Forest Park GC in Valparaiso, Indiana is just one more example of the fine work the “Valpo” Parks
Department does in addressing the overall recreational needs of the people in this beautiful northwestern
Indiana community. Beautifully maintained, professionally operated, and very “playable” for all skill levels –
Forest Park GC – truly sets the standard on what a municipal golf facility should, and can, be!
A Little Background
Forest Park Golf Course was established in the late 1920’s as, (originally), a six-hole course (and) the private property of William & Blanche Schleman. Soon after the end of World War II (approx. 1947), the Schleman family donated the golf course & surrounding property to the city of Valparaiso with the stipulation that it be operated as a municipal facility for the enjoyment of all the people of Valpo.
The community was able to acquire an additional (40+) acres of adjacent land & brought in Mr. Harry Williamson – who also assisted in the design/”build-out” of the nearby Mink Lake GC & the fine Valparaiso Country Club lay-out(s). This new (9) hole course was dedicated in 1949 – and moving forward (30) years – (9) more holes were added, creating the (18) hole course that you will see today when you visit Forest Park GC.
The current edition of FPGC is one of (2) municipally owned & operated golf facilities controlled by the Valpo Parks Department – the other being the “perfectly” designed Creekside Golf Course and Learning Center – a facility that rivals the best the US has to offer in a golf “training” facility * (Log on to GolfPlusOnline.net – and visit golf course reviews for more on “Creekside”) – making Valpo a strong source for golf recreation for all ages & abilities.
The Course Itself
Today’s Forest Park GC is truly the tale of (2) nines – with the original (9) hole course – (today’s back nine) – consisting of “smallish” 1920’s style greens & many scenic elevation changes, while the modern-era front nine is a more “parkland” style course with more bunkering and rolling fairways (+) larger greens-allowing for more pin-placement options (and) approach shot challenges.
The course & very well-designed clubhouse – (with a comfortable seating/T.V. area, golf shop, (80+) banquet room facility & adjacent deck area) – are both beautifully set among a large variety of trees, ponds, and “natural” environmental settings. (And) with its (3) sets of tees (measuring form 5,100 – 5,800 yards), playing to par (70) & deceiving challenges – FPGC is “good to go” for high/mid/+ low HDCP players alike.
Forest Park GC is home to the Valpo High School golf team, men’s and women’s leagues, an abundance of golf charity outings – has new carts, marshals as needed, is walker-friendly (especially the front nine), has a very reasonable rate structure (with senior, twilight, & other specials available), serves brats & dogs inside, and… wait for it… has a “never-stop” (strictly-enforced) policy for its beverage cart!
Additionally (and primarily) you will notice the professional way that Forest Park Golf Course is maintained (and) operated – in very large part due to the hard work of General Manager/Superintendent Mr. Rich Frey, Assistant General Manager – Operations Beth Bowker, and their friendly, and equally hard-working staff(s).
When the city of Valparaiso, Indiana does something – it does it well – the civic leaders, including Mayor Jon Costas, Mr. Tim Warner (the park board President), his fellow board members, and all the people in the Valpo Parks Department – are to be commended for keeping golf such a strong & vibrant part of the overall recreational picture for the citizens of their community.
I encourage you all to go on out to Forest Park GC – meet some friendly people, smell the roses, and just enjoy your …”Walk In The Park.” Forest Park GC is located in Valparaiso, Indiana, the address is 1155 Sheffield Dr., Valparaiso, IN 46385, the phone # is (219) 531-7888 -or- check out www.valpoparks.org - the course is easy to find (just off Campbell Street (on) Sheffield) – but call ahead for directions anyway!
The LPGA Tour saw (19) yr. old Mirim Lee win the Reignwood Classic, held in Beijing China; and, Shanshan Feng - of China – took home the LPGA Malaysian Open crown, while Kyu Jung Baek of South Korea won the Keb Hanabank Championship – for her 1st win, (+) Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa won her 1st ever title at the Blue Bay LPGA Tourney – (also played in China)! The LPGA is definitely “tracking” well throughout the world, building the game & crowning new stars – great job!
