Take a drive through Munster Indiana, and it doesn’t take long to see that they do things right. So, when it
came time to build a community golf course, no one should be surprised to see how well it has turned out.
Centennial Park Golf Course is the result of an excellent usage of land, careful planning, forward thinking
and execution, and, should serve as a model for any city with similar land reclamation opportunities.
Munster: In The Beginning
The town of Munster was originally the home to many Native Americans, including the Potawatomi, who lived off the abundant wildlife here in the Calumet region. By the 1830’s, European settlers began to settle along the well-worn paths used by the Potawatomi – this “ridge” (which we now know as Ridge Road) served these settlers well, allowing for ease of transportation & commerce. The land on either side of this ridge was good for farming, however it was sparse, due to seasonal flooding. As the railroads brought more settlers, and as the city of Chicago grew, farm products were in demand – and land was necessary for additional agriculture and the raising of livestock. Creative ways were found to re-direct the little Calumet River and what became know as Burns Ditch.
Among the early Dutch settlers, a family by the name of “Monster” anglicized their name to “Munster”, and in approx. 1870 opened the “Munster General Store”; and on July 1st, 1907, the now growing community of (500) adopted the name of Munster, and incorporated.
Moving into the 1920’s, Chicago commuters began what would become known as “urban sprawl” – more land was reclaimed from the marshlands along the southern parts of this new town. Additionally, moving forward into the 1950’s and beyond, as the industrial areas surrounding Munster grew, even more land was created through imaginative drainage and farming practices – once again allowing for more homes and businesses to be established. And, as you will see this continuous respect for the usage of land and resources has continued into the 21st century.
Centennial Park & Centennial Park GC
On July 1st, 2007 – in conjunction with the celebration of the town of Munster’s 100th anniversary – “Centennial Park” was opened. This multi-seasonal, eco-friendly, former landfill-from its conception – through to completion – could not have come out better.
The park includes a 2,000 seat amphitheater, biking/walking trails, beautiful gardens, a children’s playground, picnic areas, overlooks on to Lake Maynard, a (3) acre dog park, and of course the completely environmentally efficient clubhouse and golf course.
The golf course, which officially opened in (2009), is a 3,300 yd., (9) hole, par-36 regulation golf course – designed by the talented Nugent Golf Course Architectural firm (well-known for their outstanding work at Harborside International GC in South Chicago - as well as - White Hawk CC in Crown Point, IN) which blends a mix of highland and marshland settings with a traditional links style design.
When most people think of a nine-hole golf course (especially one built as part of a community park) they immediately think of a “Par-3” style course – so before going further, I need to stress that this is a championship-caliber nine-hole course. A course that will give you all that you can handle, and more! Bent grass throughout, with moguls surrounding most driving areas, large rolling greens, well-placed fairway & greenside bunkering, water hazards, and a large variety of trees. Centennial Park GC is one course where you need to think “fairways & greens” – keep it straight – and be mindful of the swirling and constant winds produced because of the elevations.
That being said, the course has (4) sets of tees allowing for different levels of difficulty, and if very well conditioned throughout. The course has a very peaceful, natural feel – and looks like it has been there forever. Excellent drainage, visible yardage markers, layout pictures at tee areas, is surrounded on two sides by beautiful homes, and, on a clear day, you can see as far as the skyline of Chicago. The electric golf carts are in great shape (with windshields & covers) pull-carts are available, and the expansive driving range & putting green are among the best in the region. The golf shop is very well stocked – and leagues, (10) round weekend passes -or- annual passes are available. Pricing is reasonable and the course offers junior & senior rates.
The professional staff is as good as it gets. Up front is head golf professional Matt Meneghetti, a (22) yr. P.G.A. member who has served as the golf professional here at Centennial Park GC since its opening – and is a master when it comes to his knowledge & level of service. Matt also serves as the golf coach at Purdue-Calumet – doing a great job there as well. Also on staff is long-time area professional Jerry Dadigan – another top notch, service oriented, fixture at Centennial. And, both golf professionals offer adult & youth golf instruction, as well as, a junior golf camp – call for info (219)836-6932.
Also inside the clubhouse are meeting rooms – when fully opened allowing for up to (210) people – perfect for weddings, golf outings, etc. And the “View” restaurant is a great place to have lunch (inside) -or- to relax outside on the beautiful patio overlooking Maynard Lake. For banquet/meeting info call (219)836-6930.
The current town leadership learned well from the founders. Their respect for land usage and the environment is evident throughout the community – but nowhere more so than at Centennial Park & Centennial Park GC. These facilities were both built on what many with less imagination would have considered “waste” land. Instead the entire facility has received the “leadership in energy design” (Leed) certification – one of the highest accolades any facility can receive. Incorporating natural light throughout the building, green roof installation – insuring the capture of storm water – and lowering heating/cooling needs, parking lots with porous pavements, and the mining of methane to aid in the powering of the facility (provided by the former landfill). The town council, including town manager Thomas F. Degiulio, and the Munster Parks Department have done a great job and I am sure their predecessors in Munster would be proud of their efforts. Currently the town of Munster is home to over 22,000 residents, clean light industry, the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, numerous civic & religious organizations, beautiful homes, abundant restaurants & night spots, and much, much more.
