Story by: Mike May

If you were asked which golf course in Indiana has hosted more championship golf events since the early 1990s, you probably wouldn’t say it was The Legends Golf Club, located in Franklin, just south of Indianapolis (www.thelegendsgolfclub.com).  But, that’s the answer.

The Legends clubhouse, practice area and putting green.

The Legends Golf Club (2555 Hurricane Drive; Franklin, Indiana; 317-736-8186) was the vision of five business partners, including former Indiana University men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight.  Ted Bishop, the 38th President of the PGA of America and the general manager of The Legends, led the startup and oversaw construction of the course, which was designed by accomplished golf architect Jim Fazio.  Bishop continues to ‘hang his hat’ at the Legends Golf Club to this day.

Since the course opened, it has been listed as high as sixth among public and private courses in the state of Indiana and has been voted as “Indiana’s Best Course” by The Indiana Business Magazine.   And, it’s been designated a 4-Star Facility by Golf Digest.  And, the Legends Golf Club may well be the most popular golf course in the Hoosier state, based on daily play.

TOP: Practice putting green.
BOTTOM: Legends.Golf.Club.Par.Three.7th.from back.tees.

“We had over 48,000 rounds played in 2018 over our 27 holes,” said Bishop.  “When the weather is good, we are busy.”

The Legends also is home to the Indiana Golf Association/Indiana PGA, which houses the Indiana Golf Academy and Indiana Golf Hall of Fame.

While the course was designed to be playable for golfers of all ages and abilities, it has hosted many high-profile championship events, such as the Indiana Open, Indiana’s Men’s and Women’s State Amateur Championships, Indiana PGA Championship, USGA qualifiers, Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Boys and Girls State Golf Finals, and the Indianapolis Women’s City Championship.

“All credit must be given to our course architect Jim Fazio,” admitted Bishop.  “With access to five sets of tees, the Legends can be set up for championship play as well as casual play.  If you pick the right set of tees, any golfer can have an enjoyable and memorable day here at the Legends.”

While Legends is quickly gaining a reputation as a great golf course played by great players, Bishop admits that the majority of his customers are daily fee-paying golfers.

“Daily fee golfers account for roughly 90 percent of our revenue,” added Bishop.  “They are important to us and we cater to them.”

Bishop is extremely proud of the condition of his golf course, which includes 135 bunkers.  In fact, he takes a personal interest in every renovation and repair on the entire layout.  In addition to his ownership duties, Bishop is the superintendent, which gives him a chance to practice what he’s learned, based on his degree in agronomy and turf management from Purdue University.

“With more than 48,000 rounds now being played, the windows of opportunity are tight to make improvements on the course, but we get organized and get it done,” said Bishop. 

The Legends at sunset.

Bishop admits that he spends 80 percent of his time overseeing the condition of the tees, greens, and fairways at his club.  It’s clear that he knows what he’s doing as the ‘proof is in the pudding,’ as they say.

Well-designed and maintained golf courses attract great players who can produce great scores.  The official course record at Legends (a par-72 layout) is a 63, set by current PGA Tour player Tyler Duncan, who established the record during the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s state golf finals.  The unofficial course record is a 62, set by longtime PGA Tour player Kenny Perry.

Now, the Legends Golf Club has added an 18-hole par-3 course, the clubhouse has been updated, and swimming facility has been added for members and the general public.

The Legends’ focus on family is apparent as Bishop’s daughter Ashely Davidson – a successful high school and collegiate player – and her husband Ted Davidson also operate and run the golf club.

Finally, if you want to go play where champion golfers are crowned and where legendary golfers are born, make a beeline to The Legends Golf Club.  Ted Bishop and his family await your visit. 

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