Getting To Know: Elk Ridge Golf - A.K.A. French Lick Golf And Guns
An Insightful Interview With Dave Marshall, Owner
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Dave Marshall who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Located on a private Ranch in the Hoosier National Forest, Golf and Guns is the only place in the world you can carry a 12 gauge shotgun in your golf bag and shoot clay pigeons and golf from the same tees. Your experience includes your own personal safety caddy on a par 3 course. Enjoy breathtaking views of the serene wildlife, beautiful vineyards, the fresh air, and the quiet ambiance of being surrounded by mother nature.
Where else can you can arrange martini stations on every hole for private golf outings. What could you do if the golf course remained 100% private and exclusive just for your group golf outing? The answer for some young bachelors might be golf & guns and girls.
Reservations are a must since we will be hosting many private group outings who will get exclusive use of the course. Indiana's only - Clay Pigeon Shotgun range and 9 hole Par 3 Golf course on the same track.
Located on Elk Ridge Ranch just 9 miles from French Lick. French Lick is home to two well known premier golf courses. Our golf course near French Lick offers a one-of a-kind round of golf. Golf and Guns is not for the serious golfer. We call the game at the golf course here at Elk Ridge Ranch "Golf & Guns".
Yes, there are rules to make this a fun round of golf! Plus, a golf course instructor near French Lick helps make this golf course safe.
At our golf course, golfers tee off the tee box with their golf ball and then shoot trap with a 12 gauge shotgun from the tee box for the golf and guns combination game. Or, You can just play golf !
This golf course was private course for just family and friends up until this year 2015. Now anything but serious golfers can schedule a game at the ranch for a real fun round of Golf- with Guns!
We have a ten-station sporting clays course combined with a nine-hole par three golf course that is open almost all year round - by reservations only. Here when you say you say "carry," it may mean "carry a gun" or it may mean "carry your golf clubs."
Need lessons on sporting clays? Golf & Guns is also home to our golf and shooting range Instructor who is known as Fijo Stepconavitch. Fijo gives both private and group instructions year round. Just ask in advance and we will schedule a lesson or lessons for you or your group with our golf instructor near French Lick. Golf & Guns hosts Corporate Events at our facility. Here we serve up a customized program to fit each group's specific needs so that no matter what the age, gender or experience level of the attendees, everyone can have an enjoyable round of golf.
The golf clubhouse can be utilized for pre or post event golf outings. Catering for group golf outings is also available. See an associate for more details.
With a commercial kitchen, we can host dinners in the vineyard after your round of golf and or, Golf & Guns.
Also on site are 16 bedrooms for an on site and totally private event.
Watching The Video
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Just to say you did it!
Our course is unique in many ways. Just 10 minutes from The Donald Ross course and 15 minutes from the French Lick Hotel and Resort
French Lick has two fantastic tracks, the rest of the courses in the area are pretty much typical mundane vanilla tracks. Golf an Guns is a course that you will play and then talk about to your friends for the rest of your life. Where else can you swing clubs and draw guns off of each Tee Box.
There are three very special must play courses in the French Lick area:
1. The Pete Dye without a doubt- the course is amazing
2. The Donald Ross, Its a great track and value for the money
3. French Lick Golf and Guns- You may forget over time that you played the Dye and the Ross Over time but you will never forget the time you played golf and shot trap in French Lick!
We have taken a course that was completely private and have opened it up to groups large and small. With just 20 Golfers we close the course and its all yours.
After your round of golf and guns you can play the track again as just a golf round and no trap. Or, you can shoot just trap after your round if you feel like shooting more.
One more reason, It is environmentally green and eatable so we are good for our future.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
We use safety caddies due to the nature of guns on a Golf Course.
Tip the caddies well and they can help you navigate the course!
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
We may be the first green eatable golf course!
We are very proud of the fact that we are quite possibly, the greenest golf course in the entire world.
In fact our little track its known as an eatable golf course! You can actually eat your way around the course from our gardens and vineyards that line the fairways.
