I would like to start a new stream on the top golf courses in Louisiana. Your input is welcome. Some that I have played include:
Atchafalaya at Idlewild, Patterson
A well maintained, beautiful Louisiana style wetlands golf course. Plenty of mounding, a challenging but fair layout and oodles of wildlife make this one of the best Louisiana golf courses you will find. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.
Beaver Creek, Zachary
I recently played this BREC golf course and was very impressed. The course is a mixture of American Links style and Louisiana wetland course. It is very challenging, well maintianed, and each hole is different.
Black Bear Golf Club, Delhi
A nice layout featuring rolling terrain, plenty of water hazards, and trees. Just a beautiful and challenging golf course. One of my favorites! Keep your eye out for the black bears, which have been spotted occassionally on the property. A lodge is now open on the grounds for overnight stays. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.
The Bluffs, St. Francisville
My wife, Bebe, surprised me on my birthday one year by kidnapping me and taking me to stay in the lodge and play golf at this Arnold Palmer designed golf course. What a beautiful golf course with plenty of water, hills, and trees, built on property that John James Audubon roamed in the creation of his Birds of America book! I have not played the course in a while but have heard that it is recovering from the economy. I love Arnold Palmer’s golf courses. He is never seriously penal but always challenging.
Carter Plantation, Springfield
This course, the first design of my favorite golfer, David Toms, is a true beauty. Tall pines and hardwoods combine with plenty of water to create a difficult but fair test of golf. Only 30 minutes from Baton Rouge, it is truly a lovely visit to the country. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.
Copper Mill, Zachary
This is a well designed golf course. A little unusual in that it has three par 3s and three par 5s on each nine. But the course has plenty of strategy and is well maintained. I recommend it highly.
Country Club of Louisiana, Baton Rouge
I have played this Jack Nicklaus designed course only once. It is situated on perhaps the lovliest property in Baton Rouge. It was redesigned this year and I have not gotten any feedback on it. Please let me know what you think. I remember there being a few harsh design elements, such as on number nine there was a bowl like depression on the green. I ended up putting around and through it and my ball ended up back at my feet because I didn’t hit it hard enough. Another one was on the tenth hole where a series of traps with high banks prevented me from hitting anything out but a wedge back into the fairway. But hey, it’s not much different than hitting into water, I guess. Stroke penalty. At least you don’t lose your ball.
Cypress Bend Resort, Many
This Dave Bennett design is stunning in its beauty and elevation changes. Situated along the Toledo Bend Lake, this will amaze you with its beauty. While you’re taking in the views don’t forget to hit the ball!
Gray Plantation, Lake Charles
A nice Louisiana swamp style golf course situated on the Calcassieu waterway and member of the Audubon Golf Trail. This course has it all and is one of my favorites. One of my favorite par 5s in Louisiana is the number 7, double fairway hole. There are too many excellent holes to mention here.
The Island, Plaquemine
Another member of the Audubon Golf Trail, this Mike Young design is actually not an island, but is situated between Bayou Plaquemine and Bayou Jacob. Bayou Jacob makes the biggest impact, with at least five holes impacted by its sluggish waters. Number two is a wonderful par 5 crossing the bayou twice. Ten, eleven, and twelve also make heavy use of the bayou as a hazard. Very nice holes!
The Oaks of Sherwood, Baton Rouge
I had to include the course I grew up on, the previous Sherwood Forest Country Club. The course is now open to the public and still well maintained. The trees have grown since I was a young pup and present tighter fairways and more of a challenge. A throwback to old traditional golf, this is a nice golf experience.
A Jim Lipe design, this course sits on the former England Airforce Base. This course has varying types of holes and types of shots, making it a wonderful combination of Louisiana wetland course and American links styles. A nice golfing experience.
This Hal Sutton design consists of 18 holes of rolling terain and 9 holes of American links style golf. The nines, called Cypress, Oaks, and Meadow offer a differing golf experience. The links course, the Meadow, is perhaps the most difficult. Plenty of water and/or wetlands, this course is beautiful and is home to a wide variety of birds.
Santa Maria Golf Club, Baton Rouge
My favorite Baton Rouge golf course. I was a charter member of this previously private club when it went belly up and I had to eat my $7000 deposit. When BREC (Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation) bought the property for a song, I thought it would become a goat ranch. Much to my joy and happiness, they have done an excellent job of keeping up this Robert Trent Jones gem. I wish the houses were a little farther away from some of the holes but otherwise, this is a truly outstanding golf course, with some undulations not normally seen in Baton Rouge. The fifth hole is the most difficult par three I have ever played. The green is narrow left to right and there are water hazards on both sides. There is no bale out place except in front of the green, and that in itself is a difficult shot owing to the narrowness of the fairway.
Tamahka Trails, Marksville
A Steve Smyers design, run by the Tunica Biloxi Tribe at the Paragon Casino Resort has only one lake on site but the strategically arranged high banked bunkers will reach out to grab you. Rolling fairways, plenty of trees, and oh yeah, did I mention bunkers? Number 7 is one of my all time favorite holes. A midrange par 4 dogleg right past a series of bunkers on the right, downhill to a creek, which snakes around the elevated green. I continue to shoot a bad score on this monster, but oh how I love it!
TPC Louisiana, Avondale
A Pete Dye creation, where the Zurich Classic is played annually. The familiar Dye elements of sand, pot bunkers, and railroad ties are all there. This previous cypress swamp is very nice. Tell them if you are a Louisiana resident so that you can get a discount on the pricey green fee. But to play a course you see the pros play on TV is a pleasure. Plenty of wildlife and some aligators. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.
University Club, Baton Rouge
David Toms and Jim Lipe recently redesigned this Jim Lipe design. I have not played the course since then, however, I thought it was a first rate golf course before that. I expect that it is even better now.
The Wetlands, Lafayette
This Audubon Golf Trail course, run by Lafayette Parks, seems easy after the first few holes but it picks up pace and will bite you by the end. Designed by Landscape Frank Burandt, who used to work with Nicklaus design, this is one fine layout. The last three holes are among the best finishing holes you will find.
Courses which have received accolades but I have not played include:
Contraband Golf Course at L’auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles
A Tom Fazio design.
English Turn Country Club, New Orleans
A Jack Nicklaus design which previously hosted the New Orleans Open.
Farm D’Allie Golf Club, Carencro
This Jeffery Blume designed golf course has made several top rankings in Louisiana.
Koasati Pines Golf Club, Kinder
In association with the Coushatta Casino. A Kevin Tucker design, this course has gotten very good reviews.
Lakewood, New Orleans
The former home of the New Orleans Open, this course was redesigned by Ron Garl and owned by the New Orleans Firefighters Pension Fund.
LaTriomphe Golf and Country Club, Broussard
A Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design.
A David Toms deisned links-style course.
Links on the Bayou, Lake Charles
An Alexandria public course designed by Mike Young, who also designed The Island. This course sits next to OakWing Golf Course.
Metairie Country Club
This course, built in 1922 by Seth-Raynor, is unique in that each hole is a replica of a Scottish or American golf hole.
Money Hill Country Club, Abita Springs
A Ron Garl design which has ranked number one in the state several times. The property consists of plenty of trees and rolling hills, as well as water.
National Golf Club of Louisiana, Westlake
A Dave Bennett design.
Oakbourne Country Club, Lafayette
A Robert Trent Jones designed golf course, which has received good reviews.
Southern Trace Country Club, Shreveport
David Toms home course designed by Arthur Hills.
Squire Creek Country Club, Choudrant
A Tom Fazio design in Choudrant, near Ruston
I will update this list and comment on each in the near future. I welcome your input. -rt