By Mark Gregory
While golf is a great game to go out and play on a Sunday for a few hours of relaxation, but it can also be a destination game where a group of friends can escape for a weekend.
If that is what you are looking for – Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Indiana is exactly what you are looking for.
The property includes top-notch amenities including several lodging choices, one being the hotel – which includes both an indoor and outdoor pool – and Putters, a full bar and grill.
But while the food, drink and luxury part of Swan Lake would make it well worth the stay on its own – if you are there for a few days chances are you are there to golf and you will not be disappointed.
The resort offers a pair of 18-hole championship courses, which both are $49 during the week and $59 Friday through Sunday.
Twilight rates are $25 for the weekdays and $35 on weekends.
We played the Black course first. The Black is a par 72 that plays 7,131 yards from the back tees, 6,481 in the middle and 5,272 in the front.
On the Black Course, play opens with the second easiest rated hole on the course – a par-4 that plays 366 from the tips. This straight tee shot is better played to the right to allow an easier iron shot to the green.
A 176-yard par 3 is next. A hole with water on both sides of the fairway, landing the ball short is not a terrible play – but be careful on the pitch because the green will runs drastically toward you.
Hole 3 is a daunting par-4 at 425 yards with water all around. Big hitters can clear the water to the left and make for an easier play into the pin – but for most players, a layup here is a safe play even though you will have a long iron in your hand for your second shot.
Number four is the hardest hole on the course and you will know why. A 607-yard par 5, this hole has a creek bisecting the fairway and a pond guarding the green. You have to be precise here with your drive to avoid the water to the left, but then need to be able to carry the water on your next two shots.
A rare back-to-back par-5s is what is in store here with the 509-yard fifth hole.
Big hitters can get the ball over the hill and get some roll offering a birdie chance and maybe gaining back a lost shot from the hole before.
The birdie on five may be needed, because a tough, 433-yard par-4 follows that. The hole plays much easier here from the white tees as they take out the slight dogleg.
The seventh plays at 378-yards and is a hole where accuracy is needed. There is trouble on both sides of the fairway and a straight drive here makes the hole more playable.
A 215-yard par-3 follows and is mentally challenging and will have you second guessing your club selection – which we did several times over in our round.
There is water on three sides of the green, a large bunker to the left and a cluster of three more to the right. Avoiding the trouble is doable with the right weapon selection.
The front nine closes with a 459-yard par-4 that all but guarantees a long iron in your hand for your approach unless you are a monster off the tee.
This sloped green is guarded by a trio of bunkers – so hitting it in the bullseye is your best play.
A 418-yard par 4 opens the back nine, but this one offers hitters a chance to hit with a wide fairway and little trouble along the way.
A dogleg left is what is in store for you with the 416-yard par 4 11th.
There is room to carry the trees to the left and cut the corner a bit – but too far left brings a pond into play.
Did I just say water in play? Number 12 has water up nearly the entire left side of the farirway on this 454-yard par 4, so staying right and hitting your shot where you need is key on the toughest hole on the back nine.
If you think you get relief with a par-3 next – think again.
This 202-yarder requires some accuracy and club selection to fly the two bunkers flanking the fairway right in front of the green.
Fourteen is a par 4 and plays 396-yards. It is a pretty easy hole as long as you don’t let yourself get psyched out by the pond in front of the green.
The easiest ranked hole on the course is next in the form of a 479-yard par 5 that plays straight as an arrow. If you can avoid the creek in front of the green on your second shot (which I did not) this hole has birdie written all over it.
A 196-yard par 3 is next. Like all the other par 3s on the course, club selection is key – this time you want to club up one to make sure you carry the bunker to the right of the green.
Seventeen is a 451-yard par 4. Water comes into play off the tee, but after that getting to the green is not what you need to worry about. The multi-level green poses a challenge for even the most skilled putters.
Ending the round is another par 5, this one playing at 551 yards. The challenge on the tee is shot is simple – the best play is to dance with the pond on the left side of the fairway without getting wet.
There is a long approach shot to the green with water in front of the putting surface – accuracy and length are key.
So, you just finished your first round of the trip and it’s time to grab the clubs off the cart and head back to your room and get ready for the Silver course, right?
Not so fast.
If you are playing both days – your bags stay right on the cart and when you arrive the next day your clubs are cleaned and ready for you to enjoy another day at a beautiful course. But, don’t start the day off on the wrong foot – tip the workers for taking care of you and your clubs.
We will take a look at the Silver course in our next review.