JASPER, Indiana – Sultan’s Run is a premium daily fee golf course with a well-known history and an ultrabright future. The golf course is built on hallowed ground which was once the home of the famous horse Supreme Sultan, a chestnut American Saddlebred horse that has sired multiple champion offspring in nearly every division of horse showing competition.
He is highly honored at the golf course; not only is every hole named after a world champion that he sired, but the Sultan’s Run logo also features the silhouette of an American Saddlebred.
Over the years, this incredible golf course has received some tremendous accolades and in 2022 and 2023 Sultan’s Run Golf Club received national recognition when it was ranked by NBC Universal/Golf Pass as #21 in Course Layout, #23 in Staff Friendliness, #24 in Off-Course Amenities, and #44 on the Golfers’ Choice Top-50 US Courses.
And, if you read the reviews on such sites as GolfNow.com, GolfLinks.com, and ForeTees.com, you’ll see comments from golfers around the globe who at one time or another have made the trip to Jasper, Indiana. This year, they will host the 2023 Senior LPGA Championship from June 29-July 1. If you ever had doubts that this is a premium golf course, I think this proves their case!
A few years after opening its doors in 1992, Sultan’s Run underwent an extensive remodeling project at the hands of renowned architect Tim Liddy who feels that this was one of the best pieces of property he’s had the privilege to work on. He’s particularly fond of the 18th hole, with the breathtaking waterfall behind the green. Number 18 has been dubbed the “most dramatic signature hole in the State of Indiana.”
This 18-hole, championship layout plays 6,859 from the back tees with a course rating of 73.5 and a slope of 143. Move up two sets of tees to the Silver Tees and the yardage drops to 5,842 with a course rating of 68.8 and a relatively high slope of 129. These tees will provide a good challenge and still let you leave with a little dignity.
For the past decade, the maintenance staff at Sultan’s Run have upgraded the course in one way or another each year. From an entirely new bunkering system to reconstructed greens to a complete reworking of several holes, Golf Course Superintendent Brett Popp and his staff continue to make the course more enjoyable than the last time you played it.
As you make your way around the course, you’ll find Zoysia tees and fairways that lead to finely manicured Bentgrass greens. The course sits on 300 acres of beautiful rolling hills in Southern Indiana and offers some impressive views from several holes. The rolling hills create significant elevation changes.; you’ll see them on just about every hole. If the elevation changes don’t get you, the water might. It comes into play on at least 10 holes, more if you spray it.
As far as the holes go, No. 18 is in a class all by itself. What stood out to me was the par 3s. They are all mid-length and get more eye appealing as you go. No. 2 plays 137 yards from the Silver Tees, significantly downhill, over water into a green that is protected by two deep bunkers, one front left and one front right.
The fifth is another spectacular 137-yard hole that plays downhill into an oddly angled green with a significant false front. The difference between a front and back placement can be as much as two clubs. Miss the green and you’d better have a good sand game; five bunkers surround the green.
No. 12 continues the streak of stunning par 3s. From the Silver Tees, it plays 145 yards slightly downhill into an angled green like on Number 5. Unlike the 5th hole, the green is surrounded by Lake Candledance (named after the most famous mare sired by Supreme Sultan) instead of sand, so it’s not as easy to retrieve that new Pro V1! A large bunker guards the front left corner of the green. If you’re going to miss the green, miss to the right!
When it comes to par 3s, Sultan’s Run saves the best for last. The 16th plays 134 yards and incorporates all of the features of the first three. It also plays slightly downhill into a large green surrounded by sand and water. The sloped green only adds to the intrigue.
Sultan’s Run is just a short drive from French Lick Resort and is considered a “sister course.” The two facilities often share guests, affording them the opportunity to experience three premium golf courses.
To meet the needs of golf travelers, Sultan’s Run has partnered with several local hotels to offer stay-and-play packages. When you call to book your hotel stay, simply mention the golf package and they will make your tees for you.
Big plans are on the horizon for stay-and-play. Plans include the construction of boutique lodging in the form of a hotel and boutique lodges and cottages. All rooms regardless of location will have a view overlooking holes 13, 15, and 16 on the golf course.
According to co-owner and General Manager Chris Tretter, his former business partner Steve Braun has always been a vision of turning Sultan’s Run into a “mini resort,” something that both golfers and the local community can enjoy. “About 70 percent of Sultan’s Run’s business comes from out of town,” says Tretter, “Which is great for the county’s tourism business.”
In Tretter’s words, Sultan’s Run is “Transitioning from a golf course to a golf resort with boutique lodging. Several TopGolf Swing Suites and “The Stable” – a nine-hole pitch and putt course, all in the master plan.”
The entertainment facility will feature several simulators where patrons can virtually participate in a variety of sports. They can play a round of golf, throw and hit baseballs, toss footballs, kick soccer balls, play carnival games, and even throw dodgeballs at zombies. This 9,000-square-foot addition will be family-friendly and open to the public. Food and beverages will be served on-site.
Changes are in the works for the restaurant side, too. Currently, the kitchen is maxed out due to the lack of available space, so they can only accommodate small events, and end up having to turn away business. To rectify this situation, plans include quadrupling the size of the kitchen and nearly doubling the size of the banquet center. That will allow Executive Chef Phil Barth to do what he does best – show his creativity. Since coming on board five years ago, he has revamped the entire 19th-hole menu and has big plans for the new space. Anything you order off the menus is delicious.
If you’re a golfer and are anywhere near the area, you owe it to yourself to play a round of golf at Sultan’s Run.