This week the PGA Tour is in New Orleans with the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana. And while New Orleans isn't exactly known for its golf, the Crescent City is a pretty good choice for a golf vacation when you consider the whole package.
When the tour is not in town, Pete Dye's TPC Louisiana is one of the most accessible courses in the TPC network. Much like his Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, there's water and sand everywhere with plenty of doglegs and risk-reward opportunities. But it costs a fraction of what Sawgrass costs to play.
And speaking of Sawgrass, New Orleans' climate is almost identical, which means year-round golf on courses such as Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans, Belle Terre Country Club and Audubon Park.
The latter is one of my favorites. Virtually untouched by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Audubon Park is one of the best settings in the city. Located near the zoo as well as Tulane and Loyola universities in the Garden District, Audubon Park is as peaceful as the name implies. Better yet, it's the perfect play at the beginning or end of a golf trip. A par 62, the course has 12 par 3s, so it doesn't take long to play. And it's always in excellent shape and has a terrific bar and grill.
Stonebridge Golf Club is a cool 27-hole layout located in nearby Gretna. Each nine is named after a jazz great – Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain and Al Hirt. Although the nines have 28 ponds and lakes, there are only two forced carries and the water only comes into play if you start to spray it.
Belle Terre Country Club, which translates from French into 'beautiful land,' is an enjoyable Dye design cut through the swamps, meaning there's water on the majority of the holes.
City Park, one of the best values in town, holds particular significance. Once home of the New Orleans Open, the North Course is one of two City Park layouts wiped out by the floods of Katrina. It laid dormant for several years before the city decided to revive it, and there are plans to bring the East Course back to life as well. It's not the nicest course in town, but it's worth the price tag of around $25. If that's not enough, its central location means it's not far from the crawfish pie, gumbo and live music that make New Orleans famous.