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.
Cleaved into a verdant expanse populated with 20-year-old cypress trees and 17 tranquil ponds, Cypress Lakes Country Club’s 18-hole course tumbles across 6,556 yards of challenging tee-to-green terrain. Waterways and wetlands complicate play on virtually every hole throughout the pristine par 72, giving advantage to players who can confidently select the right club to clear a forced carry or bribe gullible waterfowl to extract their sunken balls. Well-manicured bermuda grass supplies eminent playability to both the fairways and the greens, which at times appear as narrow landing strips in a course populated by so much water. By the end of the round, linksmen become callous to water’s intimidating ripples, allowing them to trace a towering drive over the aquatic forced carry that stands in front of the 18th tee, setting up a second shot that could allow players to tap in for a stunning birdie or three-putt for a breathtaking double bogey to conclude the round with dramatic flair.
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: