5 Reasons Your Next Golf Trip Should Be To Lake Charles, LA
By Brian Weis
For golfers searching for a getaway destination to "recharge the batteries," there are five good reasons why they should look no further than Lake Charles, Louisiana (www.visitlakecharles.org). Located in the southwest part of "Sportsman's Paradise," Lake Charles is conveniently just off I-10, just two hours east of Houston and three hours west of New Orleans. Lake Charles is also accessible via air as both United Airlines and American Airlines fly into Lake Charles (airport code: LCH).
"Southwest Louisiana is a resort destination where you can truly get away, relax, play some golf by day, and be entertained at night by the casino action," says Megan Hartman, senior marketing manager, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Lake Charles has several award-winning golf courses all within 20 minutes from the center of town set near beautiful bayous that are great to experience year round at affordable prices."
Those five reasons why golfers should visit Lake Charles are weather, accommodations, food, fun/entertainment, and golf!
The gorgeous weather makes golf a year-round attraction in Lake Charles, where the average high temperatures in the summer are in the high 80s, while the average daily high temperatures in the winter are in the upper 50s. An ideal time to visit Lake Charles might well be in the spring and fall, but frankly, any day in Lake Charles is a great day to go seeking birdies and avoiding bogeys in the bayou.
An ideal location in Lake Charles to 'hang your hat' is the Golden Nugget Lake Charles (www.goldennugget.com/lakecharles). This resort is on a priceless piece of property - perched along the Contraband Bayou. The rooms at the Golden Nugget are plush and spacious; the beds are comfortable; the bathrooms are luxurious; and the views to the south across the Contraband Bayou are spectacular.
When you arrive in Lake Charles, come with an appetite and a willingness to try something different. In many respects, Lake Charles is like New Orleans 'West.' There's no excuse to go hungry in Lake Charles. It might be fair to say that every meal in Lake Charles is the most important meal of the day. The list of tasty treats ranges from fresh beignets (with raspberry and/or chocolate sauce), a Louisiana seafood omelet, and buttermilk pancakes foster for breakfast at Favorites Southern Kitchen (at the L'Auberge Casino Resort) to the Darrell's Special (ham, turkey, and roast beef drenched with roast beef gravy topped with three melting cheeses) from Darrell's in Lake Charles for lunch to the series of Cajun/Creole dishes which are 'infused' with a French flavor for dinner at the 1910 Restaurant and Wine Bar in downtown Lake Charles. Oh, and don't forget the blue crabs, boudin balls, gumbo, and seafood-filled pistolettes at the Seafood Palace in Lake Charles for lunch or dinner.
If you stay at the Golden Nugget, the diversity of restaurants to enjoy is so great that you won't have to eat the same thing twice, unless you choose to do so. Then, again, can you ever eat enough beignets for breakfast or seafood gumbo at lunch or dinner? Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse; Landry's Seafood House; Lillie's (for noodles, Asian cuisine, sushi); Cadillac Mexican Kitchen; Saltgrass Steak House; Grotto; and Claim Jumper are the main restaurant options at the Golden Nugget. If you have a big appetite or if you have a large family to feed, the ideal dining destination would be The Buffet, which has an all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Buffet has your favorite coastal cuisine plus carving, saute, and Italian stations. When it comes to a spur-of-the-moment dessert, The Chocolate Box is a great option, where you can find gourmet handmade truffles and chocolates from around the world.
There is so much to do at the Golden Nugget, which just opened in December of last year (2014), that you don't really need to drive your car again until you head home, unless you are searching for another golf course to play or a local restaurant.
At the Golden Nugget, the pool complex - the H2O Pool & Bar -- is lavish and irresistible. You have to see it to believe it. And, once you step foot in the water, you won't ever want to leave. And, there are also two flume rides and the 'lazy' river which are major attractions at the pool. Those are the pool's major family friendly hangouts. And, the pool complex features an awesome wet bar; multiple 'islands' in the pool called daybeds; and a state-of-the-art concert stage which features 'live' musical performances at various times of the year. Imagine swimming to the wet bar, ordering your favorite beverage, charging it to your room, and then floating along the 'lazy river' while listening to the music of a popular band. That's the epitome of relaxation. The pool area contains 250 chaise lounge chairs, 34 private cabanas, six fire pits, and a few hot tubs. Simply put, at the Golden Nugget, the pool is cool!