When you get the chance, go on out to Munster and enjoy the beautiful park & golf course; appreciate the immaculate conditioning maintained on the course by superintendent Mike Airodi, work with facilities manager Jessica Degiulio on your next banquet, or just say hello to the eco-“friendly” people of Munster. For information concerning the “music in the park”, “movies in the park”, or any number of other activities this fine facility offers, contact the Munster Parks Dept. at (219)836-7275 -or- the Centennial Park Golf Course at (219)836-6932. Centennial Park & Golf Course is located at 1005 S. Centennial Dr. in Munster, IN 46321. (3) miles south of 80/94 on Calumet Ave.
High school boys golf heating up – with Valpo still on fire! They have recently posted victories at the Marquette Catholic Invitational, the “storied” Uebele Invitational, and set a record (291) total – (4-players) – at the Rensselaer Invite.
Cheyenne Woods (the two-time All-American lady golfer from Wake Forest) finished out her college career in grand style, and is heading to the LPGA Tour. I am sure Uncle Tiger is cheering her on!
The “National Basketball Retired Players Association” will be hosting its inaugural golf outing at Lost Marsh GC on June 8th. This great event benefits “Haven House” of Hammond, IN. A lot of former Bulls & Bears players will be there – for info call Mary Colville at (312)388-1179.
Think Father’s Day – Think Golf! Take dad out on Sunday June 17th for some fun on the course -or- how about a gift certificate for a round of golf? Every course has “specials” just for dad – with great pricing at J&M Golf Stores & Ringos’ on Route #30. For anyone who is reading this, I am a size large in most golf wear, and I could use a new driver!
Wicker Park GC in Highland, Indiana is having “Night Golf” on June 28th, 29th & 30th. Tee times are necessary – and start at 9:00PM – running until – 1:00AM! Food & adult beverages will be available. Thanks to Mike at Wicker for the heads up – and to Frank Mrvan for thinking outside the box! Call: 219-838-9809 for info.
Friday June 22nd at White Hawk CC in Crown Point, IN – St. John the Evangelist Catholic School is having its 6th annual Educational Foundation Golf Classic. A lot of fun, food, raffles, and more. – All for a good cause! Call Steve at 219-365-5559. He will give you all the details.
Also coming up at White Hawk – a July 7th scramble – including a pig roast, live music – and fun – call (219)661-1300. *Construction is complete on the new golf shop & bar/dining area – go on out & enjoy.
More good causes: Indiana Ridge GC in Hobart is having the “Friends of Fats” Benefit on June 9th – course # 219-942-6850 – Ernie will fill you in – give him a call. South Shore CC in Cedar Lake is host to the annual Eagles Club Golf Outing benefiting the Special Olympics – on June 23rd. Call South Shore (219-374-6070) -or- the Eagles Club in Cedar Lake at (219-374-9873).
Remember to listen to “Golf Talk” on WJOB 1230AM on Thursday June 14th – I will be joining Michael Stewart on his “Stew for Lunch” program. I go on at approx. 1:00PM. Give us a call at (219)845-1100 -or- you can view the show by logging on to www.wjob1230.com Note: “Stew” as well as other WJOB personalities appear every Thursday night at Freddy’s Steakhouse on 165th & Kennedy in Hammond, IN – starting at 6:00PM – lots of music, good food, and fun – Join in.
Good friends Tim & Laurie once again remind us that the always fun St. Thomas More Festival is coming up – June 20th until June 24th to be exact. The address is 8501 Calumet Ave. in Munster, IN, and you can learn more by calling (219-836-8610).
Make Plans: Independence Day fireworks, Tuesday July 3rd at Centennial Park in Munster, IN. Live music (7-11) featuring Nicole Jamrose – concessions & beer garden – special VIP buffet at the “View” restaurant – call for more info (219)836-6930.
Sand Creek CC in Chesterton Indiana will be hosting the “Crisis Center Wine Fest, Beer Tasting Auction” on June 14th. Great prizes including Bears tickets, balloon rides, and many, many more – all for charity – call ahead for times & costs (219-938-2720).
As Always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4313, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
Good friend Dave Pishkur (the outstanding baseball coach at Andrean High School in Merrillville Indiana) may never break any records on the golf course – but he deserves a great round of applause for winning his 800th game as Andrean’s coach; and with son Mark on the mound, as well as, his other son Ryne coaching 1st base, it had to be extra special.
Special Thanks This Month:
To everyone at Centennial Park & Centennial Park GC – including Matt, Jerry, Sharon, Marisa, Dianne & Tori in the golf shop; Lillie, Christi, Paulette, Pat, Shirley in the events office: Jessica & Rod in the clubhouse; Deborah & Ashley at the town manager’s office; Shiela & Kevin at the View restaurant; Karen at the Chamber of Commerce: Donna & Sharon at the Parks Dept., and Chris & Christina at the Munster Public Library.