It does. 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 the 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. The 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.
The Water's Edge condos on Okaloosa Island puts you in a great spot for the golf courses of Destin as well as golf-happy Fort Walton Beach.
And - I never thought I'd be saying this - one of the best features about the condos is the parking garage. It goes up four levels and you can practically park in front of your Gulf-front condo. No more dragging your baggage up the elevator.
Of course, the Gulf view is pretty fine, too, seeing that the building is right on the Gulf sand. The condos are well furnished and the complex has two, large swimming pools so close to the Gulf you can hear the waves lapping on shore.
It's also close to a variety of restaurants and other non-golf options.
September 28, 2007