EDITOR’S NOTE: The eighth in an occasional series on regional golf courses.
Once upon a time, Fort Knox’s two golf courses truly set the golf standard for Kentucky’s Great Venues.
Anderson was the course for enlisted men while Lindsey was for commanding officers only.
For many years they served as host venues for the KHSAA Championships, with the team competition being played at Anderson while the individual tournament was played at Lindsey.
Lindsey was so good that the winning score in 1962, Lebanese golfer Rob Spragens’ two-day score of 145, held for 11 years, despite improved technology during that time.
While Anderson did not survive budget cuts and is now closed, Lindsey Golf Course is open to the public and is a course that presents a challenge to golfers of all skill levels.
But it is more than a beautiful course.
It’s what you’d expect when Major General Julian Lindsey had in mind when he designed the course nearly a century ago and hosted the Kentucky State Open in 1943, won by the legendary Byron Nelson.
Lindsey Golf Course bears the mark of a military spirit.
A player must have a strategy in mind, select the right club for a successful shot while keeping in mind that a wrong choice could lead to catastrophic results.
There are the well-placed trees guarding the approach shot to the greens. Many greens are mounded, leaving a shot on the flop instead of just a chip when a green is missed. While some of the deep sand bunkers have been replaced by grass bunkers, those that remain are treacherous, leaving the golfer tiptoeing to see the flagstick.
Lindsey is well maintained with meticulous attention to detail, with areas around the trees clear enough for a player to land a shot. The Bermuda fairways and bentgrass greens are immaculate. Many holes have directional flags to give the player the correct angle to the fairway.
Lindsey is playing 4,538 yards from junior starts but is tough on 6,796 from rushing. There are five sets of tees.
The opening hole is a 309 yard straight hole from the back tees, giving the golfer a good chance to birdie and walk out of the green feeling like the day is going to be easy.
Many holes have doglegs to get around, including the second, where the Bullion Depository, or gold vault, at Fort Knox sits in the background when a player hits the approach shot. There is another reminder of the history of the land as the seventh is played, another par five with a graveyard to the left.
The back nine struggles more than the front, starting on the 10th hole over a pond. Long hitters must be precise on this par three measuring 254 yards and rated as the toughest hole in championship starts.
The next hole is a winding par five with trees lining both sides of the fairway. There is a narrow opening on the second shot, and even if a player keeps a ball in the fairway, he must stand with the ball above his feet on his third shot into the uphill green.
The next par-five, the 479-yard 14th hole, requires a carry over a lake on the second shot if it is to close in two shots. Others have to decide if they want to play it safe and let a 140-yard shot hit the green in regulation. There is a third option available for those who want to try threading the needle to find a 20 yard strip of fairway to the left of the water for a shot closer to the green.
The Lindsey Golf Course may not be the long and difficult course of modern designs, but it has stood the test of time.
This is the one you should be playing. As a bonus, it’s a nice walking track.
Green fees are $26 weekdays and $30 on holidays/weekends. Carts are available for an additional $18. Senior rates are $32 weekdays and $38 holidays/weekends. Trolleys are included in this price.