When you combine one of the finest staff of professionals with a forward thinking parks department, in a
progressive & growing community – it should come as no surprise that you end up with the “best”
conceptual golf facility and training center in the country – The “Creekside GC & Training Center” of
Valparaiso, Indiana. Creekside GC & Training Center is a (*12) hole golf facility, opened in (2000), located
just west of beautiful downtown Valparaiso, IN. Built by the Parks Department, and layed out by the talented Wadsworth Corp. design team in collaboration with many gifted golf minds – Creekside truly sets the standard for what a golf “training” facility should be.
The facility includes an outstanding (9) hole (2,500 – 3,400) yard golf course, (3) additional golf holes, (12) high quality heated tee stations (overlooking the well-designed outdoor driving range), several indoor nets, (2) golf simulators (offering a variety of golf course options), a golf fitness program, and year round golf instruction by one of America’s pre-eminent golf professionals!
The (9) hole “Glen” course features (4) sets of strategically placed tees – allowing all levels of players to enjoy these beautifully designed golf holes. The novice golfer will find the most forwardly placed of these teeing grounds a more forgiving area to learn the game; with hazards “complementing” the hole design – but not severely effecting their navigation to the green. As a players skills improve, (and they are up to a slightly more advanced challenge), the tees just a little farther back are designed with an incrementally greater challenge – with more direct involvement of hazards, slightly longer approach shots, and a more severe angle of approach to the equally well-designed greens.
This extremely well thought out design feature continues until reaching the farthest back tees, which will challenge even the most talented of golfers. This golf design element to the course is masterfully applied throughout the entire (9) holes – and was by no means accidental! The design “team” that included many in the Parks Department, LPGA member Nancy Bender, and others, has truly helped to create the best environment on the course for new players to learn the game through – enjoyment, a “moving target” of success, and a “gradualized” approach to the challenge of the game of golf.
In the past, most courses were layed out simply by placing a forward teeing ground closer to the green, allowing for shorter distances – but with still unforgiving “carry’s” over hazards – and with approach shots over greenside bunkers, etc. – that are more suited to skilled players. The continuing thought process in the design at Creekside has allowed many who otherwise would have become discouraged (as they learn the game) to enjoy the game of golf. This difficulty, inherent in most golf course design, has created a barrier that has lost many potential golfers, and in order to continue to grow this great game, future designers of golf facilities would be well served to follow the example set forth here at Creekside.
For the advanced player, Creekside will give you all you can handle! But the course offers a unique opportunity to play alongside your spouse, child, or grandchild -and- by playing the “appropriate” tees – you can all enjoy a round of golf together!
The (3) hole “meadow” course is made up of one (each) full length par (3), par (4), and par (5) hole(s), and continues the design elements of the “Glen” course – and even allows for a fifth set of tees! These holes are equally challenging, and allow the facility to continue “on course” classes/instruction if the Glen course is occupied. And, for many, this meadow course probably allows for a little more “private” place to work on their game.
Both courses are beautifully maintained (with bent grass throughout) by General Manager Rich Frey and his staff – including Assistant/Superintendent Phil Burke. The outdoor driving range is open year round & includes (12) heated tees, with great targeting and sight lines, the carts are in great shape w/ covers, yardages are accurately marked, the putting green & practice area(s) are excellent, a multitude of league choices are available for men, women and juniors, the beauty of the natural surroundings includes several varieties of trees, wetlands, ponds, etc. – with native wildlife known to show up like deer, fox, coyotes, herons, and the occasional mink!
Inside the spacious clubhouse, you will finds state of the art golf simulators, several indoor netted hitting bays, a comfortable seating area, a well-stocked golf shop, snacks, and, of course a friendly and professional staff.
Creekside is very “senior friendly”, available for outings, is host to many charitable functions and a practice ground for many high school golf programs including: Valpo, Wheeler, Morgan Township & South Central. Yearly passes are available, and the fee structure throughout the entire facility is excellent!
This would be enough for any facility to offer, but here at Creekside, there is much, much more! You see “Creekside” is called “Creekside GC & Training Center” for a reason. This fine facility is the home to the (1st!) chapter of the outstanding “First Tee Program” – assisting with the introduction of golf to countless youngsters throughout the country – (please log on to www.thefirsttee.org - as this writing does not allow for me to give the proper space to truly emphasize the importance of this organization), also, the well-respected “Hook a Kid on Golf” program established by the PGA of America, been named one of the top (100) ranges in America, is an LPGA “major test site”, and also home to one of America’s finest golf instructors – Nancy Bender.
Nancy Bender has been involved with Creekside since the very beginning, and over the last (12) years, has provided this facility, (and the golfers of our entire area) with the most extensive & varied golf instruction opportunities in our region. Mrs. Bender has been named the LPGA “Teacher of the Year”, been named as one of the top (10) best teachers in Indiana, as well as one of the top (50) golf instructors in the United States. Nancy’s year round golf instruction programs – beginning with “Lil Tigers” (for ages (5) and under), clinics, “Snap Shot” classes, etc. – are designed to assist all levels of golfers. *See listing of upcoming class schedules in this publication. It is impossible to calculate how many lives Mrs. Bender has touched over the years – she is one of our regions true stars – in golf, and as a person!
It’s simple - Creekside GC & Training Center, with its insightful design features, highly qualified and caring staff of professionals, and supportive Parks Department, (headed by Director John Seibert), is – “Simply the best”. For further information concerning Creekside GC & Training Center, call the course at (219)531-7888 -or- log on to www.valpoparks.org. Creekside is located at 2355 Clifford Road in Valparaiso, IN – just west of downtown. For info on instruction with Nancy Bender, call the course -or- email her at email@example.com.
