For close to (90) years now, Turkey Creek Golf Course in Merrillville, Indiana has provided the people of
northwest Indiana with a wonderful place to recreate, come together for many county-wide charitable events, (and) family functions, in a beautiful park setting.
Built during the boom years of golf course construction of the late 1920’s & opened in – (what is now) – the approximate population center of Lake County Indiana – in 1928 – Turkey Creek GC has survived through the depression years, as well as, the war years of the 1940’s – (and) as more and more people moved into what was a small rural community, Turkey Creek GC has become an oasis for green grass activity in this now heavily populated section of our county.
The Course Itself
Covering over (150) acres TCGC is a fun and challenging (18) hole course with many tree-lined fairways, sometimes quick, but receptive greens; has water coming into play on about a dozen holes – (including Turkey Creek itself, which winds throughout the course) – and has become, most recently, a very well-conditioned course – do in large part to the efforts of veteran superintendent, Tom Zimmerman.
The course measures from (4,700 to 6,200 yds) from its (4) sets of tees, and plays to either a par (70) or (72) depending on which tees you use – the course drains very well, and has a series of cart paths throughout – assuring the course will be open on all but the worst of rainy days; on busy days, marshals monitor the pace of play, there is a well-stocked half way house that is accessible on several holes; the carts are in excellent shape, there is a nice putting green, the course is “walker-friendly,” yardages are well-marked, and with the many membership options, twilight, senior, student, and other specialty rates available – is an excellent value to boot!
The clubhouse at Turkey Creek – which has seen many changes over the years – (and if it could talk, would be chock-full of some pretty interesting tales!) – has been home to many of our region’s golf legends, most notably to long-time golf professional – and Golf Plus Hall of Famer – Mr. Nick Schafer. He set the bar for the current (very friendly) staff you will find at TCGC – including Helen, Kathy, Crystal, and others, who make you feel right at home.
And it includes: A golf shop with whatever you might be looking for, a large lounge/dining area – (with room for about 75) – a full bar & kitchen – (which serves food all day) – and is a great place to hang-out & watch a ball game or golf tournament – (and) the extremely nice “Banquet on the Green” banquet room – which holds up to (240) for functions of all types & overlooks the course and outdoor patio area.
A Little More
With the closing of so many of our local courses in recent years – I am not sure if Turkey Creek GC would not have become just another statistic in this category – if the Lake County Park District had not taken over the property a few years back. I for one am glad it has remained what it is – a fun place for many, packed with many fine memories – and for a lot of us who feel that Turkey Creek Golf Course deserves the title of “Lake County’s Home Course.”
Turkey Creek GC is located at 6400 Harrison Ave. in Merrillville, IN - The zip is 46410 – The phone # is (219) 980-5170 – and it is easy to find – just take I-65 to 61st Street – head west on 61st St. to Harrison Ave. & go south approximately a quarter of a mile – you can’t miss it!
Around The Tours
The LPGA Tour crowned another young (23) South Korean winner (Jenny Shin) – at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout – this was Ms. Shin’s first ever title; (and) the ladies European Tour played their Buick Championship in Shanghai, China with home grown Shanshan Feng successfully defending her (2015) victory.
But, the month of May in women’s professional golf was truly won by (20) year old Ariya Jutanugarn who won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama for her 1st career win… then won her next start at the Kingsmill Championship…and then…wins again the following week at the LPGA Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, Michigan! – becoming the 1st LPGA member to ever get her first (3) wins in a row! *Note: all (13) winners on the LPGA Tour this season are (23) years of age (or) younger! …With the youth emerging as it has on the women’s side, the (20-something) stars tearing up the men’s circuit, and the constant “feeder system” supplying the Champions Tour – the future of worldwide competitive golf has never looked brighter.
The Women’s College Game also saw a lot of excitement in May – including: The women’s NCAA Division I Championship – played in Eugene, Oregon – with the individual title going to Virginian, Elena Carta, who shot an incredible (16) under for an eight shot victory; and the team championship being won by the University of Washington in a very tight set of matches – (3-2) – over defending champion, Stanford University. This was Washington’s 1st ever men’s or women’s golf title and a much deserved victory for coach Mary Lou Mulfur, who has coached the team for (33) years.
And a little farther south, the women’s collegiate NAIA National Championship – held at the beautiful Savannah Quarters CC in Pooler, Georgia – had a very local participant – our region’s own Nina Nicpon – a sophomore from Marian University – and the daughter of Kelly & Rich Nicpon from Palmira GC in St. John, Indiana, who made a great showing in some pretty rough weather – nice job Nina! (And) pretty soon we’ll see her sister, Mira, out there on the national stage as well!
