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Acadiana in Greens

A Guide to Golfing

Gray Plantation

Acadiana is known for its scrumptious Cajun food, Southern hospitality and love of outdoor activity. The fine golf courses in the area specialize in all three.

If Gabriel would have dropped his oar and picked up a 9-iron when he arrived in Acadiana, he just might have spent his time shooting for par instead of pining for his true love. Imagine then the ghost of Evangeline today walking through fields of sugar cane and over muddy crawfish ponds to search for her lost love among the moss-covered, oak-lined fairways; pristine greens; and mansions of grandeur where men and women congregate to relive their golfing exploits over drinks and fried catfish with étouffée on top.

Having written extensively about Louisiana golf courses the past couple of years, I have come to realize – with extreme satisfaction and pleasure – that southern Louisiana (Acadiana and the ever-expanding boundaries of Cajun Country) have some of the finest courses throughout the state, both challenging and inviting at the same time, with features that highlight the areas’ natural topographies without minimizing the golf experience. From sweeping vistas of fairways flanked by tall, stout pine trees and Spanish moss-covered oaks to natural and man-made lakes where turtles absorb the sun and birds swoop down to catch their prey to greens the size of crawfish ponds that test golfers’  skills and patience, each course capitalizes on its own prime piece of Acadiana terrain. Each course lets the player escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the natural beauty of South Louisiana topography while playing a game that never stops being challenging.

Audubon Trail Courses
Louisiana has created what is known as the Audubon Trail, our state’s answer to the hugely successful Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail established in Alabama.  The Audubon Trail is a series of courses dedicated to preserving the environment and promoting the heritage of the game of golf. There are 12 designated Audubon Trail courses throughout the state, each one with its own unique style. Acadiana features three such courses.


Atchafalaya at Idlewild
Sitting directly under the elevated Acadian-style clubhouse, the ninth and 18th holes share a common green, a unique feature that adds a nice twist to one of the longest courses in the state. The entire property is picturesque and beautiful.  The front nine of the course plays into the woods of the lower Atchafalaya delta with native wildlife sometimes making appearances. The back nine is basically a links-style course with slight elevation changes and hilly terrain.  It was voted the No. 1 Best Course You Can Play by Golfweek magazine the past two years.

Location:  Patterson, St. Mary Parish 
Green Fees:  $58 on weekdays, $68 on weekends
Length:  7,533 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Robert Van Hagge  (2006)
Web site:  www.atchafalayagolf.com


Gray Plantation  
Gray Plantation was named one of the 100 Greatest Public Courses in the United States by Golf Digest for the past three years. It was also ranked No. 3 in the state of Louisiana.

Location:  Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish
Green Fees:  $50 on weekdays, $65 on weekends
Length:  7,233 yards (par 72)
Architect:  William “Rocky” Roquemore (1999)
Web site:  www.graywoodllc.com


The Wetlands
The Wetlands Golf Course sits right in the heart of Lafayette. Opened in 2006, this links-style course with generous fairways and rolling terrain is one of Acadiana’s newer courses and has recently been added to the prestigious Audubon Golf Trail.

Location:   Lafayette, Lafayette Parish
Green Fees:  $45 on weekdays, $50 on weekends
Length:  7,293 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Frank Burandt
Web site:  www.wetlandsgc.com

Public Courses
Courses open to the general public can range from daily-fee municipals to membership-driven public clubs to sprawling casino-resort complexes.


Koasati Pines at Coushatta
Koasati Pines is the home course of the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder.  It is one of the longest golf courses in the state at 7,617 yards, and if that is not enough of a challenge, it contains three holes with split fairways and water hazards wherever you look.  A secret hole behind the clubhouse that has an island green – a par 3, 137-yard 19th hole – is the perfect place to break a tie, make a bet or try your luck before heading back into the casino.

Location:  Kinder, Allen Parish     
Green Fees:  $50 on weekdays, $65 on weekends
Length:  7,617 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Kevin Tucker (2002)
Web site: www.koasatipines.com


Farm D’Allie Golf Club, Farm Course
This championship course, which opened in 2003, is located 7 miles north of downtown Lafayette and features six sets of tees from which to play. The once-lowland area was formerly home to cattle and crops of sugar cane, corn and soybeans but is now part of a layout that includes 14 lakes, undulating fairways and sculptured greens.

