Fully Revved Up

Well, today was the real “start” to the trip and things have gone exactly as hoped so far (knock on wood). This morning, I got up super early and headed to my first course for the day…

Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway • Indianapolis, IN • 8/12/12

This is a course I’ve wanted to play for a long time and I knew if I ever made it to Indiana, this would be my top choice. It lived up to expectations.

Whether you want to call it a “gimmick” or just a great concept for a golf course, what makes Brickyard Crossing so appealing is the fact that it is located right next to the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway (aka “The Brickyard”). In fact, four of the holes on this course are actually located INSIDE the racetrack itself! That concept is what drew me to this course, so I was glad to finally play it today.

This course has been around since 1929 (racetrack opened in 1909, according to some signs I saw there), but Pete Dye totally revamped it and put his stamps all over it. On every hole, you can tell it’s a Dye design with all of his subtle and not-so-subtle stylings in play. He really did a great job tying into the history of the Speedway. Some old bricks from the original track surface were used as design touches, as well as some big cement blocks that were once retaining walls on the track itself. Painted bricks are used as the tee markers, as well. The only thing missing is golf carts that look like Indy cars. Someday, maybe.

Overall, the land is pretty flat, but Dye did a good job with all the mounding and twists and turns in the layout to create 18 very nice holes. A friend who had played this course before told me that the four holes inside the track were actually the least interesting. I am not sure I fully agree. Holes 7 and 8 are great. The 7th is a fun par-3 with an “anthill” style green with not a lot of room for error. The 8th is kind of a mini replica of 18 at TPC Sawgrass with water all along the left of this dogleg left hole. Holes 9 and 10 are a little less interesting, but the 9th did have a truly “Dye-abolical” pin placement for us today.

The rest of the course is very enjoyable and it was in excellent shape all the way around. From tee to green, it was lush and beautiful, though a bit soggy for us that early in the morning. I was in the second group off the tee and we got around the course at a nice early morning pace, which was exactly what I was hoping for given the rest of the day I had planned.

In my opinion, Brickyard Crossing is a must-play if you are in the Indianapolis area. It may not be the most incredible layout you ever play—or even in this area that seems to have a lot of great golf—but it’s a solid Dye layout with a rich history and extremely unique setting. Playing next to and within the Speedway track is as Indy as it gets, so it’s an excellent representation of this city.

Some pictures from Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (8/12/12):

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And then you get to Hole 7, which is the first one inside the racetrack. Unfortunately, there are no elevated views to show the track itself, but you can see all the grandstands and stuff from course level.

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The next few holes are back outside the track, but run alongside the back of the grandstands (Turn 3, according to the guy I was playing with who also happened to work at the Speedway).

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Though I wanted to go check out the Speedway’s museum, I didn’t have much time to waste. My next destination was Stanwood, Michigan—a 5.5 hour drive away—where I had another round planned for the early evening.

Originally, I was going to play twice in Indy today (with the second round being at The Fort, which I was able to play yesterday), but I got a great stay and play package deal at the Tullymore/St. Ives Resort up here in Michigan.

St. Ives Golf Club • Stanwood, MI • 8/12/12

I was originally just going to play the Tullymore course, which seemed to be the better of the two courses here, but the package allowed me to work in a round at the St. Ives this evening when I arrived. Let’s just say it was well worth the change in plans.

I really liked The Fort, but I loved St. Ives! It is just my type of course. It’s a very hilly and tight layout with a ton of trees and elevation changes. It’s simply beautiful here in Michigan and this course embraces the area’s great natural surroundings. The weather was beautiful, as well. A little cloudy, but nice temperature for a pleasant evening round.

I was able to get up here and tee off by about 5:30. I was stuck behind a threesome all round, but they actually played quickly. So I just took my time to take pictures and enjoy the experience knowing I’d have no problem finishing before dark.

As you’ll see in the pictures, it’s a stunning course. What’s funny is that early on the back nine I started to get an odd feeling. As much as I loved the course, all the holes were starting to blend together. Just as that thought hit me, I reached a stretch of holes on the back nine that was entirely different. It flattened out a bit and wound through some marshy areas. This part of the course was more reminiscent of something you’d find in South Carolina or Central Florida. It turned out to be the perfect change of pace at just the right time before the 18th returned to the style I had fallen in love with on the front nine.

St. Ives was in excellent condition from tee to green. Some tees had been aerated recently, but didn’t affect play one bit. The fairways were lush and green. The rough was lush and deep (as in tough to hit from). The greens were a bit firm and thin, but overall okay.

All in all, St. Ives was a great course in a fantastic setting. I am so happy I added it into the trip and now I can’t wait to play Tullymore tomorrow!

Some pictures from St. Ives Golf Club (8/12/12):

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For dinner, I grabbed a very good cheeseburger at the sports bar inside the St. Ives clubhouse. A tasty way to end another great day on the links. The Inn here at St. Ives is also quite nice and a definite step up from the Motel 6s I’m used to.

Lastly, I saw plenty of wildlife here at St. Ives. I saw many deer on the course and included one of the pictures I took. I saw a bunch of wild turkeys on one tee, as well. The creatures that took me most by surprise, though, were the black squirrels. I’ve never seen a black squirrel before and they just looked odd. I did see a few normal gray squirrels out here, too, but there were a lot that were jet black in color. They are very skittish, though, so I had a hard time snapping a picture. This is the best one I got, which makes it look even creepier. Hopefully, I’ll catch one tomorrow on the other course.

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Previous Day: The Fort (IN)

Next Day: Tullymore (MI) and Arcadia Bluffs (MI)

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