulled out all the stops to make this course as interesting as possible with all its hole variation and spectacular backdrops.

It is virtually crawling with bunkers with over 130 of them strategically placed throughout the entire length of the course. You can choose among six tee options to fit the level where you’ll be most comfortable, with 7,754 yards from the tips being the farthest and 4,600 yards being the shortest. The fairways are well-managed and mostly lined with towering grass rough on either side to make the game even more interesting.

The signature hole is the 173-yard, par-3 17th, which features a virtual island green as it is completely surrounded by eight massive bunkers. 

Rating: 4.81/5.0
Location: Florence, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 71     Length: 6,910 yards

Strategically located in Florence, Indiana, the Belterra Golf Club is within a short driving distance from other major Midwest cities like Lexington, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Golfweek Magazine labeled it as among the Top 20 Best Casino Courses in 2007.

Designed by famous designer Tom Fazio and launched in 2001, its complex layout successfully blends strategic hole diversity with the inherent natural views to create this remarkable golf course that is widely acknowledged as one of the best golf courses in Indiana.

With drastic changes in elevation, numerous water hazards and bunkers coming into play, as well as spectacular views of the Ohio River and Log Lick Creek, the course is definitely living up to its lofty reputation. With fairways and greens by the side of the lake and thousands of trees lining the periphery, the course exudes a natural vibe and relaxing atmosphere that makes it a must-play course if you happen to be anywhere near the area. 

Rating: 4.77/5.0
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Holes: 18    Par: 72     Length: 7,180 yards

Voted by Golf Digest and Golfweek among the Top 100 American Public Golf Courses, Brickyard Crossing has been successfully hosting several prominent golfing events from both the PGA and the LPGA over the years.

With famous architects Pete Dye and Alice Dye to thank for, this course has been receiving a lot of praise since it first opened in 1993. They have successfully melded the area’s natural contours unto the final layout that resulted in a naturally beautiful yet challenging course.

It has a very unique stretch of holes from the 7th to the 10th with its fairways lodged within the famous Indianapolis racetrack. To be able to finish this course with an efficient score, players must be able to enjoy the scenery without becoming too distracted as to take your focus away from the game.

The course is always kept in pristine condition, with the greens and fairways regularly trimmed and the bunkers frequently filled and raked. Because of the unique experience that it provides, the Brickyard Crossing makes it to our list of the top golf courses in Indiana. 

Rating: 4.73/5.0
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,148 yards

This amazing golf course has a very interesting historical background. It stands on what was once a U.S. Military property which was used as a munitions supply point for the federal troops during the Civil War. The post effectively ended in 1991, which ushered the creation of what would become as one of the best golf courses in Indianapolis, if not the entire state of Indiana.

Listed by Golf Digest among the “Best Affordable Public Courses”, the Fort Golf Resort is conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive from downtown Indianapolis.

Architects Pete Dye and Tim Liddy fully utilized the existing 238-acre natural terrain, successfully transforming it into the stunningly beautiful yet wildly challenging golf course that it is today. It is filled with Pete Dye’s signature undulating greens, while its narrow fairways are lined with mature trees all throughout the course.

Rating: 4.68/5.0
Location: Carmel, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,073 yards

The Prairie View Golf Club is a 7,073-yard, par-72 golf course located in Hamilton County, Indiana. Its striking layout can be credited to the famous designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Being his only design thus far in this Midwestern state, he made sure to make it among the very best golf courses in Indiana by utilizing the existing natural assets of the area such as the rolling prairie and the abundance of mature oak and sycamore trees proliferating along the banks of the White River to come up with a truly exhilarating and stunning design that is definitely one of a kind.

Covering over 206 acres, the course is filled with numerous traps to make it even more interesting. There are over 80 bunkers dispersed all throughout the course, along with frequent elevation changes. It also incorporates a natural stream in four of the holes, while wetlands and idyllic lakes are also featured in some of the other holes to make for one truly memorable golfing experience. 

Rating: 4.64/5.0
Location: Columbus, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,349 yards

Landing on the fifth spot of Golf Advisor’s list of best golf courses in Indiana in 2015, the North/West course should be on every golfer’s list of must-play courses when visiting the state of Indiana. 
Otter Creek Golf course is actually comprised of three different golf courses, namely: The North/East, North/West and the West/East courses.

The most popular among the three would be the North/West course. It has received numerous recognitions from several prestigious golfing publications such as being ranked among the best 100 public golf courses by Golf Digest in 2004 and also listed among the top 25 best public golf courses in the United States by the same institution. 

Designed by the great Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and launched in 1964, the course has been nothing but highly-regarded and well-loved throughout the years. It perfectly captures the area’s natural terrain while executing a very challenging layout at the same time. To cap it all off, there are spectacular views to be had of the surrounding scenery from every hole.

Its rolling hills and numerous bunkers add to the course’s complexity. No two holes are alike, so players must expect a different set of challenges out of each and every hole. Accuracy is a vital skill when playing this course, more than power, but the ability to concentrate on the game despite being bombarded with the beautiful scenery is also another under-rated but critical skill which is definitely applicable in this particular case.

Rating: 4.55/5.0
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,465 yards

Only an hour’s drive away from downtown Indianapolis, the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex boasts of 36 challenging holes comprised of the Kampen Course and the Ackerman-Allen Course. Both courses were formerly known as the North and South courses, respectively.

Among the two championship courses, the Kampen Course is the more popular one among the golfing community due to its intricate and beautiful layout without compromising on the course’s degree of difficulty. It has hosted several prestigious golfing events such as the Indiana Open in 2004 and the NCAA Championship for Women in 2003.

Designed by the world-famous golf Architect Pete Dye, the course has a lot of well-defended greens and fairways that require controlled and accurate shots in order to avoid huge sand bunkers and ponds as well as other hazards that proliferate the whole course.

Its greens and fairways are always kept in pristine condition. They also have a well-stocked pro shop and a very friendly and well-trained staff which completes the entire package that makes the Kampen Course one of the best golf courses in Indiana. 

Rating: 4.50/5.0
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
Holes: 18     Par: 72     Length: 7,317 yards

Located in Lebanon, Indiana, the Trophy Club has been ranked as the 2nd best golf course in Indiana by Golf Advisor in 2015.

The Trophy Club showcases the amazing surrounding scenery from every hole. Golf designer Tim Liddy made sure to successfully integrate the course’s exciting layout with the inherent natural beauty and interesting landscape of the area.

This championship course consists of large undulating greens, numerous bunkers strategically placed throughout the course and dramatic changes in elevation. Hole variation is so pronounced that each hole presents an entirely different challenge.

One of the course’s most elaborate holes is the 202-yard, par-3 14th hole featuring a pond on the left side of the green and bushes on the right. Another memorable hole is the 369-yard, par-4 5th hole with its elevated green surrounded with bunkers ready to consume the ball at the slightest miscalculation. 

Wrap up

With the state’s famous passion for sports, it is no wonder that the state of Indiana is also home to some of the best golf courses in the country which are also designed by some of the most famous golf architects around.

Among all the courses in Indiana, majority of them are actually classified as public or semi-private, providing us with an exhaustive list of names to draw for our list. Having said that, ranking golf courses can be a very subjective and personal matter which could be affected by wildly varying factors which may be present during our visit to a particular course and not for the others.

We came up with our list based on the different reviews that we have gathered and our own personal experiences. We would like to hear from you if we have the same courses on the list or if you have your own favorite courses which you think should be mentioned in our list.

Drop us a message and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.  

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