The Takeaway: Grade A
Designer: Tom Fazio in 1998
Cost: Private Private (Forecaddie provided)
Phone Number: (812) 858-1790
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Victoria National's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Accolades: Ranked 47th on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 1st in the state of Indiana.
What to Expect: Set on over 400 acres of Southern Indiana property that formerly housed a strip mine, Victoria National features beautiful, deep finger-lakes dug out from the coal mining operation and act as picturesque hazards for the golfer to contend with. Due to the earth movement that occurred during the old mining days, Tom Fazio was presented with an attractive property that had plenty of mounding and thus required less earth work than what most Fazio courses end up undergoing. There isn't a weak hole at Victoria National and several that could be identified as signature worthy. A forecaddie will accompany you on the magnificently conditioned course boasting bentgrass on the tees, fairways, and greens thus creating at marvelous turf experience. Water comes into play on more holes than not and while the course is plenty playable for all levels of golfers, it is one of the more difficult Fazio courses to score well on. Victoria National hosted the Web.com tour in 2012 and was received with glowing reviews for the conditions, challenge, and beauty of the course. Fazio seems to always deliver a solid variety of holes, often including a driveable par four, a par four that many would mistake as a par five, and beautiful par threes; this Indiana gem is no exception to these excellent features. The property includes native vegetation and trees but feels much more open than claustrophobic. In conclusion, if you are a fan of Fazio's work then you'll love Victoria National; if you aren't a fan of his work, you'll probably love it anyway.
By the Numbers
|Squaw Creek (Orange)||72||5667||69.0||131|
|Darlington (Green, Women)||72||5010||71.0||129|
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 208 Yard Par 3 – In classic Fazio fashion, the closing holes are the most memorable and his final par three at Victoria National is no exception. This relatively lengthy par three features a smallish green that has a creek cutting in from the right side, across the front, and into the lake left of the putting surface thus creating a virtual island green. The scenery is stunning as the water combines forces with the green grass and changing leaves on the surrounding trees. If you were creating a postcard to send home to your friends, I like the chances of #16 gracing the cover.
Best Par 3: 5th Hole – 212 Yards – Jetting out into the lake created from former mining operation, the 5th hole is a picturesque hole and Fazio's finest offering on the front nine. A brush area must be carried off the tee before contending with the bunkers that sit between the putting surface and the water. The brush and bunkers offer a visual contrast and added depth perception for the golfer as he lines up this intimidating but attractive tee shot. If you are feeling weary, a bail out area is offered to the right of the green thus setting up a legitimate chance to get up and down for par.
Best Par 4: 18th Hole – 432 Yards – Water is found throughout the routing at Victoria National with the 18th hole being a stark reminder of its profound presence. The unforgiving hazard begins in front of the most forward tee box before travelling the entire length of the hole down the right side. The hole doglegs right and thus creates a lengthy approach shot for players who steer clear of the water by playing their tee ball up the left side. With the green angling towards the water, approach shots going for a right side pin location should be taken with caution. It is a fine finishing hole to one of Fazio's best creations to date.
Best Par 5: 15th Hole – 548 Yards – I took a lot of pictures of this hole! This attractive par five is reachable for longer players that can shape the ball around this reverse 'S' shaped hole. The tee shot plays out of the woods and into an opening that features water on the left side near the green. The bunker on the left side of the green spills into the water and creates a beach like effect thus distracting the player from the task at hand. If you can work the ball from right to left then the perfect approach starts at the hill right of the green and utilizes the contours to feed the ball onto the putting surface and reduces the chance of bring the water into play that jets out in front of the green. It is a beautiful hole that kicks off an incredible four hole finishing stretch.
Birdie Time: 13th Hole – 395 Yard Par 4 – From the back tees there aren't a lot of holes I felt like were yearning to yield a birdie at Victoria National, but this is as good as any. Under 400 yards in length, 3 wood is plenty off the tee assuming you avoid the water on the left. The hole plays pretty much straight away (depending on your tee box) and should leave you with a low iron or wedge into the green. It isn't exactly a pushover, but much less difficult and distracting than the other offerings at Victoria.
Bogey Beware: 14th Hole – 471 Yard Par 4 – Our caddie said that no one in our threesome had to pay him for the day if any of us managed to par this hole. He went home with his pockets full. Already plenty lengthy, this hole features water up the left side of the tee shot and trees to the right. If you manage to find the fairway, you still have to contend with a strongly elevated and relatively shallow green that becomes extremely difficult to hold when coming in with a fairway wood or long iron. Bogey here is likely, par is impressive, and birdie makes you my hero.