In the world of golf, few acronyms are held in the same regard as TPC. Comprising 32 PGA-level venues, the Tournament Players Club network stretches from coast to coast, hosting high-profile pro and senior tour events throughout the year with TPC Sawgrass even serving as the headquarters for the PGA itself. As the Big Easy's contribution to the lineup and a member of the faction that happen to be open to the public, TPC Louisiana does not disappoint. Pete Dye's 2004 design choreographs cypress and oak trees, five ponds, and more than 100 bunkers over 250 acres of the Mississippi River delta. As the permanent home of the PGA Tour’s annual Zurich Classic, the course is, of course, exceptionally long from the back tees––7,400 yards––but furnishes four additional sets of tees to make things easier on amateurs who refuse to cork their drivers.
As with all TPC venues, golf is but a part of the experience. Inside the 24,000 square-foot clubhouse, The TPC Grill couples southern hospitality with an ambiance of relaxed elegance, while luxury lockers provide a place for players to stash their Bourbon Street beads before teeing up on the course.
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
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:
Bayou Barriere Golf Club is a 27-hole complex sculpted into the landscape along the Intracoastal Canal, just one of the many water features prominently displayed. As golfers journey through the bermuda grass fairways and greens, they'll encounter water hazards that come into play on 20 of 27 holes. With the exception of a couple of slight dog legs, the three 9-hole courses showcase mostly straightway hole layouts featuring fairways sparsely lined with mature trees and greens protected by shallow bunkers. The well-groomed golf club also boasts practice facilities and a new clubhouse with pro shop and on-site grill and bar.
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.
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: