French Lick Resort: An Unparalleled Golfing Experience

by | Jul 27, 2023 | Where to Play

French Lick Resort: An Unparalleled Golfing Experience

The French Lick Resort in Indiana has a rich and storied history. It all began in the early 19th century when mineral springs were discovered in the area, believed to have healing properties. This led to the development of a small health spa and hotel in the 1840s, attracting visitors seeking relaxation and wellness.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the resort gained prominence as it was expanded and renovated by wealthy businessman Thomas Taggart. The luxurious French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel were constructed, and the area became a popular destination for the rich and famous. High-profile guests like Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald were known to visit.

During World War I, the resort was temporarily converted into a hospital for the U.S. Army. After the war, it struggled to maintain its former glory, and by the 1960s, the hotels faced decline and closure.

However, in the 21st century, the resort experienced a revival when the Cook Group purchased it. Substantial investments were made, and the French Lick Resort was meticulously restored to its original grandeur, combining historic charm with modern amenities. Today, the resort offers a wide range of activities, including golf, gaming, spa services, and fine dining, attracting tourists worldwide to experience the allure of its fascinating history and golf.

Golf at French Lick Resort

The golf at French Lick Resort is nothing short of extraordinary, offering a captivating experience for players of all abilities. Experience unparalleled golfing on two world-class championship courses that showcase the breathtaking natural beauty of the Indiana countryside.

The Donald Ross Course

The Hill Course,” as it was originally known, was designed by the legendary golf course architect Donald Ross in 1917. The historic course has undergone extensive restoration to recapture its original splendor, and in 2005 the Hill Course was renamed The Donald Ross Course at French Lick. The layout showcases Ross’s signature features, including strategically placed bunkers, challenging greens, and strategic routing. Golfers can immerse themselves in the rich heritage of the game as they traverse this classic course that has hosted many prestigious events, including the 1924 PGA Championship, won by Walter Hagen.

Stepping onto a prestigious golf course and following in the footsteps of legendary golfers demands a deep reverence for the sport’s ancestral origins, elevating the round to an undeniably distinguished experience.

Donald Ross’s architectural expertise is evident in every aspect of the course. From the strategic bunkering to the well-designed greens, every hole offers a unique challenge, rewarding players with a well-crafted golfing experience.


The Hill Hole (#13) at the Donald Ross Course is a long, demanding par 3.

The Most Memorable Hole: The iconic par-3 13th, known as “The Hill Hole,” stands out for its stunning elevated tee box and dramatic downhill shot. It is a hole that showcases both the beauty of the natural surroundings and the architectural brilliance of Donald Ross’s design. The downhill nature of the hole makes it visually striking and creates a sense of anticipation for players. To add to the challenge, “The Hill Hole” features a green well-guarded by strategically placed bunkers, requiring precise shot-making to land the ball safely on the putting surface. The green itself is known for its undulations, adding an extra layer of difficulty when it comes to reading and executing putts.

Playing the Donald Ross Course at French Lick offers a blend of excellence, historical significance, and natural beauty, making it a truly unforgettable and rewarding golfing experience.

The Pete Dye Course

The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort is one of the world’s most challenging and scenic golf courses…the ultimate test, pushing even the most skilled players to the limit. Get ready to test your mettle and immerse yourself in the beauty and challenge of one of the world’s most iconic golf courses.

The history of The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort traces back to its visionary architect, Pete Dye, who crafted this stunning golfing masterpiece in the early 2000s. The idea to construct a world-class golf course at the historic French Lick Resort in Indiana came from the resort’s owner, billionaire entrepreneur Bill Cook. Recognizing the potential to create an exceptional golfing destination, Cook approached Pete Dye with the challenge of designing a course that would complement the resort’s rich history and natural beauty.

Despite his initial doubts raised by the steep inclines and rugged terrain of Mt Airie, Pete Dye created a truly exceptional golf course. Dye incorporated his signature features, including dramatic elevation changes, large and strategically placed bunkers, and undulating fairways. These elements not only provide golfers with a formidable challenge but also accentuate the stunning landscape of the Indiana countryside.

Renowned for being one of the most challenging courses you can play, every hole presents a new and unique challenge. But don’t be deterred by the difficulty — embrace it as an opportunity to elevate your skills and experience the thrill of conquering a true golfing masterpiece.


The 11th hole on the Dye Course at French Lick features an incredible vantage point from the forward tees.

The Most Memorable Hole: How do you pick just one? Each hole presents a unique and challenging experience, and what is deemed memorable by one person may differ from another’s perspective. But the hole that left the biggest impression on me was the Par-4 11th. This golf hole is gorgeous, played from the forward tees; high above the fairway, the green may appear to be reachable. Don’t be fooled; it is still 330+ yards without much room for error. Missing right or left and you will find yourself with either a shot out of the fescue or potentially a blind approach shot. However, if you can hit a draw from the tee to the narrow curving fairway, you’ll have a mid to short iron into the green. No matter how you play this hole, it is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The Pete Dye Course at French Lick promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you craving more.

French Lick Resort Accommodations

The hotels at French Lick Resort offer an extraordinary and all-encompassing escape for guests seeking an indulgent retreat. The historic French Lick Springs Hotel showcases timeless charm with its elegant architecture, inviting guests to immerse themselves in a world of refined luxury. The world-class spa offers pleasure and relaxation to new heights, and the on-site casino excites those looking to try their luck. Meanwhile, the West Baden Springs Hotel is a stunning architectural marvel, boasting a breathtaking, domed atrium that leaves visitors in awe. With fine dining options, a tranquil spa, and picturesque gardens, the West Baden Springs Hotel promises an unparalleled experience of lavish indulgence. Both hotels offer a seamless blend of modern comforts and timeless elegance, making French Lick Resort an idyllic destination for a rejuvenating and unforgettable getaway.

Experience an Unforgettable Get-Away at French Lick Resort.

Staying at French Lick Resort is an unforgettable experience, especially for golf enthusiasts, as it offers a perfect fusion of luxury, history, and world-class golf. The iconic French Lick Springs Hotel and the awe-inspiring West Baden Springs Hotel provide an elegant backdrop for an indulgent retreat. Golfers can relish in the challenge and beauty of the Donald Ross Course and the Pete Dye Course, each designed to perfection by renowned architects. Beyond golf, the resort’s first-class amenities, from upscale spas to fine dining and a casino, cater to every desire. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes and the tranquil ambiance of the Indiana countryside, guests are immersed in nature’s beauty. Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, French Lick Resort delivers an exceptional stay that blends the allure of history with the excitement of world-class golf, creating cherished memories that last a lifetime.

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Photos Courtesy French Lick Resort


About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Alan Darty</a>

Alan Darty

Alan is the founder and publisher of Golf One Media and the former publisher of eSouthernGOLF—a second-generation Florida native who loves all things Florida. You can usually find him with his wife, watching their two daughters coaching volleyball at Oviedo (FL) High School or Mississippi State University when he's not golfing, hunting, or fishing.