Getting out those golf clubs – it’s a spring ritual, a summer escape, and a last autumn outing for anyone who considers a day on the fairways and greens their ultimate pleasure. This year, more than ever, the fresh air and wide-open spaces of LaPorte County’s golf courses create a welcoming haven for golfers around the region returning to their favorite places to play. What’s more, the invitation is out for anyone ready to try out some new links.
Many golfers who live in the three-state Illinois-Indiana-Michigan area might not realize that four pristine courses are within a short drive, located in the friendly Northern Indiana communities of Michigan City and LaPorte. Just an hour from Chicago and minutes from southern Michigan and other Northern Indiana communities, the courses are great getaways for a few hours, a whole weekend, or a full vacation. Need a lesson? The course Pros can help. How about some new clubs, golf balls, or accessories? All the courses boast great pro shops.
With delicious dining options, including some on golf course properties, plus lots of outdoor recreation in addition to golf, LaPorte County is a vacation destination in itself. Its location along Lake Michigan and right next door to Indiana Dunes National Park draws visitors looking for a relaxed getaway with plenty of space and options for fun. For golfers, it’s a must. So load those clubs in the trunk, and get ready for some tremendous tee-offs! And lots more!
Beechwood Golf Course, LaPorte
Tree-lined fairways and perfectly groomed greens draw golfers from a three-state region to this 18-hole championship course. Golfers who play the course regularly praise Beechwood as one of the best municipal courses around, noting its interesting challenges, ultra-friendly staff, and reasonably-priced greens fees. The traditional layout of the course makes it ideal for golfers of every skill level who most likely will find themselves using every club in their bags.
Beechwood’s history is as interesting as its top-notch layout and challenges. It was designed by Hoosier native William Diddle, an amateur player and golf course architect who designed more than 300 courses in his lifetime. The land itself was donated by Herbert Fox, the son of Bavarian immigrants who settled in LaPorte in the 1800s and were philanthropists to their adopted town.
In addition to its 18 holes, Beechwood offers a clubhouse, concessions, driving range, putting green, and chipping and pitching area.
Briar Leaf Golf Club, LaPorte
When they say “Great Golf and Great Times at Briar Leaf,” you can bet the slogan is for real. This 18-hole destination is a must for golfers of all skills and ages. Those who play the course enjoy challenging greens, including an island green, water features on eight holes, rolling hills and plenty of sand. Three different tee-offs give options for distance, and daily maintenance promises pristine conditions on fairways and greens. Opened in 1973, the course received a complete makeover recently, including professional renovation of bunkering and the addition of strategically placed trees.
The club is open to the public but includes many benefits for anyone who wants to become a member. Both the public and members enjoy special rates for couples and seniors, as well as family golf nights.
Briar Leaf’s Portofino Grill is one the area’s top culinary destinations, featuring soaring windows with views of the course, a beamed ceiling and warming stone fireplace. The extensive menu features duck, walleye, steak, sandwiches, and delicious homemade salad dressings and desserts. Or stop by the Grill House on 9 for great burgers and The Greens Pro Shop for attractive apparel, accessories, and clubs.
Legacy Hills Golf Club, LaPorte
When old and new come together, expect the best of both worlds – and that’s exactly what you’ll find at this popular golf course. Its 100-plus year story began when it was established in 1904 and continues today as it remains one of Indiana’s oldest golf courses. Zoom ahead to recent times when nine all-new holes were created across the street with a tunnel to connect the old front nine and new back nine.
Golfers who have played the course love the differences between the front and back nines, saying it’s almost like playing two completely different courses. You’ll find terrific views and interesting changes in elevation that include valleys and uphill fairways. The course offers well-groomed fairways and greens, plus an excellent driving range and practice green.
A trip to Legacy Hills wouldn’t be complete without dinner at Bistro on the Greens, the club’s sophisticated restaurant that brings an upscale twist to Southern comfort foods and classic Midwest favorites. Chef John Moultrie, who has won awards for his culinary creations, honors his Louisiana heritage with dishes such as jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp creole (daring patrons can sub alligator for the shrimp!). You can choose steak and traditional Midwest fare too. Enjoy a view of the course in the beamed dining room.
Michigan City Municipal Golf Course
It’s no surprise that this beautiful oasis draws golfers from around the area to its two 18-hole courses. Known as one of the region’s top public courses, the Michigan City Municipal Golf Course is geared to all ages and levels of skill. The course itself provides a tranquil setting for enjoying the great outdoors while you play, with huge hardwoods and evergreens, a pond or stream here, a floral planting there. This peaceful backdrop showcases the pristinely maintained fairways and greens that make each round a pleasure.
The par-60 North Course is an excellent course for beginners, with about half the number of yards as the South Course. But it does offer challenges such as hills, doglegs, sand traps and water hazards to keep your round interesting. The South Course, with a total of more than 6,000 yards, features some of the same challenges such as hills, sand traps, and water hazards, but even more difficult play. One golfer described it as a bit of a roller coaster ride with plenty of challenges. Before you head out, stop by the practice green or golf practice area to prepare. The course also features a fully stocked pro shop, snack shop, and bar serving beer and wine.
Beyond the Greens
After a full day on the links, you might decide to settle in for the night and play another round or two tomorrow. LaPorte County is filled with great options, from rental cabins near the lake to top-rated chain hotels to cozy inns. The Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa in Michigan City is the choice of many visitors, with lodging in two soaring towers, dining options from casual to elegant, and loads of gaming, including slots and table games. They occasionally offer special packages that fit perfectly with your golfing plans.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a group activity that offers space, the freedom of being outdoors, and even a bit of competition, any of the golf courses in LaPorte County will be happy to reserve a time for your group. What a great idea for a bachelor party, girlfriend getaway, or family reunion!