The Big Easy. There’s no place quite like it. We’re talking about New Orleans, or “Nalans” as the locals call it. This southern city is one of my favorites in the world. I’ve been there multiple times for a multitude of reasons ranging from work, to Mardi Gras, to golf. There’s so much to this city that I could write an anthology about all the things I’ve seen and done in the limited time I’ve spent here.
For purposes of brevity, and taking into account the obvious reason you’re probably reading this article, let’s just stick to a list of the 10 best golf courses.
English Turn Golf and Country Club
English Turn is rich with history unlike most any other golf course in Louisiana. It dates back all the way to when French explorers first arrived in the New Orleans area.
Be that as it may, the facility is first class in every sense of the word. Today, this Jack Nicklaus design sits on a piece of property that’s characterized by centuries old oak trees, lakes, and meandering streams.
The course played host to a PGA Tour Event from 1989 to 2006. The event was considered by both players and fans, one of the finest venues on the schedule.
Undulating greens and water that comes into play on 17 out of 18 holes make this course a real test. The island green 15th hole is one you won’t forget.
Today, you can play this iconic course for a reasonable price. If you have time for just one round while you’re in town, English Turn is a great choice.
Remember that PGA Tour tournament we just mentioned at English Turn? Well, the Zurich Classic is now held every summer at the TPC Louisiana.
That’s right, you can play where the pros play.
Designed by legendary architect, Pete Dye, this property encompasses more than 250 acres of wetlands in the heart of the Mississippi River Delta.
Stands of cypress and oak trees line these majestic fairways which are punctuated by expansive water hazards and railroad ties.
Risk and reward abound here as the course features a number of short par fours where scores can range from red numbers to unmentionables. Proceed wisely.
If you have time after your round, take in a meal at the TPC Grill. You’ll find southern hospitality and an extensive menu that highlights all the Creole and southern flavors New Orleans is famous for.
Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans
When I drove into Stonebridge for the first time, there was only one word I could use to describe it – impressive. It’s abundantly clear that no small detail is overlooked at this property. The facilities are top-notch, the staff overly professional and accommodating, and the course…. Well let’s talk about the course.
It’s true there are 27 holes at this property. Even though I haven’t played it, I’m told the Harvey short course is the perfect spot for beginners or a warm up round.
The Championship Course is an experience I can’t wait to have again. Stunning views of the city and its skyline can be had from almost every hole.
Canals and bayous meander through the property and make managing your game essential.
Worthy of every bit of praise it receives, don’t miss out on Stonebridge.
Grand Ridge Golf Club
The year was 1967. That’s when the doors opened at Grand Ridge Golf Club.
Located in St. Charles Parish, Grand Ridge has been a staple of the New Orleans golf scene for a long time. An old-style, traditional design, this unique layout places a premium on accuracy over distance.
Small greens demand precise approaches as well.
For as much play as this public facility gets, it’s in remarkably good shape. What’s even better is that you won’t pay much more than $50 for 18 holes and a cart.
Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course
One of my favorite munis in the country. Welcome to Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course.
Since 1956, this New Orleans legend isn’t about to go anyway anytime soon. On a weekend, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tee time. If you do, however, you’ll be treated to a wonderful round of golf. In your group you’ll likely find a cast of characters that could range from priests, to football coaches, to janitors, to just about everything in between. That’s the beauty of this place.
Like every great muni, there’s nothing here that’s going to blow your mind from an amenities standpoint. Instead, you’ll be treated just like everybody and welcomed regardless of race, creed, status, the list goes on.
Audubon Park Golf Club
Just minutes from downtown, you’ll find Audubon Park. Inside the park is Audubon Park Golf Course.
Again, there’s no pretention at this facility. Come as you are and have a great time.
Even though this golf course only boasts a par of 62, it’s flat out fun to play. There’s not an excess of sneaky hazards or blind shots. With that said, this is a great spot to come for a casual round with friends, or just work on your game.
For no more than $40 with a cart, you can’t beat the price.
Lakewood Golf Club
If you want to feel like a member of a private club but want to pay daily fee prices, check out Lakewood Golf Club.
While this club has an active private membership, the public is welcomed with open arms.
Having undergone a recent renovation, this course is highly regarded by both locals and visitors.
Generous fairways allow you to hit driver with confidence but well-guarded greens keep you on your toes.
If you want to tip it out, be prepared. The course is one of the better tests in the New Orleans area.
Bayou Oaks at City Park – North Course
The North Course at Bayou Oaks is a shining example of what public golf should be in a major metropolitan area.
Even though the course measures less than 6,000 yards from the tippy toppies, it’s a treat to play and always in great shape.
Water comes into play on nearly half the holes, so you’ll want to be careful where you place your full shots.
This track dates back to 1969 and is here to stay.
Bayou Oaks at City Park – South Course
Having undergone a major renovation in 2017, the South Course at Bayou Oaks has quickly become a local’s favorite.
It makes sense, too. The renovation was overseen by the venerable Rees Jones.
If you want, you can stretch this track out to 7,300 yards. At that length, it’s without a doubt one of the best tests of any public golf in all of Louisiana.
A great value and truly, one of the finest public facilities I’ve ever played.
Timberlane Golf and Recreation
There’s something for everyone in your family at Timberlane. For purposes of this conversation, we’re going to focus on the great golf course.
Having first opened in 1959, this course is one of Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s most notable works. Largely unchanged, this course is a perennial favorite for good players and plays host to the prestigious Gretna Green Knickers Golf Tournament. I haven’t witnessed this event myself, but I’m told it’s one hell of a good time.
For a round of golf steeped in history you won’t soon forget, choose Timberlane.
Just writing this article about golf in the Big Easy gave me goosebumps. There’s so much I love about this great city, I can’t wait to go back every time I head for home. Between history, culture, and cuisine, it seems like there’s never time for much else… Except golf.
You might not think of New Orleans as a golf-rich destination, but I’m here to tell you it absolutely is. Whether it’s high-end Tour courses, or local munis filled with a cast of characters as long as Bourbon Street, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve played some golf in New Orleans, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. Next time I’m in town, maybe we can hook up for a round, and of course a hearty meal and stiff beverage when we’re done.