Chatham Hills, a Perfect Spot For a Golf Course

Topography makes for a breathtaking Dye setting.
Chatham Hills, the newest gem in legendary golf course designer Pete Dye’s portfolio, looks like it really doesn’t belong in Central Indiana, let alone Westfield. The undulating topography of this 800-acre location was a perfect fit for Dye’s vision, resulting in a beautifully planned 7,215-yard, par 72 layout for this private course.

“This is a perfect spot for a golf course,” says golf course architect and Dye partner Tim Liddy. “In the 25 years I have worked with Pete, this is the most dramatic piece of property that we have built on in Indiana.” The elevation changes 90 feet on the front nine and 100 feet on the back. The property has four creeks, and Dye has added 10 ponds during the making of the course.

“Pete used the land as it was,” says Betsy Garfield, vice president of real estate acquisition for Henke Development Group. For example, the 18th hole is a classic finishing hole—a 412-yard par four, all up hill. If this wasn’t difficult enough, Pete placed a deep bunker guarding the right side of the large green. “We questioned him about this bunker,” Garfield says. “Pete just said, ‘People will hit it out of there,’ and then turned to me and asked how I would hit it out. I told him I would throw it out.”

Typical, Dye.

Pete and dog Sixty would just pop over to the property to look around, sending the Henke staff scurrying for Dilly Bars and Subway sandwiches, both favorites of his. Garfield says he would grab a bunch of wire flag stakes and head out to the course, placing stakes where he wanted elevation to change. “He put one in the ground and stepped back,” she says. “Then he picked it up and move it six inches and put it back. Six inches. I sure hope when I’m 90, I still have vision that detailed.”

It took developer Steve Henke and his family firm seven years to acquire the land, and they have been working on this project, which combines high-end housing opportunities with majestic views of the course, for 10 years. According to Henke, some of the property had been in the same family since 1835 and has ties to the Revolutionary War. The Lindley family moved to the area from North Carolina in the early 1800s. He says that in his research, he found this family lived in Chatham County in North Carolina, and that helped solidify the name of the property. “I woke my wife up at 1 a.m. to tell her, and she just said, ‘That’s nice, now go to bed.’”

Now, with the course set to open for play in early October, Henke can finally—after a decade of work—begin to see the fruits of his efforts. “This is a very satisfying time for us,” he says. “Real estate like this moves very slowly.”