After scheduling a business trip which forced me to fly into New Orleans with an afternoon arrival in late May, my thoughts immediately turned to finding a golf course to play after I touched down. Not only was TPC Louisiana one of the closest public courses to Louis Armstrong International Airport, it was very highly ranked, so it was an easy decision. Although I had never watched the Zurich Classic on television, I figured I would be very interested in doing so in the future after playing the host course.
I arrived in a rush from the airport and proceeded to make a mess of the front nine; between the heavy amount of caffeine I drank, the adrenaline from rushing to the course, and the fact that I was playing with my old driver, I struggled to keep the ball in play off the tee. It was a hot afternoon with thunderstorms in the area, so the course was empty, and by the time I completed a very ugly first eighteen, there was still an hour or so of daylight left so I decided to play a few more holes. A few more holes turned into completing the back nine again despite a brief downpour, which was great since most of my favorite holes were on that side.
My appreciation for the subtleties of this Pete Dye design is substantial. This piece of land is about as flat and uninspiring as it gets, but Dye created some marvelous holes. Massive waste areas, nasty pot bunkers, and wild green complexes abound. The best holes include #8, a devlish short par four that tempts the player to attack the green with the prevailing wind when the prudent play is to lay back, #11, a reachable par five with a strategically placed tree roughly 100 yards short of the green, #13, another wild short par four with options galore, #16, a medium length par four with the typical Dye misdirection leading to a difficult approach, and #18, a classic long par five finisher along a lake with stadium mounds galore. Dye doesn’t typically finish his courses with a par five – it’s usually a long par four – so it’s a refreshing change from the template.
Having played nearly 20 different Pete Dye layouts, I have to rank this one as one of my favorites given how unique it was. It’s well worth playing if you’re in the New Orleans area.
Played May 29, 2018
Date: October 31, 2018