Getting To Know: The Fort Golf Course
An Insightful Interview With John Swan, PGA Head Professional
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 John Swan 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
The Fort is a world class golf property. As part of the former Ft. Benjamin Harrison military base, it was a difficult but rough track. After the base was decommissioned in the early 1990's the state of Indiana took over the facility as well as the surrounding 1800 acres. The wooded acreage was transformed into a state park. The golf course was redesigned by renowned architect Pete Dye and re-opened in 1997.
The golf course is unique to the area primarily due to the topography of the land. A large ravine runs through the course creating several elevation changes and creating a somewhat hilly venue unlike the majority of flat, rolling golf courses in central Indiana created out of former farm land. The terrain, combined with the surrounding forestry of the state park and several on-course environmentally protected areas make for several spectacular views. Wildlife is often seen on the golf course and there isn't a single building on or around the golf course. You're literally surrounded by nature...20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis.
The golf course, with full bentgrass tees, greens and fairways, is a great representation of Pete Dye's brilliance. Using the land he formed holes that blend beautifully with its surroundings. Several holes cut through trees with greens tucked into small coves. The ravine is used to create several forced carries that can cause very demanding and intimidating tee shots. Spectacular bunkering abounds throughout the course and the greens are undulating in typical Dye fashion.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
The Fort is consistently ranked by numerous national golf publications as one of the top facilities in Indiana. In 2014 GolfWeek magazine said that The Fort was the top ranked public golf course in the Indianapolis area and the highest ranked course not associated with an accompanying casino in the entire state. We are also the only facility in the Indianapolis area with on sight lodging and stay and play opportunities. The Fort has a 32 room Inn as well as four townhomes and a dorm-style facility that houses 8 golfers comfortably. And they are all within 200 yards of the first tee.
The Fort is also host to The Golf School of Indiana. Headed by 2014 Indiana PGA Teacher of the Year, Brad Fellers, TGSI offers multi-day schools that will work on all aspects of anyone's game. Beginners will be given all of the basics and guided through the most optimal ways to practice and improve. Avid golfers and low handicappers will love the technical aspects of having their swings analyzed on Flight Scope and learning more about the more intricate parts of their swings and how to totally fine tune their games the same way tour players do. Joining Brad will be Ericka Wycoff, a veteran of the LPGA tour, former NCAA All-American and three time winner of the Big-10 championship, Wycoff has developed a strong following as an instructor as well, especially with women and juniors. Packages will include lodging, instruction, daily rounds of golf, unlimited access to The Fort's outstanding practice facilities as well as full analysis of your equipment.
The Fort also boasts the best stocked Pro Shop in the area. Along with a huge selection of men's and women's clothing, we pride ourselves in our ability to fit you with the perfect equipment for your game. We carry a full array of Taylor Made, Ping and Titleist equipment in stock and have access to all other lines. TGSI can be greatly utilized in helping to fit you to the right equipment as well. It is our goal to become the number one club fitting pro shop in the state.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
Keep it in the fairway!
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
The Fort was recently named as the host sight for the 2015 and 2016 Women's Big 10 Golf Championships. We are also heavily involved in discussions to bring an LPGA event here as early as July of 2015. We believe that this kind of attention lends a lot of credence to the quality of our facility and to the direction we intend to go.
We're also very proud of the numerous corporate events we host on an annual basis. In 2014 we re-signed 100 percent of our 2013 corporate bookings and have added more. Along with the quality of service we provide, our clients often note the increase in attendance they receive when they advertise that their event is playing at The Fort.
In 2013 we also became the number one destination in Indiana for GolfNow, the largest on-line tee time booking agent in the country. We took great pride in realizing that people from throughout the Midwest were truly enjoying coming to The Fort and making us a true golf destination.
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Our fourth hole is a 479 yard beauty. A par-4, it plays slightly down hill, heavily wooded on the left and right. A small depression runs through the fairway about 120 yards from the well guarded green. Golfers must decide whether to lay up short and hit a long to mid iron into the well guarded green, or hit into the valley and risk hitting the bind short iron. Either way, looking down the hill from the tee, through the trees and beyond, the hole itself has a spectacular view.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
The 18th hole is a 474 yard par-4. You tee off from a platform tee over the ravine and between some perfectly placed fairway bunkers. The second shot doglegs to the left over a shallow valley to an enormous green with some severe undulation. Again, the views are beautiful, but the hole can be very intimidating and a great finish.
The perfect tee shot is a draw down the right side that will kick back into the middle of the fairway. Big hitters may want to hit a fairway wood to avoid rolling down into the shallow and creating an awkward lie/stance. Beware of the front left pin placement. While it does shorten the hole 10-20 yards, the putting in that area is treacherous.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Smoked Bar-B-Que!! The Fort has a daily lunch buffet that is fantastic, but the real treat is the Friday and Saturday evening dinner buffet featuring our smoked ribs, brisket, chicken wings and pulled pork. All you can eat and delicious.
Back Tee Stats
The Fort Golf Course
6002 N. Post Rd.
Indianapolis, Indiana, 46216
Revised: 04/25/2014 - Article Viewed 20,636 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