Congratulations to: Gary Sowinski – the head golf professional at Briar Ridge CC in Schererville, Indiana – for his recent victory at the Indiana Senior P.G.A. Championship -and- Terry Werner (a member at Briar Ridge) for winning the Indiana Senior Amateur Championship. As far as we can tell, this “double”, coming from one golf course – has never been accomplished in our state! This may not be an accident however, in that Gary is a highly qualified proponent of golf fitness/performance training; a relatively new field that many golf professionals in our area are now including in their lesson programs. I will follow up, and bring you more information on this very important aspect of golf instruction next month.
New location: our friend Rick Roberts of “Rio’s Country Club” (our areas finest indoor golf facility providing league play and utilizing golf simulators) has relocated to 3205 Cascade Drive in Valpo. This new location is near the corner of Rte 49 and Rte 2 – Call for league information, etc. at (219)465-5200.
Sales, Sales, Sales: Don’t miss the 2012 “Illiana Golf Sale” being held at Balmoral Woods CC in Crete, Illinois. Friday – Sunday November 9th thru the 11th. (15) area golf professionals are providing equipment and golf apparel to the sale – and prices are greatly reduced! Balmoral Woods CC is on Rte 394 – directly across from Balmoral Race Track – Call (708)672-7448 for info.
More sales & great service can be found by visiting either the Griffith (219)922-1787 -or- St. John (219)365-5611 location(s) of J&M Golf stores. Excellent quality golf products and a knowledgeable staff can always be found at J&M.
High fives & congratulations to the Cam Golf “wholesale division” on celebrating their 40th year in business. Go see Don Bach and the fine staff at Cam – in Lynwood, Illinois – just off Torrence Ave. – Call (708)474-9272 for further information, directions, etc. All golf balls, clubs, etc. – At wholesale pricing.
And, the holidays are also a great time to visit our friends Jim, Dave & Wally at “Ringo’s Golf Center” on Rte 30. (40+) years and going strong. Call (219)942-8929. Go see their large selection of all golf related products and gift ideas.
Fall and Winter rates are in effect everywhere! Go out and enjoy a round of golf at your favorite course -or- try some place new. Either way – go on out to the course – have dinner, maybe a cocktail, and take a close look at the 2013 membership offers available at most courses – at greatly reduced rates. A family, individual, or junior membership makes a perfect gift for anyone (including grandchildren)! *Remember, the gift of golf is – the gift of a lifetime!
And for some region: “Golf Talk” – Please join Michael Stewart & myself on Thursday Nov. 8th on WJOB1230AM. Call us on the air at (219)845-1100 -or- to view the show log on to www.wjob1230am.com. I go on at 2:30PM. And remember, every Thursday “Stew” and the WJOB gang meet up at Freddy’s Steakhouse on 165th & Kennedy Ave. in Hammond, IN for great music, laughs, and great food & drink – Join in!
Charity – It’s that time of year – and many of us are working to assist several of our organizations/communities with the “Toys For Tots” program. In Crown Point, Indiana, you can drop off a new toy or donation at City Hall, any fire station, or police station – or you can contact the Mayor’s office for special events at (219)662-3290, and they will gladly assist you in getting your gift to someone who will greatly appreciate it. In Valparaiso, the program is headed up by the “always giving” Dunes Leathernecks Detachment Marine Corps League & the Valpo Parks Department. For info, call (219)462-5144 – and to have some fun – on Dec 1st, the Parks Department & other civic leaders will be holding a “Touch A Truck” event at the Central Park Plaza (downtown Valpo) – with prizes, refreshments, and fun for all ages. This event runs from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and helps many who are in need of a little Christmas cheer. Also, you can contact the Hobart Parks Department – or indeed most city offices for info. And as always, our friends at “Griffith Meats & Catering” on 45th Ave in Griffith, IN are one of our prime “drop off” sites. –Thanks To All -
More charity – Our friends with the “Adrenaline Ringside Wrestling” are holding a wrestling event in Lake Station, IN – on Wed. Nov 21st at 7:30 P.M. at the American Legion. Our friend “Rex Hart” will be retiring, and our buddy “Nevada Slick” will bring along his famous (9) Iron! – Good cause, try and make it.
Some Holiday Fun: The annual “A Christmas Story” exhibit is running Nov. 10th thru Jan. 6th at the Indiana Welcome Center, located at the intersection of I 80/94 & Kennedy Ave South in Hammond, IN. Photos with Santa, live entertainment, animated & interactive displays, crafts and more are going on every day. For details, log on to www.AChristmasStoryComesHome.com – but don’t shoot your eye out!
More: Cardinal Creek Golf course in Beecher, IL in conjunction with the Beecher Lions Club and “Alicia’s House”, are having a “Breakfast with Santa” event on Sunday Dec. 2nd from 8:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – come on out and see Santa – you know you want to!
And one more: Join the people of Crown Point, Indiana as they celebrate around the “Square” downtown, with their annual tree lighting on Nov. 16th at 5:30 P.M. – They do it right!
Special thanks this month: To everyone at Creekside – including golf professional Nancy Bender, General Manager Rich Frey, Pam, Steve, Beth, and all the staff – Michelle, Keith, Annie & Jordan. To Michael Modrzejewski for all his help, and, to my lovely wife Mary for her patience and support.
As always – I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4314. And to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus Newspaper online – visit our website at www.GolfPlusOnline.net.
LASTLY: A special salute this month to all of our advertising partners here at Golf Plus and GolfPlusOnline.net. To all the golf courses & golf related businesses, and to our other advertisers who provide quality products & services to our region. We hope all our friends and readers will continue to support these local establishments, as they continue to employ thousands of people in our area. Thanks – Enjoy some turkey – See you next month!