It's important to note that the Golden Nugget Spa & Salon is adjacent to the H2O Pool & Bar, which is convenient if you need a massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial. At the Spa, you can also find a sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a fitness/workout room which contains state-of-the-art Cybex cardiovascular and weight equipment. Three of the favorite experiences at the Spa are the Sea Salt Honey-Pumpkin Rub, the Pumpkin Butter Facial, and the Honey Glazed Marshmallow Melt Pedicure. The Spa caters to women and men. For guys, the Men's Sport Pedicure is great. Ask for the therapeutic services of Chevy.
If you like to play gambling games such as blackjack, craps, poker, roulette, or the slot machines, the casino at the Golden Nugget is at your service. What's unique about the Golden Nugget casino is its location in the resort. As a guest at the resort, you don't have to walk from the casino to go from the lobby to your hotel room. If the casino is of interest to you, it's there to enjoy. If not, you can walk by it and you don't have to walk through it.
No resort is complete without a beach and the Golden Nugget is no exception. It's open for business by day and night. After sunrise, sand enthusiasts come to the beach to sun bathe, play beach volleyball, and stroll along the waters of the Contraband Bayou. After sunset, the fire pits on the beach are lit which attract hotel guests looking for a place to wind down after a busy day at the resort. The Cadillac Beach Bar & Grille caters to those in search of a drink or a bite to eat.
The Golden Nugget also caters to tennis players, as there are two modern hard courts which are located in a quiet, peaceful part of the property. The courts are in great condition and are tree-lined, which adds to the serenity of the tennis experience.
For children who are looking for more to do after spending hours on the beach, in the pool, and on the tennis courts, there's the Arcade at the Golden Nugget. It is a state-of-the-art amusement center with classic games from the past as well as today's modern electronic/video game attractions.
At night, the 2,000-seat Grand Event Center at the Golden Nugget is consistently hosting top-flight entertainers. This fall, performers such as Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, Boz Skaggs, Trace Adkins, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Natalie Cole will be performing. And, Three Dog Night will kick off 2016 with a performance on New Year's Day.
Some of the great amenities in Lake Charles are its golf courses. Five of them are worth your time, sweat, and money: Gray Plantation Golf Course, The National Golf Club of Louisiana, Mallard Cove Golf Course, Contraband Bayou Golf Club at L'Auberge, and The Country Club at The Golden Nugget. Contraband Bayou and The Country Club are adjacent to one another which is convenient if you are staying at the Golden Nugget or next door at the L'Auberge Casino Resort.
Each course is in a class by itself and is fun to play. All five courses are as appealing to the scratch golfer as they will be to the weekend warrior.
At Plantation, the view of the plantation-style clubhouse from the 18th tee caps off an experience that is filled with as many sight-seeing opportunities as there are shot-making opportunities. Plantation is impressive, especially its four par threes, two of which have island greens. The swirling winds make the green of the par three 6th as difficult to hit as the green at Augusta National's 12th hole.
At the National Golf Club, which opened in 2009, it features generous landing areas off the tee. The National's rolling terrain and over-sized greens give golfers many different shots during any given round. If you pay attention to pin positions with your approach shots, it's possible to get up & down for par more often than not.
At Mallard Cove, it's a favorite of the locals and is the site of the annual Lake Charles City Championships. The 18th hole at Mallard Cove is one of the most unique finishing holes in golf as it has multiple options from the tee. The key to success at the 18th hole is to avoid the water at all costs with your tee shot. There are three routes to take off the 18th tee.
The Contraband Bayou Golf Club is a Tom Fazio design and the only public Fazio course in Louisiana. In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Golfweek named this course as one of the "Best Places to Play in Louisiana." That is a well-earned endorsement. Eight spectacular lakes are found on this course. When you record a subpar score on any hole at Contraband, you can say that you recorded a birdie in the bayou. The Signature Hole is the par three 8th. It's a visual masterpiece and fun to play, as is the par five 9th.
The Country Club at the Golden Nugget is located on the edge of Contraband Bayou. It is well-designed, well-maintained, and very appealing to the eye. The greens are fair, fast, and consistent. Since it is on the banks of the bayou, there's always an issue with the wind at The Country Club. There are many waste bunkers on the course that stop errant shots from disappearing from play. While standing on the par five 18th tee, the view of the Golden Nugget in the distance is imposing, which means you are not far from another visit to the H2O Pool & Bar.
So, are you ready to start packing your bags for your trip to Lake Charles where you can 'recharge the batteries?' Of course, make sure that your golf clubs are the first thing that you pack.
Revised: 10/13/2015 - Article Viewed 20,048 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler