Celebrating National Golf Month

By Joy Neighbors

Golfers From the 1920s
August is National Golf Month! Golf has always been an important part of the history of both French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs Hotels. Today, French Lick Resort is home to three championship courses. In fact, nowhere else in the world can a golfer play courses designed by Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Tom Bendelow, all in one location!

The Resort’s Courses

Pete Dye Course
The legendary Pete Dye carved the Hoosier hillside into a scenically stunning and physically challenging golf experience in 2007. Today, the Pete Dye Course hosts numerous tourneys every year including the annual LPGA Legends Championship Tour, which is coming up this month, August 18 – 21.

Donald Ross Course
In 1917, iconic golf architect Donald Ross created his traditional course along the lay of the land, in true Scottish style. The Donald Ross Course has been home to numerous regional and national tournaments including the infamous 1924 PGA Championship.

Valley Links Course
The Valley Links Course is the oldest on the resort; a nine-hole conversion of the original 18-hole course designed by the renowned golf course architect Tom Bendelow. Today professionals, amateurs, and junior golfers all enjoy playing this beautiful family-friendly course.

The Resort’s Director of Golf

Dave Harner
Dave Harner, Director of Golf at French Lick Resort, seems to have always been involved in the sport. “I started working here as a kid, right out of high school,” Harner said. “I’ve spent 40 years at the resort. I grew up playing golf on the Donald Ross Course. I still love the vision Ross had in 1917 of the natural course. It’s very challenging but fun to play.”

Harner can rattle off course stats, championships played here, even the winners of those games, not only because it’s his job to know, but because he truly loves the game. “It’s been my life. And golf can be a life-changer. I started a caddying program here and it has helped 10 kids get scholarships into college – that changed their lives. We also have The First Tee Junior Golf Program, which teaches nine core values. When you play golf, you make better decisions in life based on these core values you learn; they’re great life lessons to learn, regardless if you ever play the game.”

Golf’s Nine Core Values

Here are The First Tee Nine Core Values:

1. Honesty - the quality or state of being truthful; not deceptive.
Golf is unique from other sports in that players regularly call penalties on themselves and report their own scores.

2. Integrity -strict adherence to a standard of value or conduct; personal honesty and independence.
Golf is a game of honesty, etiquette and composure. You are responsible for your actions and personal conduct on the golf course at all times.

3. Sportsmanship- observing the rules of play and winning or losing with grace.
You must know and abide by the rules of golf and be able to conduct yourself in a respectful manner, even in a competitive game.

4. Respect- to feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
In golf, it is important to show respect for yourself, your partners, your opponents and the golf course as well as for the honor and traditions of the game.

5. Confidence- reliance or trust. A feeling of self-assurance.
Confidence plays a key role in the level of play that you achieve. You must have confidence in your abilities every time you play, regardless of the outcome.

6. Responsibility- accounting for one’s actions; dependable.
In golf, you are responsible for yourself and your actions on the golf course. It is up to you to keep score, repair divots, rake bunkers, repair ball marks on the green and keep up with the pace of play.

7. Perseverance - to persist in an idea, purpose or task despite obstacles.
To succeed in golf, you must learn to persevere through bad breaks and your own mistakes.

8. Courtesy - considerate behavior toward others; a polite remark or gesture.
A round of golf should begin and end with a handshake between fellow competitors. Show courtesy toward others by remaining still and quiet while they prepare and execute a shot.

9. Judgment - the ability to make a decision or form an opinion; a decision reached after consideration.
Using good judgment is critical in golf. It comes into play when deciding on strategy, club selection, when to play safe and when to take a chance, the type of shot you consider executing, as well as understanding and abiding by etiquette.

Join me each Thursday in August as we take a look at the courses, the game of golf and the effects the game has had on the resort, over the years.