WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Ackerman Hills, formerly known as the Purdue South Course, was built in 1934. Since that time the course has undergone two separate renovations.
About ten years ago, director of golf operations Devin Brouse and alumnus Jim Ackerman decided that the course was due for another upgrade.
Who better to head up the job than the most famous of all modern golf architects and the designer behind Purdue’s Kampen course, Pete Dye?
“Everybody and anybody in golf knows Pete Dye, and knows what his impact has been on the game and golf course design,” Brouse said.
Dye’s connection with the Purdue courses began in 1994, when a walk along the North course, now Kampen, turned from a minor reconstruction project into a complete renovation. Now 88 years old, Dye isn’t slowing down. Ackerman Hills is his newest project, and according to Dye the land and the location are what make the renovation the most appealing.
“When you start out, you don’t have any wild idea what’s going to happen,” Dye said. “They worked on the other golf course, and now the more than I’m in it, and see more of it, this is as good of a spot as any.”
With Ackerman Hills already a functioning 18-hole course, Dye says it’s not as if they’re starting from scratch.
“A lot of it is clear, and done over there on the south side, so you’re not in as bad of shape as building a brand new golf course.”
But why are they redesigning a course that’s seemingly a high functioning, beautiful piece of parkland style golf?
“It’s adequate from an aesthetic, visual standpoint,” Brouse said. “It’s not adequate from a tournament competition standpoint.”
Brouse visualizes a course that will challenge the collegiate golfer, while maintaining the same access to the average golfer.
Dye and Birck Boilermaker Complex superintendent Jim Scott plan to keep the style of course the same. When Ackerman Hills is finished and it’s paired with Kampen Birck Boilermaker Complex, it will feature two completely different courses only yards apart. Both courses will appeal to golfers of all skill levels.
“It’s a magnificent golf course,” Scott said. “It’s like you’re playing in two different states, maybe even two different countries, all in the same weekend.”
“It’s a homerun,” Dye said. “That’s my opinion, but I’ve been wrong about a million times.”
Fortunately for Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, Dye is almost never wrong about the design of a golf course.
Ackerman Hills will undergo the renovation beginning in August, and will reopen in the spring of 2016.