The Sultan’s Run Golf Club (www.sultansrun.com; 812-482-1009) is one of the marvels of golf in Indiana, if not the entire Midwest. Designed by Tim Liddy, a protégé of Pete Dye, this 18-hole layout is located in the southwest Indiana community of Jasper, about a 30-minute drive from the resort town of French Lick.
Years ago, this piece of property where Sultan’s Run is now situated (1490 North Meridian Road, Jasper, Indiana), was once the home turf of the famous horse Supreme Sultan, which once sired a record number of world champion American Saddlebred horses. Not surprisingly, the logo for Sultan’s Run features the silhouette of an American Saddlebred horse, quite possibly Supreme Sultan. In keeping with this property’s equestrian past, each hole at Sultan’s Run is named after a world champion horse sired by Supreme Sultan. Some of those more unique names are Foxfire’s Prophet (4th hole), Magic Marvel (8th hole), Candledance (12th hole), Starpina (14th hole), and Bellissima (15th hole). When you play Sultan’s Run, you sense this property’s equestrian roots as Supreme Sultan’s presence from the past seems to hang in the air. The property that is the home of Sultan’s Run is definitely a great place to live if you were a horse, both today and back in the day.
Sultan’s Run, which provides beautiful views of the scenic southern Indiana countryside, features rolling hills, wonderful bunkering, bent grass greens, and a one-of-a-kind waterfall behind the 18th green. That waterfall is an ideal backdrop for a photo of you and your golf buddies.
The fairways and tees of Sultan’s Run feature zoysia grass which is a very hardy turf which can handle the extremes of cold and hot temperatures. The rolling hills in this part of Indiana give golfers a series of uphill and downhill shots throughout their rounds. The most memorable downhill shots are the tee shot at the par-three 2nd hole and the approach shot on the par-four 14th hole. The most memorable uphill shots are the approaches to the par-five 13th and the par-four 18th green. In fact, only a handful of holes at Sultan’s Run don’t have some type of elevation change.
Some type of water hazard – pond, lake, creek, or stream – exists on ten of the holes at Sultan’s Run, including the last four. The most prominent water hazard is the lake that hugs the left side of the fairway at the 15th hole. That lake also comes into play on your approach to the 15th green.
Sultan’s Run features two ‘risk and reward’ short par fours – the 7th and 11th – which can be tempting for big hitters looking to drive the green, in search of an eagle putt.
“The Sultan’s experience is unique in that we are secluded from the hustle and bustle of big-city noise,” said Jeff Howerton, head golf professional at Sultan’s Run. “Upon arrival at Sultan’s Run, the golfer only sees woods, lakes and the golf course, which is unusual in today’s time with housing developments and resorts. It’s a great experience coming to hole number 18 with the beautiful vista from the top of the hill while teeing off and culminating with the 18th green being surrounded by a rock wall, trees and the waterfall!”
When the weather gets dicey, that doesn’t golf stop from being played at Sultan’s Run, it just creates a slight delay to the beginning of play on that particular day.
“Wet weather is always difficult but we have cart paths all the way around so we can keep carts off the turf until the course dries out.,” said Bob Johnson, Sultan Run’s pro shop manager. “Frost delays are taken seriously! The superintendent will be in command and will give the go ahead on the opening of the course during frost delays.”
The 18th hole — named after Supreme Sultan — is the Signature Hole at Sultan’s Run. The left-to-right dogleg, par four is a classic finishing hole – possibly the most dramatic home hole in the state of Indiana. The tee shot at the 18th is hit from a high perch to a wide, spacious, bunkered fairway in the distance. Driver is your club of choice on the 18th tee. When you strike your uphill approach to the 18th green, don’t swing too much club and airmail the putting surface, which is flanked by the afore-mentioned waterfall at the back. When you play the 18th at Sultan’s Run, the pin should always be at the back of the green in order for you to maximize the presence of the waterfall experience. The view from the back of the 18th green down the fairway will be your final memory of your trek around Supreme Sultan’s former homestead – truly one of the marvels of Indiana golf.
In 2015, Sultan’s Run was voted the #1 golf course in Indiana by the Indiana Golf Owners Association. That honor was well deserved.
Sultan’s Run has been the host of some prestigious events in golf such as Web.Com Tour Qualifiers, Indiana PGA Senior Open, Golfweek Midwest Junior Classic, and the Indiana PGA Junior Masters Series.
April through the end of October is the best time to play Sultan’s Run, which Golf Digest has given 4 ½ stars.
When you play Sultan’s Run, budget time in your schedule to eat afterwards at a nearby German restaurant in Jasper. It’s called The Schnitzelbank (812-482-2640), where I highly recommend the German Sampler as an appetizer and either the wiener schnitzel or the schweine schnitzel, both served with German fries, for your entrée. For dessert, the coconut cream pie, apple strudel, German chocolate pie, and the Black Forest cake are beyond compare.
So, when visiting southwestern Indiana, you would be hard-pressed to discover a better 54-hole golf experience than Jasper’s Sultan’s Run and the nearby French Lick dynamic duo of The Donald Ross Course and The Pete Dye Course – truly a terrific trifecta. And, when you cap off those 54 holes of golf with a cold German beer and a meal at The Schnitzelbank, that would be a true ‘grand slam’ golf experience…..and yet another marvel of Indiana golf.