Located to the north west of South Bend, not far from the University of Notre Dame - and its famous “Fighting Irish” varsity sports teams - Blackthorn is one of the best municipal tracks in the state of Indiana.
The course is owned by the city and it was designed by the respected golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, with the first tee shot on the layout played on its opening hole in the summer of 1994.
Measuring between 5125 and 7136 yards, depending on which of the four sets of tees are used on each hole, the course is laid out on a heavily forested, 226-acre site where its generous fairways play between wetlands and small lakes to subtly contoured, raised greens.
The club logo gives due notice of the Irish theme around the club, from the Ballybunion Bratwurst in the Blarney Grill to the Shamrock and Leprechaun tee markers – not forgetting the short par four “Blarney Hole,” where golfers can either warm up for the 18 holes ahead or settle a match in a sudden death 19th hole if they so choose to.
Blackthorn is a solid Hurdzan and Fry design that can be played for as little as $30 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Probably the best value quality course in the South Bend area. It’s a fun layout with a sound routing and a great set of par threes. A bit too much length for me from the black back tees (called Blackthorn) but the reds (called Overhead Door) are a great test for most handicap golfers at a little more than 6,500 yards. An interesting and tough settle the bet 19th hole called the Blarney hole is a gem at 250 yards or so and is well worth playing. The 18th is a 500 yard risk and reward par five with the green protected by a lake to the left and bunkers to the right. If you’re in the area then it’s worth a look. There’s a lot to like about Blackthorn.