Sultan’s Run Golf Club just outside Jasper, Indiana, is a former horse farm famous for being the home of Supreme Sultan. This horse sired a record number of World Champion American Saddlebred horses and each hole being named after one of these horses. In 1996, Pete Dye protégé Tim Liddy was involved in an extensive remodeling project that has brought the course to its current high status.
On my visit in September 2008, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. So many good holes on this course. Just how good is Sultan’s Run? Read on…
The round begins with the wide open 1st. Although woods are on your right, there is plenty of room to the left. A play to the right side gives is rewarded with the better angle to the green. As I learned the hard way… DO NOT be above the hole.
At the reachable par 5 4th, the golfer must navigate between the bunkers on the right. If the tee shot is placed well, a decision must be made. One may bail out to the right for a layup and a clear shot at the green, or… go for it. The green, only 25 yards deep, has bunkers surrounding the green and a short drop off on the far side of the green.
Two holes later, the golfer is tested again at the par 5 6th. The golfer may play safe to the left, but will more than likely be forced to layup. If the golfer can carry the bunkers on the right, they will be left with around 200 yards to the green. This is great birdie hole.
The next hole, the short par 4 7th, is another great birdie opportunity. The golfer may hit a long iron tee shot to be safe, to take fairway wood and driver and tempt to drive the green. A valley about 100 yards from the green that runs off to the right discourages the big shot. The front 9 closes with an uphill, dogleg-left par 4 that isn’t overly long, but is vicious at the green.
The par 5s are truly the strength of Sultan’s Run, and 10 is no different. A downhill, dogleg right par 5, with plenty of room off the tee. Things tighten up around the layup zone and the elevated green is protected by bunkers…
My two favorite holes on the course are the par 3 12th and the par 5 13th, the later being my favorite. 12 is (another) downhill par 3, with water left and a bit behind the green. A great test of nerves after a fairly easy par 4 11th.!
Even better is 13. The fairway is wide open until about 287 from the back tees, where two bunkers left will catch any driver shots sprayed left. There is a creek that crosses the fairway that, for the most part, isn’t in play. But catch one of those fairway bunkers off the tee, and the golfer is left a decision to lay up in front of the creek or attempt a long fairway bunker shot for the layup. Things don’t get any easier at the green, where a severe false front will reject any short shots and the three tiers can make three, or even four putts, common place.
After 14, which is blind off the tee and potentially to the green, comes the loop around a lake. 15 is a shorter par 4, where anything left means bunker (if you’re lucky) and water (if you’re not) and anything right means O.B. I liked the hole, but my playing partners were not as found. 16 is another downhill par 3 with a horseshoe bunker surrounding the green from left to right, leaving only the front clear. Players meet a watery doom if their shot is too far left or straight.
There’s enough press about hole 18 at Sultan’s Run. I’ll just say that pictures can’t really do it justice and it’s easily one of the most stunning finishing holes I’ve ever played.
I absolutely love this place! On the whole, a fantastic variety of holes. My only knock on the layout is the similarity of the par 3s; all downhill with forced carry. That’s not to say a hole like number 12 isn’t a great hole.
The 18th gets talked a lot about because of the big waterfall behind the green. Some how, in this author’s view, the effect looks completely natural. It was once said that a good 18th hole should be a good representation of the 17 holes preceding it. In that aspect, I’d say it’s dead on.
I played in September 2008 and everything was in great condition. Staff was friendly an accommodating to our group with had many people coming in from out-of-state. Pace was a bit slower than I would have hoped, but when you play a public course at prime time on a weekend, I don’t expect miracles. I paid $51 for 18 holes and cart. Course is walkable, but it wouldn’t be the easiest walk.
OINK Rating: 9