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The Pelican State is home of some outstanding public golf courses, nestled in its natural landscapes. Sixteen of them are part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, a membership that promotes a strict protection of the environment during the management of the layouts, forming the Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail.
The best course of the Trail is the TPC, created by Pete Dye and home of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. However, apart from this fantastic layout there are plenty of other courses that are worth a visit, such as the Bluffs, Beaver Creek of Koasati Pines.
Take a look at our list of the top 10 best public golf courses in The Pelican State and decide which one is your favorite!
Best Golf Courses in Louisiana
Just taking a look at the TPC’s website will give you a hint about the world-class layout that lies here. Home of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans since 2005, TPC was designed by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye, together with golf players Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson in year 2004. (TPC Website, s.f.)
Located in the city of Avondale, the course goes along the Mississippi Delta, offering some incredible views of the wetlands that can make you think of being inside a natural reserve. Proof of this is that this course is part of the Audubon Golf Trail, and member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program, which ensures the protection of the environment in golf courses.
Even being quite flat, this terrain counts with 100 bunkers and 5 ponds coming into play, creating some fantastic holes. The best ones may be the last 3 of the round, being the closing one the signature one: a par 5 featuring a dogleg to the right, two huge waste bunkers, another 8 sand ones, and a large pond. A fantastic yet tough way to finish your round! (Top 100 Golf Courses, s.f.)
Apart from the course, TPC also has a well-stocked pro shop, golf lessons and the possibility of renting clubs.
Finally, the rates: the may range between $50 to $120 depending on the times and season, however, the sooner you book your tee time in advance, the cheapest it will be.
What started in 1988 as a private facility, was 20 years later opened to the public. With an outstanding design by Arnold Palmer, together with architect Ed Seay, this layout offers some great variety of terrain, combining deep hardwood forests, hills, creeks, hollows, cliffs and beautiful vistas of Thompson Creek, located in the city f St. Francisville, near Baton Rouge. (Golf Now, s.f.)
So, if we have to sum up this course in a word, it would be fun: some blind shots, water coming into play in some parts of the track, elevation changes, scenic holes, pure nature and great isolation.
Proof of the greatness of this layout is the recent award by Golf Magazine as the ‘2016-2017 Voted No. 1 Best Golf Course You Can Play in Louisiana’. (The Bluffs Website, s.f.) Apart from this, The Bluffs has hosted several amateur tournaments, such as the Louisiana State Championship in ‘91,’92 and ’02, and the U.S Senior Challenge in 1997.
As for the rates, they are not cheap but reasonable for the great quality of the course, ranging from approximately $40 to $70.
Beaver Creek is part of BREC, an agency which promotes parks and nature in East Baton Rouge Parish, in order for people to know and visit them. Their mission is basically to provide more and more parks and natural areas for the people of its surroundings.
Designed by Craig Schreiner and Associates in year 2002, this course is located in Zachary, only 20 minutes form the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. The course counts with two distinctive nines: the front one, more open, treeless and windswept terrain; and the back nine, tougher and probably more interesting than the front one, featuring some great carries over wetlands and water.
Some great holes can be the par 5 11th and the par 4 12th, which play along a lake; the 13th and 14th, playing through some woodlands and wetlands; and the closing 18th, a beautiful par 4 which plays in front of the clubhouse.
Koasati was the name of a group of native tribes which lived in the area, now home of a huge resort called Coushatta (which actually is the name of one of the three tribes which formed the Koasati). Building a casino in year 1995, they later added some hotels and finally, an 18-hole professional course, the Koasati Pines.
Designed by Kevin Tucker, Koasati Pines presents itself as the longest golf course in Louisiana, with 7,617 yards, and is set on a natural wetland terrain. There are also hardwood forests present throughout the whole course, mostly being of oaks and pines; and lakes and ponds that give more beauty to the layout.
As for the signature hole, it has to be the 9th, a par 5 surrounded by water with a great risk-reward opportunity: the risky ones would try to reach the green in two, with a great carry over water; while the most conservative ones will go step by step through the fairway to their right.
Apart from this hole, the 18th can also be a good contender: a tough par 5 with water on either side of the fairway, and some possible carries that will make you finish in a dramatic way.
Black Bear is set on the Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, in the city of Delhi, which is located on the north-eastern side of Louisiana. Opened in 2006, the course is now home of the Adam’s Pro Tour, and it is known for its great value, offering some affordable rates (oscillating from $30 to $55) and great quality of play.
With a Roy Bechtol & Randolph Russel design, the layout at Black Bear offers a great variety of holes, with some playing alongside hardwood forests and others more open and with less elevation changes.
