“The Birth of a Golf Course”
It is a well known fact the Old Town of English was a flood prone territory. On June 7th 1990, a flood swept through English, leaving downtown covered in nearly 10 feet of water. For English enough was enough and the town applied to F.E.M.A. for assistance to move the town to higher ground and out of the floodplain. Over the next five years many businesses were relocated to the “New English” location about a mile east along Hwy 64.
The fertile valley along the Three Forks of Little Blue was once again empty. Crawford county was the only one of Indiana’s 92 counties that had no golf course and a local school teacher and businessman thought there might be an opportunity to build an 18 hole course in ‘Old English’.
Dr. Hurdzen and Mr. Welchel created a magnificent 18 hole layout with two distinctly different nines. The front is south of Hwy 64 and is mostly flat along the old towns bottom land. There are two large lakes, Camp Fork Creek and the Little Blue River, one or more of which come in to play on 8 of the 9 front side holes. Some of the old streets cross several holes. Holes 4 and 7 from the back tees offer a breathtaking view from a cliff 100 feet above the valley. An underpass along the Little Blue takes you to the back 9 North of Hwy 64. This side is primarily carved from the hills and ridge tops overlooking Dog Creek and Brownstown Creek. A large lake comes in play on holes 10, 11, and 12. Dog Creek is in play on holes 12 and 13. These 4 holes run along the base of a large hill and ridge to the west. The path to the par 3, 14th hole goes past the clubhouse and up the hill to where 14 plays from one hill across a steep valley to another hillside. 15 takes you across another steep valley to a plateau on the ridge top. 16 also lays on the ridge top with a challenging approach shot to a narrow green with steep runoffs on 3 sides. Although a relatively short par 4, hole 17 is the number one handicap hole on the course. 17 is a dogleg right carved into the side of the hill with a ‘safe’ landing area about 20 yards wide. The approach shot of 120 to 150 yards plays across a steep unforgiving ravine to a shallow well-sloped green on the hillside across the ravine. 18 is a long dogleg left par 5 that tees from the side of the hill 80 feet above the fairway below. Brownstown Creek runs along the whole right side of 18 and its 180’ long, narrow green.
Brownstown Creek and Dog Creek come together at the foot of the practice green to form the headwater of the Little Blue River (A national scenic river).
There are 25 strategically placed bunkers scattered over 13 of the 18 holes. There are multiple tee boxes on every hole that allows the course to play from less than 5000 yards to over 7000. From the tips the par 72 course rates 74.2 with a slope of 133. The course has over 6 miles of cart paths and over 11 miles of drainage pipe that assures a dry, playable course within hours of even a heavy 2 inch rain.
After the first year this hidden gem of the Hoosier state was plagued by under-funding and mismanagement. As a result, the cart paths were not paved and eroded along the hillsides. Sand traps became unplayable and the course generally fell in to disrepair. Predictably, play fell off and the course fell behind on the mortgage.
Mr. Forrest Lucas, a Crawford county resident and one of the original investors, was approached about picking up the mortgage and he generously agreed to step in for the good of the community. In May of 2012, ownership of Old English was aquired to Mr. Lucas and it officially became Lucas Oil Golf Course in August of 2012.
Mr. Lucas is not a golfer but, he knows and very much appreciates nature and something of great beauty. He is committed to bringing this golf course to all it can be and he has the right people in place to achieve that.
Superintendent Mark Giuffre has the greens and fairways looking great, stream banks have been cleaned up and trimmed. Cart paths have been paved, the bunkers are next and work has begun on them. The clubhouse and restaurant have been renovated and clubhouse manger Robin Brown and her staff now serve the best food in the area; breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Mr. Lucas hopes the golf course can become a destination spot for great championship golf and great food.