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Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort

Golf Resort Overview: French Lick Resort

An Interview With Robert Koontz, PGA Head Professional - The Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort

By Brian Weis

The ultimate golf vacation is staying and playing at a golf resort. Below is an interview with Robert Koontz who shares some valuable information about staying and golfing at French Lick Resort.

Give our readers an overview of the golf resort.
Nestled among the hills of the Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana resides a classic American destination - French Lick Resort. Home to two nationally historic hotels, three challenging golf courses, two rejuvenating spas, impressive meeting venues and a Vegas-style casino, our resort is family-friendly, business-competent and perfect for a planned or impromptu getaway.

Few things get the blood pumping like the mention of Donald Ross, Pete Dye and Tom Bendelow in the same sentence. Nowhere else in the world can a golfer play courses designed by each of these noted and prolific designers at one resort destination. The best of modern and classic golf design tucked into the rolling hills of southern Indiana provide a beautiful yet challenging golf destination.

The Pete Dye Course. Sketched on a napkin and carved into history by Hall-of-Fame architect Pete Dye, this course hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2015. Senior PGA Champion Colin Montgomerie called it ""one of the iconic courses" in America and one that golfers all over the world will want to play. This championship golf course on one of Indiana's highest elevation points has narrow, immaculate fairways and rugged, intense terrain. The course has gained national acclaim for its 40-mile panoramic views of the southern Indiana countryside, three man-made lakes, "volcano" bunkers and a variety of elevation changes. A robust 8,100 yards from the professional tees punctuate Dye's signature sting from vista-to-vista. Ranked as the #1 golf course you can play in Indiana.

"The Hill Course," as it was originally known, was designed by Donald Ross in 1917. Just seven years later, in 1924, the course hosted the PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen. The classic Ross course design has hosted numerous local, regional and national events including the Midwest Amateur from 1932 to 1960, the LPGA Championship in 1959 & 1960, several AJGA events as well as several Indiana Open's. After a $5 million dollar restoration effort in 2005, the Hill Course was renamed The Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort. In 2017, the Symetra Tour began the Donald Ross Classic as part of the centennial celebration at Ross. Ranked as the #2 golf course you can play in Indiana.

The Valley Links Course is a nine hole-fully walkable conversion of the 18-hole Tom Bendelow design that was original to French Lick Springs Hotel. This par 36-course maintains the park-like atmosphere of the Bendelow course with rolling fairways, Scottish-style fescue grasses and strategically placed bunkers. Experienced golfers are certain to take notice of the championship tee length of nearly 3,500 yards! The Valley Links Course at French Lick Resort gives golfers of all skill levels and ages a fun and challenging place to play. The Valley Links Course was redesigned with families in mind. Golfers of all ages and skill levels should be able to play without pressure or intimidation from others on the course.

You will find a challenging but inviting combination of golf at the French Lick Resort for all types and levels of golfers. We specialize in meeting events, golf-buddy trips, golf and golf academy packages.

Share with us your room accommodations configurations. What group sizes can accommodate?
The French Lick Resort has two world-class hotels on property with a total of 686 rooms of different sizes available to accommodate golf groups of all sizes. Our combination of golf, hotels and history creates a one-of-a-kind golf destination.

A classic American hotel, the French Lick Springs Hotel...Established in 1845 -- with the current spa wing built in 1901 -- French Lick Springs Hotel seamlessly blends its fascinating history with modern amenities and services. Family-friendly activities and facilities make this an ideal destination for celebrations or relaxing getaways. This classic American hotel has something everyone can enjoy; whether it's golf, spa, hiking, biking, swimming or shopping.

Create a remarkable luxury experience at The West Baden Springs Hotel...Escape from the everyday to a luxury hotel built more than a century ago. Once called the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the focal point of West Baden Springs Hotel is the awe-inspiring atrium that spans 200 feet. Mixing comfortable ambiance with modern amenities, our hotel creates unforgettable romantic getaways, weddings, corporate events and other special occasions. Just a short trip to the stables or a quick trolley ride to the casino and French Lick Springs Hotel, there are endless possibilities for a truly extraordinary stay at West Baden Springs Hotel. Ranked as the #1 hotel in Indiana.

What type of restaurants do you have on property and what type of dining experience can one expect?
From fine dining to grab-and-go options, French Lick Resort boasts a range of restaurants(15 on property) to satisfy any palate. With an array of options at French Lick Springs Hotel, you will always find the perfect place to dine with family and friends. Whether it's under the atrium or at the exclusive chef's table, West Baden Springs Hotel features elegant venues to savor a meal.

At the courses experience historic dining options with scenic views...

Hagen's is clubhouse dining with a panoramic view of our Donald Ross Course. The restaurant is named for legendary golfer Walter Hagen who won the 1924 PGA Championship at the course. The menu features soups and salads to steaks and seafood. Guests can also sit at the expansive bar where gangster Al Capone was believed to have carved a message. Just don't sit in the wrong seat!

The Mansion at Pete Dye. Guests may enjoy lunch at one of the highest points in Indiana. Enjoy a sandwich and cocktail while overlooking the breath-taking course carved into the hills of southern Indiana by legendary course-designer Pete Dye. The clubhouse is the mansion home that once belonged to Indianapolis Mayor and former owner of French Lick Springs Hotel, Thomas Taggart.

In addition to dining at the resort there are numerous options in the historic downtown area of French Lick and West Baden.

