Remembering Ten Years of Milestones at French Lick Resort
By Joy Neighbors
This month, we begin our 10th anniversary celebration at French Lick Resort. So much has happened in the short span of a decade. Here are just a few of the memorable times we’ve shared with our guests and our community.
|French Lick Springs Hotel|
The restored French Lick Springs Hotel reopened after being closed for one year. The restoration project totaled $382 million-dollars and included 443 rooms refurbished in the Classic American tradition. A 27,000 square foot full-service spa and health club, along with a new pool complex and fitness center were added. The hotel offered 36,000 square-feet of meeting space, a six-lane bowling alley and eight new restaurants.
|Donald Ross Grand Opening|
The Donald Ross Course at French Lick reopened in September after a 4.6 million-dollar restoration. The course was renovated back to its Scottish roots - the way it was when Walter Hagen won the PGA Championship here in 1924.
|French Lick Resort Casino 2006|
French Lick Resort Casino officially opened its doors in November providing the only Vegas-style experience in Southern Indiana.
|West Baden Springs Hotel Atrium|
West Baden Springs Hotel reopened its doors on May 23, 2007, 75 years after the last guest checked out in 1932. The nearly $500 million-dollar restoration project culminated with 246 rooms refurbished in grand European style including almost a dozen specialty suites and a lavish Presidential Suite. The breath-taking free-span dome soared 110 feet above the original tiled atrium floor.
|The Spa at West Baden|
The Spa at West Baden opened featuring a refurbished two-level natatorium based on the original 1902 design. The 8,000 square-foot spa included a 12,000 square-foot indoor pool along with treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
|Buffalo Trace Mountain Bike Trail|
October was the time to grab your wheels and take to the Buffalo Trace Mountain Biking Trail which was designed to follow the contours of the land including natural rock outcroppings, stone quarries and caves.
French Lick Casino opened the Midwest’s largest non-smoking room in August. The 9,500 square-foot space included 300 slot machines along with Black Jack, Roulette, Crazy 4 and Craps tables.
|Pete Dye Course|
The Pete Dye Golf Course opened to critical acclaim on April 24. The course touted golf course designer Pete Dye’s distinct volcano bunkers and narrow fairways, along with stunning panoramic views of Southern Indiana.
|French Lick Casino 2009|
French Lick Casino underwent a major exterior renovation during 2009 that changed its appearance from a steamboat on water to the stately structure it is today. The casino also upped its gaming experience by adding an 8,000 square-foot High Limits area that included lush surroundings and table games such as Mini Baccarat, Blackjack and Craps.
|Mountain Biking Trail|
The Mountain Biking Trail, a five-mile single track loop, opened on October 3 after a name change from Buffalo Trace Mountain Biking Trail. The Mountain Biking Trail was just the beginning of a trail system that would wend its way through the resort's 3,000 acres.
French Lick Resort was privileged to host the PGA Professional National Championship at the Donald Ross Course. The final two rounds were played at the Pete Dye Course.
It was a step back in time when hundreds of restored Ford Model A autos gathered at the resort for a week-long Model A Restorers Club National Convention.
|US Hickory Open|
French Lick Resort proudly hosted the US Hickory Open for the Society of Hickory Golfers at the Donald Ross Course.
French Lick Resort continued to welcome guests from all over the world, providing them with memorable experiences and our famous Hoosier Hospitality.
|The Legends Championship|
Women’s professional golf returned to French Lick Resort after 50 years. The Legends Championship featured 70 top LPGA players who took to the Pete Dye Course for what would become an annual event.
The Senior PGA Championship, the most historic and prestigious event in senior golf, was held at the Pete Dye Course. This was the Championship’s first visit to the Hoosier State.
Historic trolley service resumed between the towns of French Lick and West Baden, Indiana 100 years after it was first launched as the “world’s shortest trolley line.” The restored 1930 trolley drew riders from near and far for a century-old thrill of riding the rails.
A national phenomena rolled into French Lick Resort this year when Footgolf became an option of play at Valley Links Golf Course. Footgolf is played with a soccer ball instead of golf balls, and rather than use a club, you put the ball in the hole with your feet. Guaranteed family-fun!
|Meeting and Event Center|
A twenty million-dollar expansion increased capacity of the Meeting and Event Center to 105,000 square-feet allowing for the accommodation of national conventions and large corporations. But French Lick Resort also began to offer more than traditional meeting space; several unique venues were added including dining alfresco at the Pete Dye Mansion, campfires at The Stables and group activities like team bowling.