BRICKYARD CROSSING GOLF COURSE – Indianapolis, IN
B – Playability & Challenge
B- – Quality of Course
B – Memorability
A – Service Levels
A – Pro Shop
C – 19th Hole Experience
B – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
(Written by Jim Dee) … I had heard about the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course from several Indianapolis locals, all pretty much saying the same thing — it’s a one of a kind experience; you’ve got to play the Brickyard; you’ll love it, etc., etc. Knowing that I had the opportunity to plug another hole in my top 100 pegboard, it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to go. This would be my second attempt to play this course. My first try was washed out by what was best described as one of the wettest Springs on record in Indiana. I think half of the topsoil in the state wound up somewhere in Kentucky, and my attempts to sell my wife on this great new place to live went south with the topsoil. Having spent most of the past twenty years in Arizona, we saw a year’s worth of Arizona rainfall in about a week in our new home state. On the bright side, my water bill was almost nothing, and the lawn was green and growing like crazy. However, I digress — back to golf.
While reading the sports page in the Indianapolis Star that morning, I noticed a headline that caught my attention – “Moto GP Tests at Speedway Today.” As I read the article, knowing that I had a tee time at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course this afternoon, I had to wonder what impact it would have on my golf game. But more on that later …
This course is everything that I had heard, and then some. It has some truly interesting and unique holes, but age seems to be creeping up to this place. The clubhouse is showing signs of needing renovation, and an adjacent small motel is right out of the 1950’s. One would think that with it’s proximity to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway (literally right next door); some enterprising group would take advantage of the local tourism opportunity and build a first class hotel and clubhouse. But, none of this seems to bother the avid golfers that are here for the real reason and that is to play a great golf course and get a free inside view of the race track.
The first few holes are fairly straight-forward, with a creek providing some character on a couple of holes. The sixth hole is a par-5 that I managed to par. When I came off that hole, I was directed to a tunnel that took me inside the Speedway, and literally in the infield of the Brickyard. The seventh through 10th holes play in the infield of race track. A couple of decades ago, this same infield contained half the course, but the need for a larger pit area cut that down to only four.
As I was teeing off on number 7, with a great view of the track and the famous Gasoline Alley pit area, I caught myself muttering something like … “is this cool, or what?” At that same instant, I figured out what that blurb in the morning paper was talking about. Flying by, only 50 feet away from our tee box was a motorcycle blazing a trail into a turn at about 210 miles per hour. For full effect, the rider was leaning into the turn, with his knee about an inch off the pavement. I watched in amazement as a few of these guys blew by and I was totally distracted. I was reminded that it my turn to swing my stick.
Thankfully, number 7 is a par-3, 180 yards hole over water, so I didn’t need to hit driver. I managed to walk away with a bogey, after missing the green with screaming motorcycles in the background. The eighth hole is the toughest hole on the course, with water all down the left side. This was bad news for me and my left-handed slice, not to mention those damn motorcycles that were still buzzing around everywhere. The distractions finally got to me, and I record a dreaded triple-bogey. I proceeded to have a pointed conversation with myself while walking off the green, knowing I can play better than this. A pparently, I listened because I rebounded with pars on number 9 and 10.
Leaving the green on number 10, I was directed back through the tunnel (my time inside the oval is done), but still stayed within view of the track for several holes after that.
The 13th hole is a nice little par-3 175 yarder, with a partially hidden green. There is a wind sock located on top of the grandstands behind the green that is used by the drivers on the track as a marker as they head into a turn. It not only serves as a good target, it also let me read what the wind what was going to do to my ball in flight. I managed a birdie on this hole, and am starting to play some decent golf. The final four holes bring me back to the clubhouse and away from the track, and all of the holes criss-cross a winding creek that runs through the course.
I manage another birdie on the final hole, a fairly challenging par-4 (437 yards) that requires a blind tee shot to an elevated fairway across the creek. My card reads 46-42 for an 88, and I’m feeling pretty good about the day.
The sad thing for this course is that Golf Digest has removed the Brickyard Crossing from the top 100 list in their latest ranking. Being on the bubble at number 100 had to be an omen for the course. I can understand GD’s thinking after seeing some of the signs of an aging course. But, whether or not it’s in the top 100, it’s still a fun course to play in a unique setting, and I’ll continue to play it when I can.
I’m already laying plans to play the course during the weeks leading up to the Indy 500 next May. Getting a bird’s eye view of the Indy cars screaming around the track with the sounds they make during a round of golf has got to be fun. Hey, I’m willing to take another triple bogey for the Golfest team just to get a close up look at some open wheel racing. That’s the kind of guy I am. And, who knows, I might even get a glimpse of Danica Patrick looking to duke it out with another driver. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you can do the same thing in July when they run the Brickyard 400. (Hopefully Goodyear can figure out how to build a tire that can last more than 10-laps before the next race).
See you at the Brickyard!!!