Not every “Bear”-named golf course is a reference to Jack Nicklaus. No, this public access course north of Indianapolis comes from the pen of a lesser-known former PGA pro, Dean Refram. The two-time event winner had a brief career in golf course architecture, and Bear Slide is the only project he led outside of his native Florida.
So where does the “bear” come in then? The name of the course corresponds with the name of the creek that flows across the West half of the property. If any hazard on the course is truly bearish, it may be some of the more spectacular bunker designs, such as the gargantuan sand hazard that sits inside the crook of the par four No. 13.
Refram relies on the natural gradient of the land as well in order to induce strategic thinking from the player. This is seen in the hole immediately previous to No. 13, a par five with bountiful options during the second shot: Players can take the easy lay up to the left fairway, offering pitching wedge to the green (but with a pond in between). Or they can lay up on top of a plateau right that offers a short, straight-ahead pitch to the green. Or, of course, they can launch a prayer over the plateau and find out on the other side whether their ball found glory.
The front nine offers flatter terrain, albeit with more ponds to attract the ball.