Location:  Carencro, Lafayette Parish
Green Fees:  $40 on weekdays, $50 on weekends
Length:  7,038 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Jeff Blume
Web site: www.golfcarencro.com


Les Vieux Chenes
Les Vieux Chenes, sitting just outside of Lafayette in the growing community of Youngsville, was built in 1977 and recently renovated in 2009. This links-style golf course with its manageable length and Tifdwarf greens is inviting for the whole family.

Location:  Youngsville, Lafayette Parish         
Green Fees:  $36 on weekdays and weekends, $31 at twilight
Length:  6,870 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Marvin H. Ferguson
Web site: www.lesvieuxchenesgolfcourse.com


Squirrel Run
Opened in 1986, Squirrel Run of New Iberia offers 27 holes of golf spread out among three different courses: The Steeple Course, the Plantation Course and the Woods Course. Each course contains more than 3,000 yards of water- and tree-lined holes.

Location:  New Iberia, Iberia Parish
Green Fees:  $42 on weekdays, $54 on weekends
Length:  Steeple: 3,211 yards; Plantation: 3,169 yards; Woods: 3,240 yards
Architect:  Joe Lee
Web site:  www.squirrel-run.com


Private Courses
Many private courses are exclusive private clubs, but some do allow for nonmember participation or a round of golf with a member for a fee. Check out their respective Web sites for golfing information.


Acadian Hills
Known for its Cajun hospitality and charm, this tree-lined course demands  accurate golf shots. Acadian Hills’ 100 acres were designed in 1962 in order to harmonize with its natural surroundings as well as create a challenging test of golf.

Location:  Lafayette, Lafayette Parish
Green Fees:  Members: $12.25 every day; Guests: $29.95 on weekdays, $35.25
on weekends
Length:  6,450 yards (par 71)
Architect:  Luca Barbato 
Web site:  www.acadianhills.com


Ellendale Country Club 
This fine course in Terrebonne Parish has recently undergone a $2 million renovation, which included a new clubhouse and driving range. Ellendale is famous not only for its golf but also for its fine Cajun food and splendid facilities. The club has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments, and the azalea-flanked road leading to the clubhouse gives it an Augusta National feel.

Location:  Houma, Terrebonne Parish
Green Fees:  Membership required
Length:  7,165 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Joe Finger
Web site:  www.ellendalecountryclub.net


Lake Charles Country Club
This gem in the very western portion of Acadiana offers many amenities other than a fine golf course: Tennis, a marina, a pier, swimming and banquet facilities are all included. The main property has been a golf facility since the early 1900s. Many land purchases and renovations have been done throughout the history of the club; the most recent was in 2003 and included the creation of a peninsula green on the eighth hole.

Location:  Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish
Green Fees:  Various membership levels available
Length:  6,656 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Jeff Blume
Web site:  www.lakecharlescc.net


Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club
This private course, only about 15 minutes from downtown Lafayette in the heart of Cajun Country, features an impressive European-style clubhouse, second-to-none practice facilities and a wide variety of membership packages. It has been the host of the Nationwide Louisiana Open since 1992.

Location:  Broussard, Lafayette Parish
Green Fees:  Various membership levels available
Length:  More than 7,000 feet from back tees
Architect:  Robert Trent Jones (1985)  
Web site:  www.letriomphe.com


Oakbourne
One of the oldest member-owned private clubs in Acadiana, Oakbourne was originally designed in 1955 by Dick Wilson. It was remodeled in 1985, and according to General Manager Tom Stewart, Oakbourne is home to “an abundance of live oak trees, manicured fairways and rolling terrain.” The changes in elevation from tee to green make the course an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all skill levels.

Location:  Lafayette, Lafayette Parish
Green Fees:  Membership required
Length:  6,898 yards (par 72)
Architect:  Finger, Dye & Span
Web site:  www.oakbournecc.com

And so back to lovelorn Gabriel and fair Evangeline. She would have been caught up looking for the love of her life, but he would have been caught up in the rapture that is golf in a beautiful, serene setting, always in search of the perfect swing and a lower score. Like so many of us who have discovered the splendor and heartache of golf, Gabriel would be trapped in a cycle he could not escape: the longing for that one perfect shot that felt like heaven in his hands the moment he made contact, the joy of the ball in flight as it arches over the fairways onto the manicured greens, rolling just inches away from a windblown flag. Ah, Evangeline may have his heart, but golf would have his soul.

Additional information by www.gulfcoastgolf.com.

Excerpts from the article have been previously published in Louisiana Life magazine by the author.
 

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