Ironwood Golf Club in Fishers, Ind.: A course that doesn't let you use driver
I’m all for mixing it up a bit off the tee. Driver, driver, driver is fun, but can get boring.
And I’m all for being forced to work the ball off the tee, with driver and with other clubs.
From the regular men’s tees, the Valley and Lakes nines combine to measure over 6,500 yards. This seems reasonable, until you play it and realize that a combination of short par 4s and awkward doglegs make driver a bad play on nearly every single par 4.
In fact, on the Valley Course, there are exactly three holes where I was able to hit driver: the two par 5s and the 420-yard 9th. All the rest were too short and contained doglegs that were too far out from or too close in to the tees, or at angles such that even a big hitter could not try to cut them. (Especially if said big hitter hadn’t played there before and didn’t know where the blind landing area looked like.)
It was as if course architects R.N. Thompson and Art Kaiser tried to shoehorn too many holes into too small a space.
The Lakes Course was only a minor improvement. Case in point: the 423-yard 2nd, where the fairway is bisected around 200 yards and around another dogleg from the tee by a creek. Thus the driver was not an option, and any other club short of the creek would leave an approach of over 225 yards.
Another bad design feature is that almost every dogleg turned left to right, favoring faders (even slicers), and penalizing players who draw the ball. My brother-in-law and I hit through more fairways here than at any other course in our combined memory.
Maybe I missed something at Ironwood. Maybe it’s one of those courses that have to “grow on you.” But it won’t have a chance with me; there are too many other great golf courses in Indianapolis that will allow for both imagination and power.
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