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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Love of the Links

Drew Lappe turns his passion for golf into a two-acre at-home course.

Many people harbor enthusiasm for golf, but how many are willing to build their own course?

Drew Lappe’s idea of turning the property around his and wife Audrey’s West Side home into a golf course took root in the 1990s. The Mater Dei High School and University of Southern Indiana alum grew up playing backyard golf with his brothers and, now an estimated two handicap, factored into the top 50 in last year’s city golf tournament and has qualified the prior seven years.

Golf was a side game in a 2017 corn hole tournament among friends for the Wes Attebury Foundation at Lappe’s home. Players could buy golf shots for a chance of making a hole-in-one from 50 yards away.

Photo of Drew Lappe playing the Lappe Oaks course provided by Drew Lappe

Inspired, the next year Lappe designed a two-acre course featuring nine holes and four greens, with two holes playing toward a central oak tree. He lined the adjacent creek with 10 tons of rip rap and shaped the greens with 20 tons of dirt and pea gravel from the creek, topping them with one layer of outdoor carpet. A quality layer of putting green Astroturf is held together atop with yard staples every two inches around the edge. Each hole is grounded in a two-quart metal bucket about seven inches wide.

“Anyone can put Astroturf in the middle of their yard and call it a golf hole, but it takes a little creativity to make it look good and be functional,” says Lappe, a Deaconess home health occupational therapist.

Friends pitched in. Azzip Pizza co-CEO Brad Niemeier designed the logo for Lappe Oaks, a tribute to its creator and that center-course oak tree. Lappe keeps things casual, but his course does have rules. Players can use only one club and are encouraged to play the ball up, so divots don’t result.

Photo of Lappe Oaks score cards provided by Drew Lappe

The 25-foot-by-25-foot clubhouse has a fridge, flagstone-paved patio, Lappe Oaks branded gear, and a sitting area circling a TV.

“I love for my friends to come over and play, even when I’m not home,” he says.

The Lappe Oaks Invitational has been held since 2018 and is a winner-take-all contest. It may be his course, but the host plays fair. At last year’s invitational, another Niemeier brother — Craig, Azzip’s co-CEO — won. “I came in second,” Lappe says with a smile.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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