Spotlight: Purgatory Golf Club


I’ve been to heaven and back, and glad to report, they’ve got golf there.

A couple months ago I was lucky enough to tee it up at an Indiana gem just north of the state capitol.  What I found there was a golf experience unlike any I’ve had before. 

Allow me to take you to church on Purgatory Golf Club.

First of all, the course is a labor of love.  When 218 acres of Indiana farmland became available, Mike and Tenna Merchent acted quickly.  After purchasing the land, they hired local architect Ron Kern to make their dream a reality.  What came next is a golf course that consistently ranks among the best America has to offer.


The initial thing you’ll notice about the course is its considerable length.  From the tips it’s a beast, measuring 7,754 yards. Yep, that’s right, we didn’t mess up.  I mean shoot, it has a 741-yard par-5 that requires a 300 yard tee shot just to make the fairway.  But the thing that separates Purgatory, even being the longest course in Indiana, it’s one of the most playable.

And that’s the beauty of Kern’s design.  There are six sets of tees that are cleverly placed to provide the maximum amount of enjoyment.  A tough, 220-yard par 3 can become a challenging 180-yard shot or a comfortable 100 approach.  Every golfer, from the beginner to the more advanced, has a tee box waiting for them at Purgatory.  And the genius doesn’t stop there; you can pretty much play a different course every time you tee it up if you vary your tee boxes.  It’s that versatile.


Oh, the next thing you’ll probably notice is the more than 130, crushed limestone bunkers.  There’s so much sand at Purgatory I swear I saw David Hasselhoff slowly running across the property.  The 17th hole alone is surrounded by more than two acres of sand.  The shaping of the bunkers is gorgeous, heavily influence by legendary architect Alister MacKenzie.  And the beauty of it all is that many of the bunkers are there to guide you, not penalize you.

With fairways lined by wispy fescue, undulated greens, a handful of water hazards and few trees sprinkled in, Purgatory Golf Club is no doubt a challenge.  But it’s one you’re going to love tackling.

Fun bit of trivia: Purgatory Golf Club was even blessed a priest.  The Merchent’s “Uncle Buddy” stepped to the 10th tee and uttered a Latin phrase that translates to “Time spent here is well rewarded.”

I can attest: time well rewarded indeed.

For more information and to schedule a tee time visit Purgatory's website or call 317-776-4653.