Located just outside the small town of Bedford, Indiana, a town best known for being the home of Indiana University’s great Damon Bailey and the “Limestone Capital of the World”, lies the beautiful little municipal golf course, Otis Park. I grew up playing this golf course and practically lived there when I was a teenager. Until recently I took this course for granted for what it truly is. Otis Park is a short, old school parkland style course, that takes advantage of the rolling hills it was built on. While some would argue against the trees being in play so much, that is one of the characters behind this golf course, they are not going to defend the course from the long ball, but they are going to make you think about how you are going to play your tee shot. Otis Park only plays 6,400 yards, the teeth of this golf course is the natural hilly terrain and the greens which are extremely small with no primary cut between the rough and the green complex. I continue to research to find out who designed this course, but I have yet to be able and obtain this information.
Otis Park is located on 150 acres that was donated in 1935 to the city of Bedford by Fred B. Otis. While it has changed quite a bit since its inception Otis Park has not deviated from its roots. Once you drive up to the facility you will get a feel for the character of Bedford, Indiana. This place is not like the golf courses in French Lick just 45 minutes down the road, it is not going to chew you up and spit you out and the budget is much smaller; however, the staff do a great job of taking care of Otis. And at 6400 yards from the tips the golf course will not over power you with length but you better have a great wedge game, because you are going to need it.
The picturesque hole on the golf course is the longest hole on the golf course as well, #17. This 535 yard par 5 is a blast starting from the tee shot which is from a cliff to a valley below over a creek. This is a go get it type of hole if you can stay out of the creek and the bunkers. You better score on this hole because 18 is part of the trifecta at Otis, with your final hole being a 180 yard par 3 that is all carry. While I have played many well known golf courses and Tour level facilities over the years I will always contend that Otis is home to the hardest par 3 I have ever played. The 3rd hole is only 166 yards, however your tee shot is going over a valley and this green is only 25 feet deep with a steep back to front slope. There is a bunker that protects the left side where the only flat part of the green is located. The best play on this green is to actually come up short right, if it hops on the green then fantastic. While the first two holes I average better then par I own a +1.5 strokes over par on this hole.
Otis Park is a picturesque golf course with an old school style of architecture and historical landmarks. For the better player it might be an easy place to play but that is not what should be valued at Otis as it is not designed to be difficult. Otis shows off the character of Bedford and of southern Indiana. The limestone walls, limestone bandshell, red brick mansion and the rolling hills are what make Otis a great place to visit. As I said earlier I grew up playing this place and my children will as well.