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The Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort & Casino opened in 1917 as "the Hill Course".

Certain names are synonymous with excellence in their fields. They need no introduction, context, or explanation. Michael Jordan. John D Rockefeller. Frida Kahlo.  For golf, Donald Ross and Pete Dye are two such names. 

In 1915, a gentleman traveled from French Lick, Indiana, to Pinehurst, North Carolina to recruit Donald Ross for a new course near the up-and-coming hotel he represented. Since arriving in the United States with $2 to his name, Ross had taken what he learned during his teenage apprenticeship under Old Tom Morris and made a name for himself as a golf pro and course designer. Donald Ross’s “Hill Course” opened near the French Lick Hotel in 1917. It immediately drew interest and hosted the PGA Championship seven years later. As part of a major makeover to the French Lick resort in 2005, the Hill Course was renovated to include some of Ross’s original vision and reopened as the Donald Ross Course at French Lick. 

Part of the aforementioned renovation included adding another course to the current golf setup. Once again, French Lick turned to arguably the premiere design name of his time and reached out to Pete Dye. The designer who built the Stadium Course on swampland and dreamed up Crooked Stick was now asked to drop a golf course on a hillside. Pete described the ask at his 2008 Hall of Fame induction by saying, “They’ve given me the highest point in Indiana to build a golf course.”

At first, Dye said there was no hope of building on the spot. But something wouldn’t let Pete quit it. As was his habit, Pete began scribbling on a bar napkin. That outline became the foundation for The Pete Dye Course at French Lick, and you can see that napkin when you visit today.

Carved from winding hills and blended into nature, the Pete Dye and Donald Ross courses at the French Lick Resort represent a rare opportunity for golfers. Not often are masters of the same art able to display elite works side by side without one outshining the other. Golf at the French Lick Resort is both challenging and beautiful. It’s old and new. It’s Ross and Dye, and come May 13th, golf at the French Lick Resort is Stick and Hack.