IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Mystic Hills was a fun ending to Pete Dye Trail tour

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

CULVER, Ind. – Mission accomplished.

It took four years, but my attempt to play all seven courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail ended with a bang on a cold but sunny November afternoon – a most pleasant way to finish a most pleasant golf odyssey.

While Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the most famous of the few such golf ventures, the Dye Trail is special, too. There may be fewer courses, but those included offer plenty of variety and an historical touch as well.

Mystic Hills flags

Mystic Hills golfers had a high-flying time at the Big Cup Chili Open.

Dye – arguably the premier golf course architect of this generation — picked the seven for the Trail from the 25 courses he designed in his home state. They included his first-ever 18-holer, now known as Maple Creek, and – until just a month ago – his last course, the Pete Dye Course at French Lick.

Maple Creek was known as Heather Hills when it opened in 1961. Design-wise it was a joint effort between Dye and wife Alice. Dye’s latest creation is at Keswick Hall, near Charlottesville, Va. I’m scheduled to play there in two weeks. Continue reading

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Finding America’s first golf course wasn’t easy

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Setting foot on the grounds of America’s first golf course took awhile – four years to be exact. Finally, though, it happened. That’s the good news.

The unfortunate part is that Oakhurst Links, saved by a purchase by Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier Resort, was closed for the season a week into November. Playing this unique layout was not an option.

Oakhurst’s welcome sign is somewhat hidden in the woods and not really close to the road leading to the clubhouse.

Oakhurst’s welcome sign is somewhat hidden in the woods and not really close to the road leading to the clubhouse.

Some history: Oakhurst Links was a golf course from 1884 until at least 1912. Then Russell Montague, owner of the property, converted it into a horse farm. Just a few of Montague’s neighbors played the course way back when, and a book — “Oakhurst: The Birth of America’s First Golf Course’’ by Paula DiPerna and Vikki Keller (Walker & Co., 2002) – detailed the early history of the place. Continue reading