When designing Squirrel Run Golf Club's three courses, architect Joe Lee incorporated the verdant charm of South Louisiana, challenging golfers of all stripes with 27 holes of stunning natural beauty. Throughout the Plantation, Steeple, and Woods courses, trees reflect off of glistening pools of water, and greens of Champion grass keep balls rolling with buttery-smooth surfaces. Separate practice greens and facilities allow golfers to fine-tune specific skills, and a well-stocked pro shop carries fairway-ready gear from labels such as Callaway, Cleveland, and TaylorMade or custom-fitted clubs from Ping and Titleist. After strolling the greens and thwacking shots into the stratosphere, guests share frosty beverages, grilled fare, and stories of the time they gave Fred Couples a piggyback ride at The Restaurant at Squirrel Run.
Historic City Park Golf Course has occupied its 25-acre parcel on the northern tip of City Park Lake since 1926. Comprised exclusively of par 3s and 4s, the nine-hole layout keeps distances manageable—its longest hole is 377 yards—so beginners can enjoy the course as much as their longer-driving counterparts. Though the course may be short on yardage, it's long on history as one of a select group of golf courses recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, preserving it from destruction so that future generations will one day be able to use robot caddies to play on those same fairways.
Course at a Glance:
* 9-hole, par 32 course
* Total length of 2,300 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 62.4 from the back tees
* Course slope of 107 from the back tees
* Three sets of tees per hole
At Fennwood Hills Country Club, the transformative fairways of a nine-hole course invite golfers to play 18 holes, presenting different tee boxes during the second act for a distinct back nine. As clubbers loop the course, which was frequented by former sweater-vest model John Daly, they are faced with difficult drives into narrow, tree-lined fairways and approach shots over treacherous bunkers. The course’s innovative front-to-back layout asks players to approach three holes from entirely new angles on the back nine, which declaws the par 5—rendering it a par 3—and forces golfers to look at the course’s five perilous ponds from a new perspective, especially on the 16th hole, where rippling water pressures players to lay-up or risk sending golf balls into an eternal search for underwater Atlantis.
After a long day of putting and strutting in the sun, the club invites players to cool off with a beverage while watching sports in the clubhouse, test their forehand at one of four tennis courts, or practice splash-free cannonballs at the swimming pool.
Course at a Glance:
Nine-hole par-36 course
Length of 3,194 yards from the farthest set of tees
Course rating of 34.5
Slope rating of 112
The topography at Beaver Creek Golf Course doesn't shape the course as much as it divides the layout into two distinct nine-hole designs. The front nine stretches across plains with open expanses and very few trees, relying on shifting winds to challenge golfers as they loft approach shots into the stratosphere or attempt to steer their cart by sail. While the winds may be perplexing, golfers shouldn't be caught off guard by the front nine's other unique characteristic: a double green. Holes five and seven share the same putting surface, which hosts a separate, well-marked flagstick and cup for each respective hole. Bounded by dense woods, Beaver Creek's second nine presents a completely different design, where golf balls are sheltered from the winds but imperiled by protected wetlands throughout and a large lake that comes into play on holes 11 and 12. After rounds, golfers can unwind at the Creekside Grill or make underperforming putters run sprints across the practice green.
Dumas Memorial Golf Course
Measuring 6,403 yards from the farthest tees, Dumas Memorial Golf Course's par 71 layout provides plenty of opportunities for golfers to post low scores—at least once they make it past the first hole. The par-five first presents an intimidating start: at 548 yards, it's the longest hole on the course and the number-one handicap hole, so golfers might want to spend some extra time at the on-site driving range to avoid a slow start. Any early-round transgressions can be redeemed on the finishing holes: the two shortest par-threes on the course, holes 16 and 18 will reward solid tee shots with birdie opportunities and a congratulatory handshake from the final flagstick.
Howell Park Golf Course
Creeks are typically benign features, so it tends to raise some eyebrows when one is named after a natural disaster. At Howell Park Golf Course, Hurricane Creek earned its fearsome moniker for the mayhem it can cause on the course: the creek intersects ten different holes, making it imperative that players select the proper club when attempting to clear the water or laying up to the front of its bank so that their golf cart can drink when thirsty. A parkland-style, 5,700-yard, par 70 layout, Howell Park's player-friendly fairways give golfers a chance to shoot a solid round, as long as they can keep their ball dry.
Sculpted through the water-kissed terrain of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, The Island Country Club challenges golfers with a lengthy course that measures 7,010 yards from the farthest tees. Water hazards await on nearly every hole throughout the course, giving advantage to golfers with confident swings and disciplined refusal to give golf-ball treats to the aviary creatures that occupy The Island’s wooden duck houses. The course’s most difficult hole, the 441-yard, par 4 11th offers a PGA Tour-worthy test from the tee, as drives must steer clear of a water hazard that hugs the entire right side of the hole while also shaping the shot to compensate for the fairway’s right-ward bend. In respect of the wildlife that shares the course grounds, The Island uses solar panels to power its clubhouse, golf carts, and herds of robotic caddies hired to graze in the native long grasses.
To prepare for upcoming rounds, golfers can enlist the services of PGA master professional Dave Baron, the club’s head golf pro. After a long day of launching drives and managing 9-irons' tender egos, golfers can unwind at The Island Grill, where executive chef Mark Maggio artfully blends elements of Italian and Louisiana cuisine.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 72 course
* Length of 7,010 yards from the farthest tees
* Course rating of 75.1 from the farthest tees
* Slope rating of 143 from the farthest tees
* Four tee options
Pelican Point merges British-style golf with Louisiana panache on a recently improved facility that houses two championship golf courses and two practice ranges. Built on 450 acres of a retired sugar-cane farm, the semiprivate golf club houses many obstacles, including wide bunkers, shot-blocking trees, and a wormhole that spits hapless golfers onto yard 100 of the driving range. Duos putt with precision on the championship-bermuda-grass greens of Pelican Point's premiere course, The Links, which enhances aim with up to 6,931 driving yards and a water hazard on nearly every hole. Golfers can also tee off at The Lakes course, which thwarts crooked shots with doglegs that meander through native Louisiana wildlife and wildflowers. Pelican Point observes a strict dress code at both courses, which requires clothing designed specifically for golf, such as collared shirts, golf-length shorts, and plaid brass knuckles.