As for the holes, it is difficult to choose one between some incredibly designed ones that this course possesses. The best ones are located in the back nine, from which our favorites may be the 15th, a par 4 with a great tree in front of the green; or the closing 18th, a par 4 that will make you finish in a tough way, as it is rated with an index 2. From the front nine, best holes may be the par 3 6th and the par 4 7th, featuring a scenic uphill blind shot.
Golden Nugget is a resort located in the city of Lake Charles, in the south west of Louisiana. Designed by local architect Todd Eckenrode, and opening in 2015, the course offers water, sand bunkers, forests and splendid views throughout the whole layout.
Take a look at some of the great holes which lie here: the 3rd and 4th count with some great carries over water, the 14th is a par 3 which plays slightly to the left, with the lake on its left side; or the 15th, a scenic par 4 with a dogleg to the left and with water on both sides of the hole.
Rates can be a bit expensive, however, there are some great discounts for some seasons. The general fee for the open public is of $159; for hotel guests, $129. The good news is that if you play after twilight, price falls down to $79.
As for the rest of the amenities, the facility counts with anything you can imagine for a resort: spa, live shows, casino, restaurants, a pool, a beach, tennis courts, fitness center, or a marina. Quite difficult to get bored here!
Really close to the Country Club at Golden Nugget, lies the also fancy L’Auberge Casino Resort. Here is where Contraband Bayou Golf Club was built, opening in 2005 and designed by well-known architect Tom Fazio, who crafted a resort links-style course, playable for every kind of golfer. Lots of water (present in 14 out of the 18 holes) gives this course great beauty, and it is usual to see some alligators during your round, so keep an eye out!
This playability is well seen during the front nine, a bit more forgiving than the back one. Here, fairways are wide and open, allowing the players to miss some shots and not get punished in a huge way; the pins are visible in most hole, and the rough is pretty wide and playable. The most attractive holes here can be the scenic 8th, a par 3 with a carry over water.
But this easier front nine is balanced by a more challenging back nine, which counts with water in 6 of the holes, some doglegs, blind shots and risk rewards shots. The signature here can easily be the 15th, the handicap 1 par 5 which plays with a contoured fairway, mounds, and an also contoured green. However, another contender may be the beautiful par 3 13th with a carry over a lake. (Texas Outside , s.f.)
Ina nutshell, a great resort course for every player, which you can enjoy together with all the other amenities that the L’Auberge Resort has to offer – from casino and spa services to swimming pools and shops.
Gray Plantation lies on the shores of the Calcasieu River, in the neighborhood of Greywood, Lake Charles. Opened for play in 1999, this course is part of a facility that offers not only golf, but also a Sports Club that features a spa service, a fitness center, some tennis courts, a pool, recreational areas and a sauna.
But let’s focus on golf. The Gray Plantation Course offers some woodlands, marshlands and lakes, playing at 12 out of the 18 holes. The signature hole is said to be its 6th, a par 3 which plays along the river. Hwever, there are other great holes to take into account, such as the also par 3 17th, playing to a peninsula green; or the tough par 4 18th.
Only an hour drive from Baton Rouge lies the city of Springfield, built on the beautiful Louisianan countryside and where we can find the fabulous Carter Plantation golf course. Designed by former PGA Champion in 2001 and Louisianan native David Toms, this course was built on a landscape full of oaks, pines and cypress trees, which give it a great sense of isolation during most of the round. Apart from this, water is also present in eleven out of the 18 holes, and wildlife is visible throughout the whole round.
As for the highlight holes, the front nine counts with the 8th and 9th, two challenging par 4s that feature some doglegs and water. From the back nine, the par 5 13th and the par 4 14th are great contenders, together with the closing par 4 18th.
Finally, the prices. Rates at Carter Plantation are affordable, ranging from$40 to $60 per round. A must-visit for those nature lovers looking for some authentic round of golf.
New Orleans is the home of Audubon Park, a Dennis Griffiths designed golf course that counts with 4220-yards, which was opened in 1898. More than a hundred years later, however, it was completely renovated and reopened in the year 2002.
One of the main characteristics of this layout is the presence of really old oaks, some of them older than the course. But the best part here are the twelve (yes, twelve!) par 3s. Three par 4s and two par 5s complete the layout, perfect for those looking for improving their accuracy, or looking for a quick round.
As for the green fees, being a municipal course helps to have some reasonable prices, in order to everybody to be able to play: from $30 to $50.
Here ends our top 10 best golf courses in Louisiana, however, there so many other courses that are not in the list and that would also blow your mind. If you have a favorite that isn't on our list, be sure to let us (and our readers) know in the comment section below. Make sure of checking their availabilities and let us know how it went!