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Great golf in Cajun Country

Lake Charles, Louisiana sits with the ocean, the lake and some rivers running through the area. The golf results are picturesque holes with an abundance of foliage, unique topography and coastal wildlife. While battered by a coastal storm two years ago, the golf courses used this as an opportunity to improve holes, upgrade the clubhouses, and in some cases build new courses. Here are some impressive golf holes all within 20 minutes of the city center.

Mallard Golf Club #1

Brand new, the Mallard Golf Club sports a notable course and a spacious club house. The holes run through wetlands and marshes, so expect sand, water, and wildlife. Number One, a par 4, is emblematic of the course as you negotiate hills and sand with both your tee shot and approach shot. The tee shot requires length and placement, while the second shot goes to an elevated green that is sloped on all four sides.

Contraband Bayou #18

A relatively short par four at 421 yards, yet length is not the challenge on this hole. Water and bunkers run down the entire left side. The right side has the rough down a bit from the cart path to the fairway. Two precise shots will get you on the green. While the green is elevated, it is pretty mild to negotiate putting for a par once you get there even if you have never played the course before. The Contraband Bayou is part of the L’auberge Casino Resort, so if staying there you can walk to the pro shop.

The National Golf Club of Louisiana #7

The course has a significant upgrade over the last two years with both bunkers and a dazzling new clubhouse featuring The Max restaurant/sports bar. The golf is stellar, with tree lined fairways, bayou water features and bunkers guarding the green. This 458-yard par four will test you tee shot with a narrow landing area, then an elevated green with enough sand for a beach vacation.

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Golden Nugget #9

This par 4 looks tame, but the tee shot has plenty of not so nice options with the sand, wetlands, and brush. The view of one of the major waterways and bridge will grab your focus rather than the landing area. The green has a slight upslope and once again the background grabs you attention away from your desired landing area. This hole is typical of the course meandering along water and sand.

Contraband Bayou #8

A 193 yard par three where the view of the landscape and the L’auberge resort will test your concentration. Water on three sides, plus three bunkers. Right is not an optimum bail out as the ball will run back and down. Chips from that side to the green then catch the downward slope to the water. Precise with the tee shot is more than important here.

GoldenNugget #18

This par five has has all the features of a great finishing hole -view of the clubhouse, water, foliage and more. At 592 yards from the tips, this is not a simple tee shot no matter how you choose to play it. Your goal should be to get the mid-iron mark for your third shot to the very fair, yet slightly elevated green.

Neil Wolkodoff

Neil Wolkodoff is a golf and travel writer from Denver, Colorado. He covers golf, dining, activities and accommodations from the luxury and unique perspective. He has even been golfing with goats.

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  1. I’ve never played golf round these parts and it’s good to know that there’s some very interesting courses around. You could tempt me to put my clubs in the car and start driving.

  2. Since I was a teenager I’ve had a real thing for Cajun food. Throwing in some Cajun golf could make for a nice long weekend away.

    1. Yes, you can combine Cajun food and golf in Lake Charles! An endless variety of pairing options.

  3. Funny game golf. The hole that you love today can become your bogey hole tomorrow. A change of wind direction and a green that that runs too fast and suddenly it’s a nightmare.

    1. Yes, but I found it best to play a different course every day in Lake Charles. They were very fair, what you saw was what you got.

  4. A couple of golfing addicts and I have blue-sky thinking dreams of a golfing holiday in the USA. One or two of these courses could sneak into our reckoning.

    Though on a realistic note Cajun golf could be cheaper than travelling across to the West Coast. At the moment the weak pound is scuppering any plan that we put together.

    1. Alex, you are correct. Lake Charles and surrounding is good stuff and a bit of a bargain compared to the west coast of the USA. And, the food is way more interesting!

  5. About 3 years ago I lost my enthusiasm for golf. I couldn’t get the ball away off the tee without hooking or slicing of topping it.

    I don’t know what it was but something made me read this post and I’m a little tempted. It could be time to get my clubs out of the garage again.

  6. My wife thinks I’m talking rubbish when we go off to play some different courses as I say you get a very different game from playing at home. These courses give a real taste of the local geography and the food too.

    1. That is one nice thing about rotating through local courses, the variations. It’s geography, the topography and then the culture and food of the region. Lake Charles is quite different that what ,most people play no matter where they are from.

  7. A friend of mine who is retired keeps talking about his ambition for next year. He says that he wants to play 100 different courses. Certainly a few hear that he could include in his century. It’s going to take up most of his time but it will certainly be memorable.

    1. It does my game good to play on a different course every now and then, it gives you different challenges. If you play the same course every week there’s a danger that you can become complacent. But I don’t think my game could cope with all the new challenges that 100 courses would present. It would implode!

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