On the “far-flung” worldwide European Tour – Haotong Li – (a 20 year old) – won his 1st title on home turf at the Volvo China Open; the Trophee Hassan II Tourney – held in Morocco, North Africa, was won by another (20) year old – Jeunghun Wang of South Korea – in a playoff with --- this has got to be the greatest name in golf --- Nacho Elvira! …This was Mr. Wang’ 1st victory as well.
The following week, at the Mauritius Open, held in Beau Champs, Africa, Jeunghun Wang made it two in a row by birdieing the last hole to edge out Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh. You got that? I’m pretty sure we used every letter in the alphabet for this section!
And finally, Rory McIllroy captured his national open – (The Irish Open) – for the 1st time, his first title of 2016, and generously donated his entire check of (approx. 1 million dollars) to his youth oriented charity – the “Rory Foundation”; and May closed out for the Euro Tour in Surrey, England as Englishman Chris Wood beat a world class field at the BMW PGA Championship.
On The Senior Circuit: The Insperity Invitational title – held at the Woodlands in suburban Houston, Texas – went to Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik for his 1st Champions Tour title; an event that saw the (50+) debut of John Daly, who finished in a tie for 17th, not bad John! (And) the event inside this event – the “3M Greats of Golf Scramble” title – went to the team of Crenshaw/Stockton/and Irwin – cool event – with the team of Nicklaus/Trevino/and Player, finishing out of the top teams – but who cares – it was just great to see them “grinding” on every shot.
The 1st senior major title of the year (the region’s tradition) went to Germany’s Bernhard Langer – in a (6) shot victory – for his (27th) overall Champions title, and his (4th) major victory of the (5) majors available on this tour – joining only Jack Nicklaus & Gary Player in accomplishing this feat.
And the 77th edition of the Senior PGA Championship – held at the wonderful Harbor Shores GC in nearby Benton Harbor, Michigan, crowned the popular Rocco Mediate as their champion. Rocco won in wire-to-wire fashion for his first major title of any kind, shooting a Senior PGA Championship record nineteen under par. And how about a tip of the hat to fellow Hoosier, John Dalcorobbo – the club professional from the Brickyard Crossing GC in Indianapolis – who faced the best (50+) golfers in the world, and came home in a tie for 7th – great job, John!
On The Men’ PGA Tour: Veteran, Brian Stuard, won his 1st title at the rain-shortened (54 holes) Zurich Classic of New Orleans, by going bogey-free, and making an incredible 44 out of 44 putts of 10 feet or less! Note: This makes (11) first time winners on tour during this 2015-16 “wrap-around season” – more new blood!
The talented James Hahn captured his 2nd tour title at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. – after missing the previous (8) cuts in a row!
The 43rd Players Championship victory went to #1 in the world, Jason Day of Australia, in wire-to-wire fashion at the fantastic TPC of Sawgrass course in northeastern Florida – a course made most famous when Alice Dye suggested to her husband Pete – why don’t we just cut out an island green here – (because of problems with the swampy area around what was to become the 17th hole) – good idea, Alice! (And) a hole – (measuring only about 120-140 yds) – that had not seen a single hole-in-one in 6,296 shots since 2002 – (by tour players during the event mind you!) – until Will Wilcox – (a young man, who had not made a hole-in-one in his career on tour) – made an ace on 17, on Friday the 13th! More numbers? The water surrounding this hole grabs a tidy 90,000 plus golf balls per year! – Indeed, it was a very good idea, Alice!
The month of May wrapped up in Texas with Spaniard, Sergio Garcia, picking up his 9th career PGA Tour title – (and 1st since 2012) – at the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic; and native son, Jordan Spieth, winning the 69th edition of the (now-named) Dean & Deluca Invitational at the historic Colonial CC in Fort Worth. Jordan got it up and down from everywhere, to get his career 8th PGA Tour title before the age of (23) – surpassing Tiger – who won (7) tour titles before his 23rd birthday. And speaking of Tiger – (and I know all the sponsors of events, etc. are watching closely) – his return to the tour after more than a year, may be approaching – (and) it will be interesting to see if maybe he will have to re-invent his long game – similar to a pitcher in baseball coming back from Tommy John surgery, or if he continues to go full out… love him or not, he brings $ and attention to the game!