Beyond golf what are the top three amenities golfers and non-golfers can enjoy on property?
One of biggest draws besides golf...The French Lick Casino. Be part of the excitement! Get your game on at French Lick Casino, a 51,000-square-foot gaming facility all on one floor with soaring 27-foot ceilings. On our gaming floor, you can play to win big jackpots on slot machines or a progressive jackpot at our table games. You'll find live-action blackjack, roulette and craps and other table games, a luxurious high-limit room and Indiana's largest non-smoking room.

We would not be here with out our historic past...learn more with our Landmark Historic Tours. French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel are two amazing examples of historic preservation in the Hoosier State. Thanks to Indiana Landmarks historical tours, guests can learn about the rich and famous who came to stay here during the 19th and 20th centuries. On an Indiana Landmarks tour, you can discover how the massive dome at West Baden was constructed, and how much gold leaf paint was used to detail the lobby at French Lick. Find out why Sprudel and Pluto were the two elixirs that guests enjoyed when they came to "take the waters" at the hotels. Indiana Landmarks tours are a wealth of information about the resort's history that dates back to 1845.

Discover true relaxation with our two award-winning Spa's. Since the time the hotels were originally built in the mid-1800's, the overall health and wellness of our guests has been a priority. This legacy is deeply rooted in the famous "miracle waters" of the area's naturally occurring mineral springs which were said to cure any ailment. The tradition of providing rest, relaxation and rejuvenation continues today, and it starts at our two world-class spas. Visit The Spa at French Lick and experience the best in classic American sophistication and leisure. The Spa at West Baden, with European influences weaved throughout the décor and services, offers elegance and luxury that will make you feel as if you have traveled to a lavish spa in Paris or London. Whether you are looking for an aromatherapy massage, hydrating facial or a signature Pluto mineral bath, discover the ultimate experience in relaxation and indulgence at The Spas at French Lick Resort.

The Casino, History and Spas are the a great top-three...but don't forget other amenities such as Hiking the hills that make part of our 3,700 acres on property, Trail Rides from our 30-horse Stable, Foot-Golf at the Valley Links Course, seasonal big-name concerts, walking the historic downtown of French Lick or just the #1 past-time of relaxing on one of the front veranda's at both hotels.

Please supply a sample itinerary for a long buddies weekend?
The French Lick Resort has many types of golf packages. We can even create packages for your group.
We have different types of packages that include a mix of our golf venues as well as a sister course, Sultan's Run, in Jasper, Indiana.
Dining, casino, other amenities can be included within your package or left for you to adventure out on your own. New in 2018 is a golf package called Eagles, Birdies and Pigeons that not only includes our winning golf-buddy group golf packages(min of 12 players), 2 nights, day of golf at Ross and a day of golf at Dye, but also adds the group adventure of skeet shooting at the resorts shooting range. We also have a wonderful golf academy that presents options from a quick tune-up to a complete immersed multi-day golf learning experience.

We offer shuttle service to any of our venues or within our community. We can even arrange to pick you up at our airport in French Lick or Louisville.
For more package offerings please visit

What area tourist attractions might you recommend while in the area?
Patoka Lake...26,000 acres of unspoiled beauty combined with 8,800 acres of water wonderland create the perfect vacation getaway. Patoka abounds with opportunities to enjoy water sports, fishing and much more.

Paoli Peaks...Enjoy a day of skiing, tubing and snowboarding at Paoli Peaks! Indiana's premier ski resort includes 65 acres of skiable terrain with 15 trails, five chair lifts and three surface lifts. Not everyone in the family skis? No problem! Snow tubing is the ultimate activity for some serious family fun.

Wilstem Ranch...Experience it all at this countryside ranch, featuring thrilling zip-lining adventures, ATV tours, quaint cabins nestled in the woods, miles of hiking trails and exotic animal encounters that you can only experience here. The African elephant herd of three girls will be vacationing at Wilstem from March 10 through November 4 of 2018.

French Lick Winery...Celebrating more than two decades of wine making! French Lick Winery has more than 30 wines available for tasting, ranging from dry to sweet to fortified and bubbly. There's also a full-service Italian café and a gift shop.

French Lick West Baden Museum...Travel in the footsteps of hometown son and basketball legend Larry Bird. Relive the thrilling tales of legal (and illegal) gambling, and the gangsters who won big and laid low here. Drink in the story of Pluto Water and its curious effects on guests staying at our two magnificent hotels. A museum must-see; the world's largest circus diorama depicting the 1915 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus at its winter home.

Spring Mill State Park...Among Indiana's most popular parks, Spring Mill State Park offers cave tours, hiking, campgrounds, playgrounds, bike trails, boating, fishing, swimming, volleyball and a lodge with restaurant and meeting facilities. The main attraction is a restored pioneer village around a working water-powered gristmill. The Grissom Memorial building honors Hoosier astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom, who was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts.

There is so much to do and learn about in our community...check out

How can golfers inquire about golf packages for your resort?
For room reservations, tee-times and foursome golf packages call 888-936-9360.
For groups of 8 or more please contact Alex Whiteman, our PGA Golf Professional Golf Package Sales Manager. He can be contacted by email at

To see more about French Lick or book your own reservations online, visit our website at

Courses at Resort
Number of Course: 3
Number of Holes: two 18-hole and one 9-hole for 45-holes

More Information
French Lick Resort
8670 West State Road
56 French Lick, IN, 47432

Revised: 02/28/2018 - Article Viewed 16,810 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, 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 In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and 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.

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