The European Tour watched as veteran Oliver Wilson got his 1st win (beating world #1 Rory McIlroy by one stroke) to take home the Alfred Dunhill Championship – held at the royal & ancient St. Andrews GC - * And speaking of St. Andrews * It was there that – (250 years ago this month) – the members of that fine club altered their course from (22) down to (18) holes – setting the standard for all who followed; the Portugal Masters title was won by rising star Alexander Levy (24) of Ireland – Scott Hend won his 1st at the Hong Kong Open – Finland’s own Mikko Ilonen won the coveted Volvo World Match Play Championship – and, Thorbjorn Olesen won the ISPS Handa Perth International in Perth Australia. Note: watch for all these young players to contend in majors! Soon!
The PGA Tour no longer has an off-season (as) they opened the (2014-15) “wrap-around” season at the Frys.com Open – won by South Korean star Sang-Moon Bae; Ben Martin won the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital Open the following week for his 1st win, and Robert Streb captured his first the next week at the McGladrey Classic!!
The Champions Tour closed out (2014) with wins by Kirk Triplett at the SAS Championship, Jay Haas at the Hickory Kia Classic, and Michael Allen at the AT&T Championship. It was a great season for the senior circuit – with Bernhard Langer having (maybe) the best “statistical” season seen on any tour, ever!
Non-tour, but cool note: A Mr. Dom DeBonis of Florida made his 1st ever hole in one (at age 81) this past September – nice going Dom! …The cool part?!... within (30) days, he made 3 more!
No fighting it – Fall is here! So watch for those nice days – as many of our local courses stay open all year round! Winter rates should be in effect, many have carts with cover -or- heater options (or bring your own portable cart heater) – and keep swinging. Some of my favorite rounds have been played “post-October” – Example: try the 3rd annual Chili Open being held at the Lost Marsh GC in Hammond, IN – a (4) person scramble w/ big cup added! -and- a chili “cook off” contest – call the golf shop for info – (219)923-4653 & call your favorite course… I’ll bet they’re having something similar!
Also: Our golf shops & golf retail outlets – (like Ringo’s, J&M, and Cam Golf Wholesale division) – all have merchandise priced down & ready for the holiday season. My favorite gift idea is still a certificate for a round of golf -or- a (2015) membership for the family to a region course – check it out – best value$ are now!
(And) a little charity goes a long way this time of year – the food banks, etc. all could use a little help – I know the great folks at “Grace Beyond Borders NWI” – in association with the East Chicago Indiana Salvation Army – would love to hear from us, as they hold their free holiday dinner on Saturday November 15th – a day where they feed all that they are able & give away men’s & women’s clothing to those who are in need – call/text (219)712-5192 – if you can help.
(&) in honor of Veteran’s Day (November 11th) – the city of Hammond, Indiana will be holding their annual “Veteran’s Appreciation” Day Parade. The parade will be held Saturday Nov. 8th – starts at 10:00AM in downtown Hammond – and will be aired live on WJOB 1230AM. (And) I found a “new” & very enjoyable/additional way to honor those who have served our nation – by drinking beer! The newly launched “Veteran Beer Company” is now shipping to many of our local liquor stores/bars/restaurants, etc. This company is owned & operated by vets – with 10% of all profits going to aid charities that support veteran causes & all remaining profits going towards employing returning (or under-employed) veterans! Ask for it at your local “establishment” – good idea, hope it does well! * (And a note to all of our brave men & women who serve/have served our nation – we all salute you & appreciate your service).
In case you missed it – we held a contest last month with all winners receiving (2) free rounds of golf with cart to one of our fine local courses. The winners including: Mike Z., Dustin K., Santino C., Ron R., Angie C., Bill D., Lew W., & Tom P., all called in with the correct quiz answer – the European team won the (2014) Ryder Cup (unfortunately) & won free golf! Congratulations to all & thank you to all the local courses who participated in our contest including: Lincoln Oaks, Longwood, Whittaker Woods, Sandy Pines, Lost Marsh, Turkey Creek, The Brassie, + Wicker Park. * And, watch for future contests in upcoming editions of Golf Plus.
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 GolfPlusOnline.net.
Special thanks this month: To – Beth, Rich, Joe, Bob, Bernie, Steve, Debbie, and Chuck at Forest Park GC – to Mike Modrzejewski for all his help, to my wonderful wife Mary & to all our loyal readers & advertisers.
Lastly: When you struggle with your game, remember that many of the world’s greatest athletes have found the game of golf to be a very humbling experience – one of the greatest of them all summed it up this way: “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits – but only one afternoon to do it on the course!” – Hank Aaron
Enjoy your turkey – see you in December! - Pete