Getting To Know: Blackthorn Golf Club
An Insightful Interview With Timothy Firestone, General Manager & 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 Timothy Firestone 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
Blackthorn Golf Club, a Dr. Michael Hurdzan design, opened to rave reviews in August of 1994. The Irish-Cottage style clubhouse sets upon a rolling naturally contoured heavily wooded 226-acre site. The par 72, 7136-yard layout with four sets of tees offers a strategic test for golfers of all abilities. Broad fairways framed by 78 bunkers, wetlands, ponds, and native prairie grasses lead to subtly contoured and swept-up-tiered bentgrass greens. The practice facility consists of two acres of bentgrass tees, realistic target greens and a short game area for putting, chipping, and bunker play.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Blackthorn Golf Club is, by far, the best public golf course in our area. The course provides a challenge for the more experienced golfer, yet is still accessible for those just beginning to enjoy the game. We value the golfer experience above all and pride ourselves on customer service and a beautifully manicured course. At Blackthorn, our golfers can enjoy a full-service experience. The pro shop features the most sought after name brand apparel and hard goods and offers professional services such as club fitting. Our restaurant has a full menu and bar for every taste.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
There are many holes at Blackthorn in which the heather grass comes into play from the tee box. A driver off the tee is not always the play. This is a track where course management is key to a good score.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
After opening our course, Gold Digest rank Blackthorn the #4 best new public golf course, and while no longer a municipal course as of 2015, Blackthorn was given the prestigious title of the #1 municipal course in Indiana and number #44 in the country by Golf Week Magazine in 2013. Chicago-land Golf rates Blackthorn as a 5-star course. We are among the top 100 women-friendly courses in the country and have been consistently rated the best course in the area by the South Bend Tribune's Readers Choice Awards. The recognition we are most proud of; however, is the recognition from our daily golfers. Winning their praise is our aim every round.
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Hole number 13 is by far the most photographed hole at Blackthorn. It is a beautiful par 3 with a large, undulated green. It also has a large, rustic dairy barn located next to the tee box which has been on the property for years. The land in which our course was built upon used to house a large farm. On hole number 5, about 200 yards from the green, and in the middle of the fairway, rests a burr oak that is estimated to be over 250 years old and its stature demands attention. We affectionately call this oak tree The Blackthorn Oak. The scenery at Blackthorn is truly a picturesque snapshot of Indiana at its finest.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
Hole #10 at Blackthorn is a course favorite from a strategic standpoint. We have a short par 4 with a severe dogleg left where one can go for the green with their drive. This is hole surrounded by tall, heather grass where one can lose their tee shot if they go for the green with their driver. The other option is hitting an iron or hybrid off the tee where a short approach to the green remains.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Start your round with a spicy Bloody Mary and our signature Breakfast Burger: a 5-ounce sausage patty topped with two fried eggs and American cheese served on a brioche bun. For lunch, continue the burger theme by trying our Blackthorn Burger which ranks among the top 100 burgers in a 100 mile radius. The Midwestern Wrap is a favorite option among our guests as well. Turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and grilled bacon is drizzled with our house-made ranch, wrapped in a tomato-basil tortilla and is then lightly grilled. All of our sandwiches are served with our famous house-fried potato chips.
Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
The lowest score ever shot at Blackthorn is 61 by Eric Harstein in 2011. This score was posted in the annual Pilot Invitational hosted by Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN). Eric was playing for Holy Cross College (Notre Dame, IN) at the time, and this score included a hole-in-one on hole 13, a par 3.
Back Tee Stats
Blackthorn Golf Club
6100 Nimtz Parkway
South Bend, IN, 46628
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Revised: 01/30/2016 - Article Viewed 34,723 Times
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About: 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