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Contraband Bayou - Hole #13


Golf Travel To The Cajun Paradise

Destination Guide To Lake Charles, LA

By Deb Patton

When choosing Louisiana as your vacation destination, the selection of The Big Easy immediately comes to mind. Move your target a little west to the southwest region of Louisiana which is home to a treasure trove of pastimes. Located just two hours from Houston, TX and three from New Orleans, this region is sure to fill all of your vacation dreams. "Our unique Cajun paradise offers something different on every corner. Whether you're a foodie and want to indulge in our delicious Cajun cuisine, an outdoors enthusiast who wants to explore our golf greens or Louisiana's Outback, or want to try your luck at our area casino resorts, we have something for everyone," described Megan Hartman, Marketing Manager of the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. Golfing in Lake Charles is certainly at the top of the list for passing time. Here are four great tracts to check out when you go.

Mallard Cove
After arriving at the St. Charles Airport, we headed out to Mallard Cove Golf Course. What a great spot to warm up my swing after a long cold winter in the Midwest. This championship course stretches to 7015 yards and offers four sets of tees. As noted by Golf Digest's 2008/2009"Best Places to Play", it truly is municipal golf at its finest.

On what used to be the Chennault Air Force Base, Jim Wall designed Mallard Cove to appeal to all levels. Originally built in 1976, renovations in 2001 hold dear to the original overall playability. By sprigging the greens with Tif Eagle Bermuda, removing 17 bunkers, and enlarging some of the remaining bunkers, Mallard Cove continues to be a local favorite.

Always with the goal of offering a good value, you will be treated to nice variety of holes with varying challenges. Be it water, trees or alligators, you need to be on your toes. And if it's risk/reward you want, then you'll anxiously be waiting #18 a 563 yard par-5 with a severe dogleg (280 yd carry) the big hitter can cut. Mallard Cove can be played most days for no more than $23.20 per 18. If opting for a cart with GPS, that will set you back another $13.30. This value is definitely worth the trip. For tee times call 337-491-1204.

The National Golf Club of Louisiana
With a look more reminiscent of North Carolina, The National Golf Club of Louisiana in Westlake, LA offers plenty to challenge every golfer. Voted one of the "Top 100 Best New Courses for 2010" by Golfweek Magazine, I guarantee your time here will not disappoint. At nearly 7,000 yards from the tips, five sets of tees await to accommodate all skill levels.

Dave Bennett's design is masterfully routed around 14 lakes and winds through Louisiana soft pines creating the illusion that it has been there for decades. One of the lakes does make an appearance on every hole, so an understanding of shot placement is paramount to low scores. Bail-out areas are offered for those with low risk tolerance on this generally open course. With TifSport fairways and rough and MiniVerde on the large and imposing greens, they took great pride in developing a quality course from start to finish. Receiving immediate recognition from the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series, the site was host to the 2010 and 2011 Southwest Louisiana Open.

The top-notch practice facility surely had something to do with the aforementioned selection with a 1.5 acre all grass driving range, two chipping greens and a large practice putting green. Lastly, with green fees of $33 weekday / $43 weekend or Holiday this surely fits in to any vacation budget. Book your tee time online or call the pro shop 337-433-2255.

Contraband Bayou
Opened in 2005, this Tom Fazio design takes you through lovely terrain complete with subtle elevation changes, marsh and water features and greens that roll where they are supposed to. A 7,077 yard par-71 championship layout, Contraband Bayou is complete with four sets of tees to accommodate all guests.

After suffering from not one, but two hurricanes (Katrina and Rita), the course has bounced back in its short life and not missed a beat. From holes 8 -15 you will be enveloped in the lowland features of the Pelican State with newly planted trees to replace some of the nearly 1200 lost in the storms. This stretch of golf is some of the finest in Lake Charles challenging your short, long, and thinking game.

Owned and operated by L'Auberge du lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, LA, you're sure to experience southern hospitality at its finest along with incredible attention to detail illustrated by the brand new greens seeded with Champion Bermuda. Now that's a commitment to the experience. For information on stay and play package and tee times call the golf shop at 337-395-7220.

Gray Plantation
Part of the master planned community of Graywood, Gray Plantation, a semi-private venue, leaves nothing to be desired. Rocky Roquemore built a complete course from beginning to end with 18 golf holes giving a little of everything you'd want from a course. A six year veteran of Golf Digest's Top 100 courses in the United States, Gray Plantation offers several risk/reward opportunities within its 7,191 yards complete with four sets of tees. Sixty acres of lakes and 94 bunkers challenge your shot selections.

Currently ranked number 5 in the State by Golf Digest, you'll enjoy a leisurely round navigating the wetlands flush with wildlife. When you reach the signature hole, the par-3 6th, you'll experience the first of four really good par-3s. At 168 yards from the black tees, club selection is everything as you shoot for the smallest green on the property.

The other attraction is the newly established teaching academy run by Mark Moore. State-of-the art equipment adorns the facility to analyze every aspect of your putting stroke or full swing. Mark, after 12 years as a Hank Haney instructor, works with players of all levels to hone skill sets. Golf schools and private lessons are available. Better yet, customize your own program with Mark.

A charter member of the Audubon Golf Trail in Louisiana, guests can play Gray Plantation for only $65 plus $16 for a cart outfitted with GPS on the weekend. There's no better way to end your round than at The Cypress Grill for a bowl of their gumbo - best I found! For tee times and other information, the pro shop number is (337) 562-1663.

Where to Stay

L'Auberge du lac Casino Resort offers first class accommodations complete with a pool to rival any Vegas casino and gaming. (866) 580-7444

Where to Eat

Darrell's for subs and sandwiches. A unique twist on the stereotypical po-boy. 119 W College St, Lake Charles, LA 70605. (337) 474-3651

Mazens's Mediterranean Restaurant. A perfect blend of local flavors with Cajun and Mediterranean style cooking.  217 W College St, Lake Charles, LA 70601. (337) 477-8207

Seafood Palace. The spot to get local flavor complete with crawfish and fried alligator. 2218 Enterprise Blvd, Lake Charles, LA 70601. (337) 433-9293

Ember Grille & Wine Bar. Located inside L'Auberge du lac Casino Resort, you are in for a culinary experience. A modern steakhouse complete with a variety of certified angus, kobe and natural grass fed beef. (337) 395-7565

What Else to Do:

Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail - Named after a popular Cajun sausage, hungry visitors can follow this trail to several stops to taste a little local flavor.

Calcasieu Charter Service.  Create a customized trip complete with fishing, hunting and golf, of course. 210 Bank Street - Big Lake, Lake Carles, LA 70607. (337) 598-4700


Revised: 11/08/2011 - Article Viewed 22,524 Times

About: Deb Patton

Deb Patton Deb Patton is the Women's Contributing Editor for Midwest Golfing Magazine. Her niche is writing unique stories that will help women enjoy the game at a higher level. Deb took up the game in 1992 and now plays to an 18 handicap. In fact, she shot 89 (her first round below 90) in 2008 at Erin Hills. She bested her career round by three strokes multiple times in 2009 and looks forward to breaking the 85 barrier in 2010. Besides golfing, Deb is an avid reader, culinary wiz, and also enjoys traveling.

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