Rediscovering America, in our “snow bird” migration from New York to Arizona, Louisville was a surprising blast. But just short of the city, golf casino resorts in Indiana just had to be explored. First stop was Belterra, celebrating their 10th anniversary.  The casino satisfies gamers while shoppers get their fix in the boutiques and the pool area or spa serve anyone looking for tranquility. Ruby’s steak house serves prime flavorful cuts with scrumptious sides and the crème brulee  will transport you to France. The Tom Fazio designed layout creates a great parkland style golf course, winding in the hills and valley of the Ohio River. Down the road a couple miles sits a tasting deck for Ridge Winery right on the peaceful shore of the Ohio River.

Second stop, was Horseshoe Casino where the World Poker Series was being held.  If the traditional all you can eat buffet does not already connote big belly, theirs now carries the name of Paula Dean, queen of fat cuisine. Several other dining options are available as well. Chariot Run is their affiliated golf course, 11 miles away, which displayed a brilliance of fall colors you would only expect in the northeast in spite of the four month drought. Fairways and greens showed no signs of thirst. Take your winnings and play here.

The 21C Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville, is just 40 minutes away, right off the 65. Open the door and you won’t believe your eyes. This is not your ordinary accommodations, nor your ordinary museum.  The eclectic art at every turn incorporates all mediums. The digital artistry is especially surprising and fun. The reception area floor features a couple sleeping in bed in such a way that you can walk on them but so real, you try not to. Push the button for the elevator and then notice yourself in larger than life video on the wall as letters sprinkle down to line your body with different words. Move and they bounce off to settle again when you settle, carrying another message. Oops, missed the elevator for the distraction, but that’s ok. There is no reason to rush here. Even the men’s room is a must see for both genders. The urinal is a long wall of cascading waterfalls and unbeknownst to the eliminator, it is posed in front of a 2 way mirror so that passers by in the hall can be seen but they can’t see in to the men’s room. Men might not know that and so fun can ensue with gestures and giggles from the outside in. Their bar and restaurant, Proof was a happening place on a Tues night, filled with after work business people, politicos and travelers.  The menu is as eclectic as the surrounding art. The chef is creative with his kitchen palette, mixing a media of local foods. It’s no wonder that Conde Nast rated this the number one hotel in the U.S. and number six in the world.

A block away is the Louisville Slugger plant and museum. A few blocks in the other direction, stop by the visitors center for expert advice on tours and sites. Pick up a passport for the Urban Bourbon Trail and four stamps will win you a t-shirt. “Just Add Bourbon” is the mantra of Louisville and so we headed dutifully on the bourbon trail downtown, encompassing historic architecture, the likes of The Brown Hotel and The Old Seelbach Bar as well as the modern  4th Street Live Entertainment Complex. Evident at all turns is the Louisville passion for preserving, rebuilding, and growing.  The thriving economy is boosted by the growing bourbon industry.  Kentucky produces 95% of America’s bourbon, which must be at least 51% corn and Jim Beam produces 50 % of that. Visit the distilleries to learn how bourbon is made. Maker’s Mark’s tour is very comprehensive, starting in the original kitchen where the 1953 formula was developed as well as the logo and process of dipping in plastic to make the signature red mark. Dip your own bottle in the tasting and gift shop to make your own mark.

Oh, yes and there is more great golf too. In addition to the casino resort courses mentioned earlier, the Heritage Hill Golf Club is a new 18-hole championship golf course located just minutes from Louisville in Shepherdsville and designed by former Jack Nicklaus associate, Doug Beach. Fuzzy Zoeller’s home course, Covered Bridge and his newest course, Champions Point are also minutes away from downtown with an Indiana address and don’t forget the closest in Louisville, is Quail Chase. All are beauties for any golfer to enjoy. If you want the experience of the Ryder Cup course, the famous Valhalla, you must know someone as it is private and the prestige is worth the membership.

If we had a mulligan for the trip, we would stay downtown in Louisville longer to explore Church Hill downs, the Mohammed Ali Museum and more golf. Been there got the t shirt but gotta go again!

Danny and Alice Scott, Couple of Travelers and founders of Butthead Covers, Inc. alice@eitexecs.com

For more US Golf information, visit:

Louisville Golf

Kentucky Public Golf Courses

Kentucky Resort Golf Courses

Kentucky Semi-Private Golf Courses

Kentucky Private Golf Courses

Kentucky Public 9 Hole Golf Courses