BY KATHY JONAS
A trolley service reminiscent of travel in the early 1900s and a form of golf using a soccer ball are new family attractions at the French Lick Resort.
“We have lots of family activities from Memorial Day to Labor Day, such as pool games and s’more making,” says Dyan Duncan, public relations manager. But, she says, the trolley rides and FootGolf expand the property’s offerings beyond the traditional summer months.
The trolley began service in 1903 using electricity, carrying guests one mile from the French Lick Resort to West Baden, and was called “the world’s shortest trolley line.” The dawn of the automobile resulted in its decline and eventual elimination in 1919.
The Indiana Railway Museum began work to bring the trolley back as early as 1987, but it wasn’t until December 2014 that a diesel version started shuttling guests between the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel thanks to a partnership between the resort and the museum and a grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation. Already, Duncan says, more than 57,000 passengers have ridden the trolley on the restored tracks.
FootGolf, the newest sport to come to French Lick, is played on the nine-hole Valley Links Course. Players kick a soccer ball into a 21-inch hole located to the side of the fairway near the green. “It has been very popular with families drawn to exercise,” says Duncan.
A round can be played in under an hour, no equipment is required other than a soccer ball, and regular golfers and footgolfers can play on the course at the same time, though not in the same group.
A round of FootGolf is $15. With a cart, the price is $20. Tee times can be reserved by calling 888-936-9360. The trolley runs seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., leaving from depots near the French Lick Casino and next to the gardens near the original West Baden entrance. The conductor highlights the resort’s history during the ride. Originally, the cost was a nickel; today guests ride the trolley for free.