While The Pfau Course at Indiana University is a new, welcomed addition to the golf community, the land on which it sits has a long history as well.
The golf course property, located on the east side of the Indiana 45-46 bypass, has been owned by Indiana University since the early part of the 20th century. In 1954, Indiana University Athletics officials chose it as the location for a championship golf course they hoped would rival the elite courses that its Big Ten counterparts enjoyed.
That layout was the brainchild of former Hoosier golf coach Jim Soutar, a native of Carnoustie, Scotland, who doubled as the golf professional at the Bloomington Country Club and co-head coach of the IU men’s golf team. He worked alongside former IU Athletic Director Paul “Pooch” Harrell to make the new par-71, 6,813 yard course a reality. It opened in 1957.
Shortly after its opening, it hosted its first major event– the 1961 Big Ten Men’s Golf Championship. It was there that a soon-to-be-well-known youngster dominated the field to win the individual conference championship– Ohio State’s Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus would go on to win the NCAA individual championship weeks later, and then went on to capture his second U.S. Amateur Championship later that same summer.
But Nicklaus isn’t the only famous golfer who has walked these same hills in years past. Shaun Micheel starred for the Hoosiers from 1988-91, concluding his IU career by winning the Big Ten individual championship in 1991 while leading IU to the team title. Micheel would go onto a lengthy career on the PGA Tour, highlighted by winning the 2003 PGA Championship and finishing as the runner-up in the same major event in 2006.