In 1962, Mark LaGrange was a teacher and coach at Schulte High School in Terre Haute Indiana. He coached not only basketball but golf, a sport he did not play but learned by taking a college course. He traveled with his team to a few area golf courses and out of these meets hatched a plan - a plan to build a golf course.
1962 26 acres purchased
1963 Original Par 29 course is built
1964 Official opening of 9 hole course May 15, 1964
1967 Driving range is opened
1969 New home built
1982 Driving range land sold to research firm
1992 Land purchased for back nine for total of 64 ½ acres
1995 Official opening of 18 hole course May 25, 1995
2000 New clubhouse built
2006 New home built for owners on back nine
2008 Founder Mark LaGrange passes on, children continue tradition
2014 Mark's Par Three celebrates its 50 year anniversary
Enjoy a round of golf on our family-owned and operated course designed by our founder, Mark LaGrange.
Mark was a math teacher and he needed summer work. He had worked in a factory, on road construction crews, sold insurance and taught a few courses but the income from these odd jobs was not enough to support a growing family. While his wife Pat was teaching elementary school and working on her Master's degree at ISU, Mark would load up his four children in an old car and drive around the outskirts of Terre Haute looking for suitable land on which to build a course. The land had to be for sale, the right size, with a good water supply, near a major road and close to the city. He found his dream in a cow pasture between Terre Haute and Seelyville.
Mark and Pat borrowed a down payment from a Tell City bank (with Mark's mother as a co-signer) and purchased the original 21 acres on a ten year contract from Mason and Texie Everman. Both Mark and Pat worked to pay off the land with one paycheck going to support the family and one paycheck repaying the loan. Mark designed the course by walking the land, using his knowledge of golf and math and asking for advice from other golf coaches he had met through his work. Pat's father, Ted Denning from southern Indiana, had an old tractor and gas tank from his idle farm that he hauled up to Terre Haute to help in the project. Mark hired high school students, athletes and neighborhood boys along with friends and family to help build the course. Some of the biggest projects were building the greens and clubhouse and getting rid of the wild rose thorn bushes on the property A well witcher was hired and the water system built.
On May 15, 1964, the original Par 29 course officially opened charging $1 to play. No profit was made for the first few years and all of Mark and Pat's labor, along with Pat's father's labor, was essentially not reimbursed. Mark and Pat's oldest daughter, age 11, would rise early and ride out to the course with Mark in an old green pick-up truck and she worked in the clubhouse while Mark was out working on the course. The other children, a total of five, all took their turns working in the clubhouse in the following years, loving the cokes and candy bars they were rationed! Four of the five children went on to play college golf.
The 15 acres of land across the street from the course came up for sale in 1966 and Mark's dreams were still going strong. He purchased the land and built a lighted driving range which was in operation until the early 1980's. The driving range provided lots of work for very little profit. Golfers loved to make targets of the worker in the safety cage riding the tractor. The entire LaGrange family remembers picking up balls late at night in the spring when the land was too wet for the tractor/ball picker to operate. Balls would be stuck in the mud and each person had to dig out or pick up balls like Easter eggs. Pat even remembers picking up balls when she was pregnant with their youngest child! The land was eventually sold to a research firm.
The LaGrange family built a home next to the original clubhouse in 1969. This made taking care of the course much easier than driving back and forth to the Terre Haute Hulman Street house many times each day. The 1969 tri-level house near the parking lot is now occupied by our course superintendent and his family.
Over the years, bits and pieces of land were purchased in order to improve the golf holes. Still Mark was dreaming! In 1992 the farm adjacent to the east came up for sale. The LaGrange family purchased part of that parcel and designed and built another nine holes. Total acreage now reached 64 acres. Some of the original nine were retooled and renumbered to fit in with the new nine being built for an integrated Par 59, 18 hole course. A lake with a new watering system was built, a new bathroom storage facility was constructed, woods were cleared and new trees planted. Riding carts were purchased and the course was incorporated at this time.
The new nine was opened on May 25, 1995 during a severe hot and dusty drought. The course record for the original nine was 25 set in early 70's and is currently 57 for the 18 hole course. Over 300 golfers have had the thrill of scoring a hole-in-one at the course through the years. In 2000 a much needed new clubhouse was constructed. Eventually the old clubhouse was renovated to become another storage area.
In the summer of 2006, a new universal design home was built for Mark and Pat adjacent to the back nine. They lived in the home for two years but tragically Mark died on December 2, 2008 as a result of injuries received in a car accident on his way to an ISU basketball game. Pat was also severely injured in the car accident but continues to slowly recover. However, the children of Mark and Pat will continue the golf course in its proud tradition of affordable but quality golf for the people of Terre Haute.
No tee times necessary: