Road map to the Audubon Golf Trail

By Erik PetersonDecember 11, 2009, 8:34 pm
tpc louisiana
TPC Louisiana in Avondale is one of 12 courses along the Audubon Golf Trail

NEW ORLEANS – To most traveling golfers, great golf and delicious food go hand-in-hand. Perhaps nowhere else in America does that ring truer than along Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail, where you can play a fantastic golf course and enjoy world-famous cuisine all in the same day.

Formed in 2001 to promote golf tourism in the state, the Audubon Golf Trail is comprised of 12 courses throughout Louisiana from New Orleans in the south, to Shreveport near the Arkansas-Texas border. Its portfolio, which includes TPC Louisiana, host of the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic, took a hit from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but all of the affected courses are back to full strength and await your visit.

If you’re thinking about a golf road trip, the Audubon Golf Trail is a fantastic place to consider. Check out this road map of courses from the Trail, which offers a wide variance of character and challenge – and even better, each course has great value as well.

Audubon Park Golf Course is one of the classic gems of New Orleans. Located in the Uptown section of the city, in close proximity to Tulane and Loyola Universities, this par-62 executive course sits smack dab in the center of Audubon Park, just outside the gates of the Audubon Zoo.

As you make your way through your round you'll notice moss hanging from the branches of old oak trees, and a jogging path around the periphery gives youthful exuberance to a course that has been in existence for more than a century.

In 2002 Audubon Park underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, which elevated the conditions of the course and also improved the clubhouse, which along with its southern charm and delicious breakfasts offers impressive views of the golf course.

New Orleans
Where to eat
Red Fish Grill on Bourbon St. or the Gumbo Shop on St. Peter St.
Where to stay
The J.W. Marriott on Canal St. is within walking distance of Bourbon St.

Where to have fun
Bourbon St.

About 20 minutes outside of New Orleans is TPC Louisiana, which opened in 2004 and hosts the PGA Tour Zurich Classic. Designed by Pete Dye with input from major-winner Steve Elkington and New Orleans native Kelly Gibson, the course can play as long as 7,600 yards from the tips, but is a much more manageable 6,300 yards from the white tees.

Like all courses in the New Orleans area, TPC Louisiana was devastated by Hurricane Katrina – in fact, the 2006 Zurich Classic had to be moved to English Turn Golf & Country Club because of it – but the course has since recovered, and is a lot of fun considering it was built on land that has about as much elevation change as an airport runway.

The defining characteristic of TPC Louisiana is the 100-plus bunkers that dominate the landscape, some of which are more than 150 yards long. Instead of worrying about the bunkers, you’ll play better if you stay patient and accept the fact that no matter what, you’ll end up in some of them.

About an hour northwest of New Orleans is Carter Plantation, the first and only course designed by PGA Tour star and Louisiana native David Toms. True to his playing style, Toms didn’t cut any corners in designing Carter Plantation, and the end result is a well-shaped course that’s enjoyable and challenging for all types of golfers.

The signature hole at Carter Plantation is undoubtedly No. 14, a risk-reward par 4 that has just as much trouble as opportunity. During a recent U.S. Open local qualifier the tee was moved up to entice players to drive the green. For the less-aggressive player, it’s a simple fairway wood and wedge approach. Whatever you do, avoid the deep bunkers on this hole, which engage the out-of-bounds markers behind the green.

After your round be sure to visit the Plantation Dining Room, which is in a class above your typical clubhouse restaurant. The reasonably-priced Dining Room is led by executive chef Marcus Day and features such delicacies as hand-cut char-grilled rib eye steaks and the always-popular Southern fried green tomatoes dressed with crawfish tails. It’s the perfect way to finish a day of golf.

Audubon Golf Trail -
Complete Course listing

Audubon Park
Black Bear
Carter Plantation
Cypress Bend Resort
Gray Plantation
Olde Oaks
Tamahka Trails
The Island
TPC Louisiana
The Atchafalaya at Idlewild
The Wetlands

If you need a place to lay your head, stay at Carter Plantation, which is the best on-course option for group lodging in Louisiana. These villa-style accommodations feature a central room that’s a perfect gathering point for a foursome – or two.

The keen attention to detail at Carter Plantation earned it the award, No. 1 for Customer Service on the Trail. 

For another course that pays careful attention to detail, head west from Carter Plantation to The Island, where the greens have a lot of character, and are usually in fantastic shape.

Located just 15 minutes from the capital city of Baton Rouge, The Island is surrounded on all sides by water, as its name suggests. Ironically, it’s one of the best-draining courses in Louisiana. In a low-lying state where even one day of rain can wreak havoc on most courses, The Island rarely has to enact the bothersome “Cart Path Only” rule on its golfers.

The signature hole at The Island is the difficult par-4 11th, which has water along the right and out-of-bounds hugging the left. Even if you can manage to put your tee shot in the fairway, you’re still left with a mid-to-long-iron approach shot into a severely undulating green.

No. 11 is one of those holes that’s devilishly tough, but a lot of fun to play.

If you’re seeking a little off-the-course thrill in the form of a casino, the Audubon Golf Trail has that covered too. From Baton Rouge, head north toward the center of the state to Paragon Casino & Resort, and Tamahka Trails Golf Club.

Located 90 minutes northwest of Baton Rouge, the Paragon Casino & Resort features a 530-room hotel and all the casino games you could ask for. The adjoining Tamahka Trails Golf Club is, like many casino courses, very well maintained and a lot of fun to play.

The signature hole at Tamahka Trails is No. 7, a dogleg-right par 4 that’s literally as far from the hustle and bustle of the casino as you can get. It’s a classic risk-reward hole with a massive tree guarding the front-right of the green and a creek that will snare anything that comes up short.

As with gambling, you won’t have success at No. 7 without a little luck on your side.

Whether you play one course on the Audubon Golf Trail or all 12, you’ll enjoy the great golf, fine cuisine, and affordable prices.
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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”