It’s that time again! The 86th Lake-Porter Golf Classic is being held July 30th and 31st at the beautiful Palmira GC in St. John, IN. Come on out & give it a try this year. There are (5) flights – including senior, super senior, ladies, mid-handicap, and championship – so everyone can compete – go to palmiragolf.com (or) call 219-365-4331 for details. And speaking of Palmira – check out their junior tour, which starts Thursday, June 9th – and runs for (7) weeks – (every Thursday) – one of the best around!
Staying on that junior golf theme, don’t forget to check out Wicker Park GC’s annual Junior Golf Camp – running June 20 thru the 23 - call (219)838-9809 for further junior events, etc. (And) another junior league is now forming at the Scherwood GC in Schererville, IN – great program – call (219)865-2554 -or- ask about their junior Foot-Golf league – (now forming).
And don’t forget Dad! Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19th – and Dad loves golf! How about getting him a certificate for a round of golf to his favorite course -or- some much needed golf supplies. Golf shops are very well stocked this time of year & the local off-course golf shops also have sales going strong. Either way – buy local – support our wonderful region golf facilities – like – J&M Golf on Rte #41 in St. John, IN – (219-365-5611); Ringo’s on Rte #30 – (4 miles east of I-65) – (219-942-8929); or Cam Golf Wholesale Division in Lynwood, IL – (708-474-9272) – all who have supported golf (and) golfers for many years in our area.
June means summer…and charity – How about helping out a few great causes, and having a great golf day at the same time! Here are just a few – but check out your favorite local golf hang-out for more.
• The 5th Annual “Hunkee Hollow” Athletic Club’s Golf Outing to raise money for Cerebral Palsy Charities of NWI is being held at the Innsbrook CC in Merrillville, IN on Monday, June 20th – sign up early – call (219)465-5797 for info.
• The LaSalle Council Boy Scouts of America – “Scramble For Scouts” event – held at the (always fun) Sand Creek CC in Chesterton, IN – is being played Monday, July 25th – and is always in need of players/sponsors/and donations – call Jim at 219-241-7159 if you can help in any way. continued on pg. 8
• *(And) Andrean High School is also holding – (what is now in its 20th year) – their annual 59’er Golf Classic at Sand Creek…on Monday, July 18th…with all proceeds to support the Andrean Scholarship Fund – call 219-887-5959 for details.
• (Plus) our good friends at Duck Creek GC in Portage Township are hosting the 18th annual Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation “Rally For A Cure” Golf Outing on Saturday, July 9th – call 219-759-5870 – for a guaranteed good time – for a great cause.
Quick Shots II
Although the wonderful Pepsi-Illiana Tour for 2016 is “ramping-up” quite nicely, there is always more room for additional participants – call 219-865-2554 to find out more about this great series of weekly events held at many of our region’s finest courses – you’ll be glad you did!
For a little non-golf fun – check out the Wicker Park Concert Series – held every Thursday night (all summer long) on the grounds of Wicker Memorial Park in Highland, Indiana, and starting on Thursday, June 16th. This series is for the 21 & over set, and always features great bands & a beautiful night out by the gazebo!
(And) for a wonderful family friendly week of great rides/all-ages musical entertainment/food & more, don’t miss the outstanding St. Thomas More Fest on Calumet Ave. in Munster, IN - this is truly one of the Midwest’s finest festivals – it runs Wed., June 22nd thru Sun., Jun 26th – for info, call (219)836-8610.
One more – if you are ever looking for a place to hang-out after golf – in a very friendly atmosphere – for a cold one – how about checking out “John’s Place” – a nine iron south on Cline Avenue from the intersection of Cline Ave. & Ridge Road in Griffith, IN – Dave & Margo and the whole gang really make you feel at home – and the golf “stories” get pretty deep – check it out – (219)838-4490.
Special thanks this month: To Chris, Zimm, Helen, Kathy, Crystal, and Jim (who I met at T.C. G.C.) – To Mike Modrzejewski who “carries me” month to month – To MRMTSM - & to all Dad’s everywhere – enjoy your day! (And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in – please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com 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.
And lastly: A quote from one of the finest athletes to ever come out of our region, and someone I know teed it up at Turkey Creek GC – all-pro lineman from the Detroit Lions – Mr. Alex Karras – who said, when asked – “my best ever score for (18) holes is (103) – but I’ve only been playing for (15) years!”
Never stop trying – See ya next month – Pete