About The Pfau Course
Indiana’s flagship university now boasts an elite, championship golf course that not only rivals any layout in the state, but is among the premiere public golf courses in the Midwest.
Opened in 2020, The Pfau Course at Indiana University was built on the same 265-acre east side Bloomington property previously occupied by the IU Championship Golf Course, the original Par-3 course, and the IU Cross Country Course since the 1950s. But other than its location, everything about The Pfau Course is different from its predecessor, providing golfers with a new must-see, must-experience destination golf course just minutes from the Indiana University campus.
Designed by highly-acclaimed architect Steve Smyers and two-time major winner and Hoosier native Fuzzy Zoeller, The Pfau Course at Indiana University offers a unique, world-class layout that is set in the natural beauty of southern Indiana. Smyers utilized the area’s natural topography in designing the course, while also highlighting the combination of forest, open space and forest edges that result in both amazing views and a wonderful golfing test.
It’s a venue worthy of hosting not only Big Ten Championship golf, but also national amateur and professional championship events. It rivals any of the others that Smyers has designed over a designing career that stretches more 40 years and includes designs in six continents.
“It reminds me of the quote of the famous golfer Bobby Jones– he said the more he studied it, the more he loved it. The more he loved it, the more he studied it. I think that’s true for my feelings about this property here at IU. It’s a fantastic place for golf,” Smyers said.
Indiana University’s new home golf course is also environmentally friendly. The course is outfitted with zoysia fairways, a slow-growing dense grass that prevents weeds from penetrating the surface. Zoysia is also a warm-weather grass that is both heat and drought-tolerant, another net plus for the environment with the course’s regular maintenance.
The zoysia fairways are framed first with 8-10 yards of bluegrass rough followed by a blend of fescue, or Irish links, that is reddish/orange in color and significantly enhance the already picturesque views throughout the course. The Irish links rough is wispy and designed to allow golfers to find and play their ball from it.
Among the course’s many take away features is 147 bunkers spread out amongst the 18 championship holes. The bunkers come in a wide variety of sizes and depths, offering players with creative ways to navigate them. In addition, Smyers chose to design the bunkers with a more traditional, rugged look that features overgrown edges– or “eyebrows.” The greens, meanwhile, are bent grass, a cool-season grass well suited for southern Indiana’s spring, summer and fall climates. Like the bunkers, The Pfau Course at Indiana University’s greens come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. The average green size is 6,680 square feet, and they range in size from 4,145 square feet on No. 10 to 10,014 square feet on No. 7.
In addition to offering a supreme test for championship-caliber players, the Par-71 design is also accessible to players of all skill levels. It features six tee options, offering an 18-hole experience that ranges from 4,586 to 7,908 yards.
The golf facility also features two practice areas/driving ranges to meet the needs of a wide range of players. The Pfau Course’s practice and training area is located adjacent to the George Thomas Clubhouse, and includes a driving range, the Jeffrey L. and Jennifer R. Kittle Putting Green, the Courtney Cox Cole Practice Range, practice bunkers and short-game practice area for players intent on working on their game. Use of this area is included as part of your green fees, or is available for a daily fee.
The second and traditional driving range is a more affordable option available to the public. Located to the south of the practice facility and George Thomas Clubhouse, this driving range facility is accessible by entering off the 45-46 bypass by the new IU Health Regional Academic Health Center.
The end result is a course and golf facility that offers a supreme test to the championship golfer, while also being economically accessible to the high-handicapper or casual golfer. It’s a wonderful addition to IU’s world class athletic facilities, and an equally important addition for the Indiana golfing community.
About The Pfau Family
The Pfau family has a long and rich history with Indiana University and IU Athletics.
Norman Edward “Ned” Pfau, Jr., is a 1965 graduate, earning his B.A. in Business Finance in 1965. His wife, Sue, graduated from IUPUI in 1966 with a degree in Physical Therapy. Married in 1964, they have been avid supporters and advocates for the state’s flagship university ever since.
Their passion for IU and the sport of golf, though, comes from more than their time spent as undergraduate students.
During his childhood, Ned made countless trips to Bloomington with his father, Norman Pfau, Sr., from their southern Indiana home to cheer on the Hoosiers. The elder Pfau served as a basketball manager for IU Basketball Coach Everett Dean from 1930-33 and became close friends with the era’s star basketball player, future Hall of Fame Hoosier Coach Branch McCracken. After graduating from IU in 1933 with a degree in business administration, Pfau, Sr., remained lifelong friends with McCracken and stayed close to the program for the rest of his life. Those trips to Bloomington helped foster Ned’s love of IU, a passion equaled by Sue. That affinity for all things IU is also obvious in the couple’s four children – Ellen, Chip, Anne and Kari – three of whom have earned Indiana University degrees.