DESTIN, Fla. -- Indian Bayou Golf Club has been a staple of the Destin golf scene for more than two decades. And if it's been around that long, it must have something going for it.
Indian Bayou is indeed set back in a pretty bayou off the main road, U.S. 98, that runs through the heart of Destin. Those familiar with Destin know you can be in the heart of the thriving vacation city and still find relative solitude, since the area is situated on a thin strip of land between the yawning Gulf of Mexico on one side and the big Choctawhatchee Bay on the other.
Indian Bayou has three nine-hole layouts, called Creek, Seminole and Choctaw, befitting the American Indian theme.
The golf course is right beside the airport: In fact, the airport runs parallel to no. 3 on the Creek Course. Instead of it being distracting, I found it interesting to watch the planes landing and taking off; it's a small airport with small planes.
Since the course was built in a bayou, there are swamps and wetlands involved, but the fairways on all three nines are generally wide and forgiving enough that the marshes are generally there as scenery, at least off the tee.
Of Indian Bayou Golf Club's three nines, the Creek Course stands out because of some tricky layups involved. No. 4 is a fairly short par 5 with two marsh carries -- an exception to the above statement -- on which you are encouraged to tee off with a long iron or fairway wood, targeting a landing area between the two marshes. Teeing off with a long iron on a par 5 is interesting to some, vexing to others.
No. 6 is another layup in front of a marsh. No. 2 is a tricky driving hole, a dogleg right with water on both sides of the fairway.
"This is my least favorite nine," said Punch Elliott, playing with friends Chad Wilks and Barry Barrett, all golfers from Wisconsin.
The three nines can obviously played in any combination. Indian Bayou's Creek/Seminole Course is the most difficult on the scorecard, with a slope rating of 142, but I found Seminole to be the easiest of the nines, though it is the longest.
Greens fees at Indian Bayou are in the $60-80 range. The course has been fairly recently renovated and updated, and is in good condition.
"It's in good shape, and there were some interesting holes out there," Elliott said. "It's a good resort course, with a nice variety of holes. I like the fact they all end with par 5s."
The greens on all three nines are medium to large, with some subtle slope and undulation, if a tad slow.
There are some holes on all three nines that will get your attention, particularly some of the longer par 4s.
No. 7 on Choctaw, for instance, is tough, a long par 4 that bends right, with water guarding the right side of the green. That's followed by the longest par 3 on the course, 216 yards with bunkers guarding the front of the green.
No. 3 on Seminole is a long par 4 with a narrow landing area and well protected green, and no. 7 is another long par 4, a dogleg right where your approach will be slightly uphill to a huge green.
September 28, 2007