Getting To Know: The Fort Golf Course
An Insightful Interview With John Swan, Head Golf 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 an outstanding Pete Dye design, built on an exquisite piece of property just 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The original nine holes were built in the 1930's as part of the Fort Benjamin Harrison military installation. It was redesigned with an additional nine holes in the early 1970's by architect Bill Diddle. But when the installation was de-commissioned in the early 1990's, the state of Indiana took over the property, developing an 1800 acre state park. They also hired Mr. Dye to redesign the golf course. It re-opened in 1997 with rave review as one of the top public golf courses in the country.
The Fort features a large ravine that runs through the middle of the golf course creating several large elevation changes and rolling terrain throughout the entire eighteen holes. Something not seen in many central Indiana courses. The state park surrounds the course so that the majority of holes are lined with magnificent trees and there are no buildings or houses to be seen. Combine that with Pete Dye's signature bunkering and subtly contoured greens and The Fort will test golfers of all caliber. As evidence to that fact, it recently acted as host for the 2015 and 2016 Women's Big 10 Championships.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
The layout at The Fort is unique to central Indiana because of the rolling contour and significant elevation changes and topography. It is quite possibly the most scenic golf course in Indiana as well as one of the most challenging. Because of the surrounding state park, nature abounds with deer, fox, coyote and hundreds of different species of birds. The Fort, quite honestly, is just a fun golf course to play and beautiful to see.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
The break in the greens is very subtle and can be difficult to read at times. The tendency is to over read them and play too much break. They're very fair, but give them their due and don't overplay the break.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
While the golf course has been named to numerous "Best of" lists over the years (Golf Digest has had it in the top 5 public courses in Indiana each of the last 10 years), we're very proud of the overall facility. The food in our dining room is outstanding, with specific interest in our fried chicken and catfish dinners, as well as our new smoked barbecue buffet featuring ribs, brisket and chicken on the weekends.
Our pro shop has also been recognized by the Indiana PGA as Merchandisers of the Year and features a fully stocked pro shop with thousands of dollars in inventory. We also specialize in club sales and have been recognized as one of the premier club fitters in the mid-west.
Recently we've added The Golf School of Indiana which features several of the best instructors in the area. Brad Fellers is a former Indiana Teacher of the Year; Bruce Rearick is a renowned putting specialist; and Erika Wicoff is a former LPGA tour professional and a three time Big 10 champion.
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
There are numerous holes at The Fort that fabulous to play and photograph, but the most talked about is probably number 4. It's a 479 yard par 4 that plays downhill. From the tee it is lined to the left by trees and the right by a natural grass area. The player is forced to decide to lay-up short of a small ravine, leaving himself 160-180 yards from a level lie, or drive it into the ravine leaving them just a short iron, but a totally blind shot.
The hole is difficult enough, but the view from the tee looking down through the trees is spectacular to the point of distracting. I always tell people that when you play the first three holes at The Fort you'll quickly realize that this is a very nice golf course. But when you stand on the tee at number four, that's when you say "Wow," and realize that this really is a special place.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
I think that the most enjoyable hole is number 11. It's beautiful, very birdie-able and very dangerous.
Eleven is a par-5 measuring 547 yards. Your tee shot is very elevated with a beautiful view through the trees into a pristine bent grass valley. From there you have a blind second shot, back up hill. The hole requires all the shots. For a right-hander, the tee shot sets up perfectly for a long soft right to left fade. From the valley, you need a solid draw up the right side. Played properly, even those who aren't know for hitting the ball a long way can have a shot a reaching the green in two. Or at least setting yourself up for a nice wedge and a chance at birdie. However, deep bunkers and heavy woods can claim an off line tee shot very quickly And if the blind second shot isn't lined up properly more bunkers and natural grass areas can come into play. Those combinations can add up to big number pretty quick also.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
If you're here on the weekend, our smoked barbecue buffet in the evening is outstanding. Some of the best ribs, brisket and chicken wings in Indy!!
Back Tee Stats
The Fort Golf Course
6002 N. Post Rd.
Indianapolis, IN, 46216
Revised: 02/01/2016 - Article Viewed 19,119 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