We put in artificial greens from the start so that we would use absolutely (Zero) chemicals, pesticides or contaminants on our course that would enter into the environment. You can actually be eating a burger from one of our on site grown Elk or Bison, set that burger down on the fairway to hit your ball and not be concerned that your burger got contaminated from chemicals or nasty sprays used on most courses. if you like, you can even grab a handful of sprouts or tomatoes grown on the fairway to add to your burger.
Our fairways are fertilized naturally with local turkey manure that we get from a Turkey farm down the road. We also have free range chickens that we move around from fairway to fairway to naturally fertilize our fairways and eat the bugs. We even have milk goats that have been trained to only eat broad leaf plants and weeds that we rotate around on our fairways, and creek bed ditches rather than use round up.
On site at the golf course, we make our own biochar, that we use as a soil amendment to make our grounds more fertile each year. We have a green house where we propagate our own grapes, for the vineyard, lavender for the fairways and we grow our own vegetables, sprouts and wheat grass that we serve to our guests.
Our fairways are truly unlike any golf course in the world. Lined with fruit trees, hop plants over 20 feet tall, over tomato plants and, one of the largest organic vineyards in the state of Indiana that's winds throughout the course. The fairways are lined with beautiful lavender, 30 foot tall bamboo trees on either side of the narrow fairways and other organic and natural elements
We think that you will enjoy both the natural beauty of our course, and our conscious effort to be as green and eatable as possible. From our rain water capture tanks to, our mushroom operation to our green house, we think that you will agree that we are truly a unique course.
Known for years as an Elk farm with a golf course, we are moving into Bison the summer of 2015 to continue our love for healthy grass fed lean, organic meat.
When we built the golf course the intention during the planning and the construction was less on being green and more on low maintenance. But as we moved forward over the years the emphasis became, how can we make this course not only green but also quite possibly the first eatable golf course.
Even down to our shooting range here- we use biodegradable clays, and steel shot in our guns not lead. Even the wadding in the shells is biodegradable.
Presently our biggest carbon footprint here on the course is mowing the course, but between the goats and our fitness clients, we are on the path to being a very sustainable and, eatable golf course. But we just bought a push or the manual mower with no engine - With the goal of a good workout for our fitness clients as well as a good mow!
At Golf & Guns its about having a good time while being as Earth-friendly as possible!
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Good question here.
Ill have to say on most days its number eight or nine - The fairways lined with the lavender or the grape vineyard ranks high on natural beauty. That said, sometimes we have some pretty crazy events here - However, if we have a beautiful lady on any of our holes it becomes the most photographed hole of the day !
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
Number four is quite possibly the most challenging hole that we have. Our only advice to be short !
Although seriously short at just 53 yards, the tee box sits up on a rock cliff face and you must hit the ball in a tight canyon with a vertical drop to the green. Then its followed by number five- 41 yards in a very tight rock ledge lined environment!
We like number five the best because its just fun to hit off of the cliff ledge and once you get down to the green its a beautiful sight.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
The 19th hole is more of a BYOB - Bring Your Own Beer
We can set up a variety of Martini stations through out the course for your enjoyment. (You bring the liquor) We do not have a liquor license so bring your own. We can cook you up a burger or a pizza or cater your event. See our dinners in the vineyard for a very special event to remember!
We have had dinners in the vineyard after events with 200 plus people - We have a full commercial kitchen & 16 bedrooms on site
Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
For the golf portion of the game:
We had a group of professional golfers during the PGA qualifier that was held at the Donald Ross course a few years back. One of the pros got a 27 on our course and two of the guys got a hole in one that day. They are the best we have seen on the course in fact, I doubt that score will ever be beat.
This course is not easy- Its all short game....a pitching wedge and a putter is all you need for the golf portion. Do not expect a low score, the fairways are all short and tight, just 41 to 93 yards and the greens are lightning fast. It may look like a little toy course but it will challenge your short game every-time that you play.
For the shooting portion of the game:
We have had some shooters who never missed a clay, but their golf game was not so good- the game can be scored as best shooter, best golfer and best overall player.
Back Tee Stats
Slope: Unknown- Its a tough little track
French Lick Golf And Guns
8799 Ridge Road Shoals ( 9 miles from French Lick), Indiana, 47581
Revised: 04/21/2015 - Article Viewed 19,992 Times - View Golf Course Profile
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler