Kampen Course at Purdue University

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#12 – par 4 (477/387):
Another “switch-back” hole, this one requires a fade with the tee shot and a draw on the approach. A massive waste bunker well below the level of the fairway will collect any tee shot pushed to the right. Shots from this bunker are also blind as a large mound lies directly between it and the green. The green is about 20-25 feet below the level of the fairway, with bunkers protecting it both left and right.

A fade is preferred off the tee. The flag is visible on the far right side of the picture. The large waste area right of the fairway is to be avoided…

…as no view of the flag is afforded the golfer.

Those taking on the waste area are afforded the best angle into the green, as seen from this shot taken on the right side of the fairway.

#14 – par 4 (385/327):
A classic cape hole, one of the reclamation ponds runs all along the left side, and around the back of the green. The fairway slopes from right to left, and levels off closer to the water. The golfer playing close to the water is left with a short, level pitch to the green.

How much does the golfer wish to bite off on this hole? The flag is visible on the left portion of the green over the weeds.

The challenge of the water is obvious from high behind the green.

#15 – par 4 (362/342):
Pete Dye clearly took a page from the MacDonald/Raynor book in this adaptation of an Alps hole. Perhaps the author’s favorite hole on the course, many options are available off the tee. A large mound containing several bunkers sits directly between the tee and green, with a nearly 60 wide fairway just short of this. If the golfer chooses this safe option with a fairway wood or hybrid, he or she will be left with a blind shot over the mound. Another option is to challenge the mound and the fairway bunker on the right with a driver between them to the narrowest portion of the fairway. This gets the golfer up the hill and allows a view of the green, although with a worse angle than going directly over the mound. The green is angled from front left to back right with a bunker protecting on the front.

Options abound off the tee. The fairway is about 60 yards wide for those choosing fairway wood or hybrid, but the second shot may be blind. Driver to the narrow portion up the right allows a look at the green, but leaves a poorer angle from the far right side.

Those playing short are left with this approach over the mound with no view of the flagstick.

Those hitting driver to the narrow part of the fairway get a good look at the flag, although with a poor angle to a back right pin.

From behind the green one can see how the large mound dictates the strategy on the hole.

#17 – par 3 (206/167):
The green of the one-shot 17th nestles up against a pond on the right. The green is about 50 yards deep, yielding a variety of pin-positions and therefore, club selections. The author can recall using anything from a 9-iron to 3-iron, giving day-to-day variety to the hole. The left side of the green has several large mounds and swales, and is raised relative to the right side. Shots landing on this portion (especially with a left-to-right shot shape) will funnel toward the center of the green. However, missing just left will kick the ball further left and down to a collection area below the level of the green, leaving a difficult chip from a tight lie back towards the water. The right side of the green is much flatter and will leave an easier putt to center hole locations, but the water must be challenged on the tee shot. A small bunker back left awaits long, pulled shots for those thinking about the water during the swing.

From above the tee, one can see the mounds and swales on the left portion of the green and the small bunker back left.

Those bailing out left are left with this difficult shot over the mounds, with water waiting on the other side of the green.

#18 – par 4 (484/415):

Like many of Dye’s courses, the 18th is perhaps the most difficult test of the day. Another switch-back hole, a right-to-left shot is preferred off the tee while the approach should be left-to-right. A large waste bunker guards the left side of the fairway and must be challenged for those wanting a better angle to the green. The green complex is the highlight of the hole. The green is pushed up with a large, deep bunker system on the right side. Like many of the holes, tightly mown collection areas below the level of the green await shots missed short, left, and long.

From the right side of the fairway, the difficult angle to the green is clear, with a terrifying group of deep bunkers awaiting shots short and right.

The challenge is evident for those finding one of the deep greenside bunkers.

From behind the green, the swales and mounds one must negotiate if missing long or left are visible.

The three most common weaknesses of the course the author hears from critics are as follows: 1) The course is not very pretty 2) There is too much tall grass, and 3) Every driving hole is the same with a large waste bunker on one side of the fairway. It is difficult to argue against the first two points. The course has hard edges, brown sand, and rough waste areas that are not particularly pleasing to the eye. However, beautiful views across the celery bog are still afforded on several holes, and were improved by the removal of trees to the left of the 13th and 14th holes a few years ago. The rough at Kampen is thick, and even when not tall, provides a stern challenge. Most complaints stem from the tall heather, which is in play on many holes. Although there is still plenty of room to play and the heather is only an issue on significantly offline shots, chances of finding a ball in it are not good. However, the course is meant to be a difficult test, and many of the complaints would be avoided by the appropriate selection of tees.

The last point is one which can and should be argued against, as each hole provides its own unique challenge even though 13 of the 14 driving holes do contain a large fairway bunker. While Kampen is clearly not on the same level as The Stadium Course or the Ocean Course, both of these have similar types of fairway bunkers, and Dye implemented many of the same strategic elements from these into Kampen. Holes such as the 1st, 7th, 8th, 12th, and 15th highlight the individuality of each.

Kampen provides the golfer with not only a physical test, but a mental test as well. Those finishing with a good score will know both their swing and mind were in solid form. Kampen is a strategic gem, with options and angles dictating play throughout the round. The large greens and ever-changing northwest Indiana winds make it a joy to play from day to day. The many secrets of Kampen take many a round to fully uncover. If ever in West Lafayette, IN, make a point to visit the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex and play one of the finest university courses in the nation.