HANCOCK COUNTY — Chad Oden was just 2 years old when his grandfather, Don Oden, decided to turn a hundred acres of vacant land into a golf course north of Greenfield.

That was in May 1974.

Flash forward 50 years later and the man who roamed the grounds as a toddler is now running the golf course his grandfather built.

Arrowhead Golf Course is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, but you won’t see much fanfare, just a steady stream of golf carts tooling along the well-manicured grounds.

The course is open year-round when the weather’s warm enough, with a high of 40 degrees or above.

According to its website, the course’s 18-hole layout plays to a par 70 and offers two very different nine-hole courses, with the front nine longer and more open than the back nine, which is more tree-lined and scenic.

Keith Fuqua has been playing at Arrowhead for decades, meeting up with a group of friends who play 18 holes three to four times a week.

“I think this is the best course for retirees there is. It’s just a nice course that’s in great shape,” said Fuqua, who lives in Fortville.

Oden said he and his dad have continually reinvested into the course throughout the decades.

“We put a lot back into the course. We’ve done a lot of tree work, landscaping work and have concreted some of the cart paths. We’ve updated our carts and the mowers, and have just been trying to put everything back into making the best (course) we possibly can,” he said.

When his father, Greg Oden, took over running the course in 1988, he added another nine holes to the original nine his own dad created.

Today the course is a go-to destination for more than 20 organized golf outings a year.

Golfers can enjoy a snack or a glass of beer or wine at the clubhouse, where Fuqua and his buddies gathered on a recent Monday afternoon.

While a myriad of golfers go there to make memories on the links, some of Oden’s best memories are of growing up in houses along the golf course.

“Back when it was just nine holes, a lot of the property was wooded, and we’d spend as much time out there in the woods as we could, messing around in the creek and riding bikes along the trails. We’ve done some sledding over there too,” said Oden, whose own two sons lived on the golf course for awhile as kids.

Oden vividly remembers the day straight-line winds took out a line of trees along the back nine in 2008.

“It actually helped us out by thinning out the tree line where we had a lot of mosquitoes,” he said.

While his grandfather Don passed away in 2016, Oden likes to think he’d be proud to see that his vision for a place where folks can shoot a leisurely round of golf continues a half century after he designed the course.

Oden said his grandpa got the notion for building a golf course as he was developing part of the nearby land into homes that would become Arrowhead subdivision.

“A lot of this area is in flood plains, so with the areas he couldn’t develop he decided to build a golf course,” said Oden, who started working at the course as a teen.

He eventually took over the reins from his dad in 2016 to become the third-generation owner.

Most days, both father and son can be found at the golf course, where Oden works full time and his father helps out from time to time, when he’s not hitting the links with friends.

“I’ve seen a few downturns and a few upturns in golf over the years, but we’ve been able to weather most of the storms,” said his dad Gary, 74, in reference to the economy’s ups and downs.

He’s also witnessed the occasional resurgence in the sport, like when Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in the 1990s, prompting a huge uptick in the number of people eager to pick up some clubs.

“The (COVID) pandemic also helped it because people were looking for something they could get outside and do. It did a lot to create new interest in golf,” he said.

The Odens take pride in the fact that theirs is a family-run golf course, with customers and employees who have been coming back for decades.

Their pro shop manager, Heather O’Neal, started working for the Odens when she was 12 years old.

“My dad lives off hole 7 and he told us we had to buy our first car, so I got started at an early age running the cash register,” she said. “First I worked for Don and Caroline, then Gary and Kathy, then Leslie and Chad,” she said.

O’Neal, an avid golfer, has now been working at Arrowhead for 36 years.

Her assistant, Lisa Poe, has been working there for over two decades.

“It’s like a family here,” said O’Neal as Fuqua and his golfing buddy, Ken Saunders, nodded their heads in agreement.

Oden hopes to make it a fourth-generation family business some day, if his sons Kyle, 18, and AJ, 19, decide to follow in his footsteps.

“Our plan is to just keep improving,” he said. “It never stops.”

Arrowhead Golf Course is located at 3974 Club House Drive in Greenfield. For information, visit arrowheadgc.com.