Louisiana Golfing Experience

Brothers working it at Olde Oaks

Brothers working it at Olde Oaks Golf Course; (c) Soul Of America/Calvin Young

Louisiana Golfing Experience

by Calvin Young of Soul Of America

For me, the joy of golf has never been able to par or sub-par every course, but more about enjoying good company while simultaneously enjoying the beauty of nature. The well trimmed grass, stately trees, water views, and the winds subtly caress as you walk or ride the holes. While the courses on this trail enable me to enjoy my hearts desire, it offers variety and challenge to those who enjoy the rigors of golf combat.

Olde Oaks is 27 beautiful holes are set on 340 acres of hilly terrain that is distinctive to this part of the state. The course has 4 sets of tees that present a challenge to golfers of every skill level. As a somewhat novice level golfer, I really appreciated this aspect of the course. This enabled we sometime golfers to keep up with the more experience pros. Designed by PGA Tour Star Hal Sutton, it just south of Bossier City Louisiana and is easily accessible in the Shreveport-Bossier metro area. Hal has designed 3 distinct nine-hole layouts that give golfers a variety of design elements and shot values, not to mention the spectacular beauty of old growth tress and pristine lakes. You’ll also spot many of the native species of wildlife on the course without trying. Olde Oaks offers a complete environment to experience every pleasure that golfers cherish, including great food at a splendid clubhouse.

Driving one

Stewart Brown driving one at Cypress Bend Gold Resort; (c) Soul Of America/Calvin Young

Next stop was Cypress Bend Golf Resort and Conference Center, located on route 6 on Toledo Bend Lake, about 1.3 hours from Shreveport and 4.5 hours from New Orleans. The resort a wonderful home away from home and my favorite for its unrivaled flowers and landscaping. The clubhouse is exquisitely appointed, yet inviting and comfortable. The water views seen from many of the tees are spectacular and breathtaking. It was a real privilege to plays these holes. The clubhouse is marvelous with a friendly and competent staff to look after your every need while serving excellent regional cuisine.

The 18-hole “Gray Plantation” course at the Gray Plantation Golf Course facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana features 6,946 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. Designed by Rocky Roquemore, the Gray Plantation golf course opened in 1999.

Last stop before New Orleans was Gray Plantation awarded 75th out of 100 of America’s greatest public courses in 2005 by Golf Digest magazine. In 2004, GOLF Magazine ranked the course as one of the “top three among 50 best U.S. courses for $50 or less. The course is a wonderfully landscaped 18 hole, 7000 yard facility that will challenge pro, amateur and novice. Flanked by towering pines, the raised plantation Clubhouse is surrounded by scenic marshland. Although Katrina did the most visible damage here, there are still lots of beauty remaining for your enjoyment. Hole 6 is the signature hole and borders the Calcasieu waterway. A precise tee shot is required to hit this smallest of the greens.

Hole 17 was my favorite as this scenic par 3 has water surrounding the hole that has three tiers on the green. Make a bad club choice and you will have to go fishing. Mouth watering, Southern cuisine awaits you at the graciously appointed Cypress Grill.

Ladies hitting the course at Olde Oaks

Ladies hitting the links at Olde Oaks; (c) Soul Of America/Calvin Young

It was here that all of the members of our tour were made honorary citizens of Lake Charles, complete with plaque and a lapel pin. Feted with excellent food with while tablecloth service, I shall always remember the warm and wonderful people of this city, a place that I can now call home.

The 18-hole Audubon course at the Audubon Park Golf Course facility in New Orleans features 5,739 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 68. The course rating is 64.4 and it has a slope rating of 96 on Bermuda grass. The Audubon golf course opened in 1898. Set in an urban location, it is the country’s only golf course accessible by streetcar and is located just across from the World famous Audubon Zoo. Dad can play golf, while Mom and the kids visit the animals and climb the rock wall.

Enveloped by 100-year old oak trees, Gold Digest called the newly renovated course “the most scenic and interesting sport for New Orleans golfers.” I agree. Although damaged by Katrina, the Nature Institute, who manages this facility, has done a remarkable job returning the course to its former splendor.

After six wonderful days and five nights of wonderful golf, companionship, food, and drink, I, and all of my companions, were not only NOT ready to leave, but rather to begin our trip anew to sample and enjoy the other national treasures of Louisiana’s Audubon trail.

Golfers at City Park, New Orleans with Lt. Governor of Louisiana

Golfers at City Park, New Orleans with Lt. Governor Landrieu of Louisiana (top-center); (c) Soul Of America

When asked to play golf at some of the country’s finest golf courses in Louisiana, I dropped everything, started packing and practicing with one of my semi-pro friends.

A little research revealed that Audubon Golf Trail is twelve world-class golf courses designed by David Toms, Robert von Hagge, and Hal Sutton, the PGA Ryder Cup Champ. The courses are designed to show off the splendid natural features of one of our most beautiful states while offering challenging and accommodating golf. These courses, with nearby luxurious resort facilities to match, permit you to play unhindered until even the most addicted fan is sated. As you travel throughout the state to the courses, you witness the unrivaled beauty and experience its friendly and gracious people.

We started our journey in Shreveport at the Olde Oaks Golf Club and finished up at the Audubon Park in New Orleans with the engaging and down to earth Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, as a partner. Along the way we visited Cypress Bend Golf Resort, and the Gray Plantation.

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