A Guide to Golf in The Bend

Golf enthusiasts will find The Bend a perfect destination.

Several area public courses cater to all levels of player. Some offer a stout challenge as the host site for professional events. Others deliver a laid-back environment for the casual or younger player. The Bend has something for everyone looking to hit the links. Let’s get your trip planning started.

Blackthorn Golf Club

Golf Digest ranked Blackthorn as the fourth-best new public golf course upon is opening. It later ascended to a ranking as the No. 1 municipal course in Indiana by Golf Week Magazine by 2013.

Although no longer a municipal course, Blackthorn remains one of the premier public tracks in Northern Indiana with its rolling, wooded terrain. The course is a par 72 and plays up to 7,136 yards. Lush fairways are complemented by bent grass greens and bordered by natural settings — prairie grasses, wetlands and ponds.

Blackthorn is a challenge for players of all skill levels, including professional. It has hosted the Four Winds Invitational, an LPGA Symetra Tour event, since 2012.

Credit: Patrick Koenig

Burke Golf Course

Visitors to the University of Notre Dame are sure to catch a glimpse of this course. Burke Golf Course is at the southwest corner of campus with views of the Golden Dome and Basilica as players stroll the fairways. Originally designed as an 18-hole course in 1929, it now plays as a par 35 over nine holes.

Eberhart-Petro Golf Course

Looking for some natural challenges? We’ve got you covered.

Eberhart-Petro Golf Course is the only course in The Bend that requires players to deal with the St. Joseph River (seen below from an aerial view). There are four river crossings. Perhaps the most scenic of those is from the tee box on the 18th hole, which offers an elevated view of the river below and fairway beyond.

Playing just shy of 6,000 yards total and a par 70, Eberhart is a fun course for any player.

Credit: Patrick Koenig

Elbel Golf Course

One of three courses operated by the City of South Bend, Elbel Golf Course blends the natural landscape of our area with golf better than most courses. Bent grass greens and bluegrass fairways on the par 72 course give way to wooded areas and plenty of water.

Mud Lake is one of the course’s most prominent features. In fact, South Bend is developing a walking trail for nature enthusiasts. Stay alert and you’re likely to see some sandhill cranes, among other wildlife, wandering the grounds.

Erskine Park Golf Course

Opened in 1925, Erskine Park has the feel of a city course. The par-70 plays to just over 6,000 yards with tree-lined fairways. No. 10 might be the signature hole — a 603-yard par 5 that requires distance and accuracy on the first and second shots for a chance at par or better.

There’s also some history at Erskine. Golf legend Arnold Palmer played the course in 1961, shooting a 1-under par 34 on the back nine with two birdies and a bogey.

Juday Creek Golf Course

Located conveniently off the Indiana Toll Road in Granger, Juday Creek Golf Course might not have the St. Joseph River but is far from a boring patch of land. Water is in play on 13 of the 18 holes, a layout the plays to nearly 7,000 yards and a par 72.

Juday Creek offers five different tees for players at any skill level, plus has nationally recognized Junior Golf and Ladies Learn to Play programs.

Studebaker Golf Course

Built in 1919, this 9-hole course is the oldest in South Bend. It’s perfect for children, beginners or anyone looking for a casual round playing mostly shorter holes. There are two par 4s. Everything else is a par 3. Bowman Creek runs along the west side of the course.

Warren Golf Course

Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame is a Coore and Crenshaw design located on the north side of Notre Dame’s campus. Like Blackthorn, Golf Week Magazine ranks it one of the top public courses in Indiana.

The course sprawls over about 250 acres with native grasses often lining the fairways. Natural beauty on the par 71 spread is complemented by the views, which include the Golden Dome off in the distance.

Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s golf teams call Warren home, as did the 2019 U.S. Senior Open. Warren added the Senior Open to a long list of tournaments it has hosted over the years, including NCAA regional championships and the U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship.