About 30 minutes south of New Orleans International Airport is a gem of a course that may not get its full due, but I think that could change in the near future. The first thing I thought when I looked at the course map of La Tour Golf Club is that I was going to need an extra sleeve or two of golf balls. With water seemingly in play on all but 2 holes, fortunately while it is there it is not staring you in the face on every shot but definitely is there for errant shots.
One of five designs or renovations attributed to David Toms, Louisiana native and former LSU Tiger, I was interested to see how he put his stamp on La Tour Golf Club, the only course he built from the ground up. What stood out to me was a great variety of golf holes and shots demanded and greens that rolled very fast and true, especially considering we were playing in late October and not prime season. I used every club in my bag and when you factor in the wind condition holes with similar yardages played dramatically different into and down wind. The Par 3’s are what really stood out to me with two requiring forced carry over water and two framed uniquely with bunkers and hills. The Par 3, 4th has a slightly elevated tee to a green protected by water short and bunkers short and long that make par very tough. The back left pin we faced was well protected by a steep slope short of the hole making anything right of the pin a challenge to two-putt. The Par-3, 8th hole had water but not really in play. The challenge here was judging the distance as a bunker left of the green looked further than it was. Add to that a challenging green complex with some subtle but frustrating slopes and another tough pin, just on the edge of the front slope, equaled a three-putt from just 20 feet. The front nine’s finishing hole was a strong challenge for us with wind into us and from the left, the 426 yards played more like 450 and hitting hybrid into an elevated green with deep bunkers was no cake walk. Bogie was a blessing and the 19th hole was a welcome sight after the bogie, bogie finish.
The back nine again required approach shots with short, mid and long irons but the Par 3’s provide two different shots. The Par 3, 14th is almost an island green with plenty of room short but with wind directly in the face, the 176 yards was playing about 200. Miss the green short left as I did, the front right pin made a pitch shot nearly impossible so I putted, which would have been the right play had I executed better. The Par 3, 17th was the most unique of the one shot holes, inspired by the famous Postage Stamp hole from Royal Troon. A slightly elevated tee to a very narrow and deep green with bunkers left and right and a huge slope left that can either bound balls back to the green or deep into the native areas. Only 140 yards and dead down-wind for us, it should have been easy but we managed to walk off with two bogeys after missing the green and failing to get up and down on either par attempt. Well when I said that the 9th hole was a tough way to finish the front nine, I had not yet looked at the Par 5, 18th on the scorecard yet. Playing 546 from our tees but this time the wind was directly in our faces and water down the entire left side of the hole. Staying out to the right with our tee balls took a lot of distance off and the layup was tougher than we thought. Needing over 200 yards to clear a fairway bunker 150 yards short of the green, 3-wood just was not enough in the wind and now we both had, arguably, the toughest shots we faced all day. Luckily the 19th hole gave me the ability to pull off a very satisfying 5 iron out of the bunker and to the back of the green and a lucky 1-putt finished the round in style with a hard fought birdie.
La Tour provided playability but a stern challenge to golfers of all abilities, with tee boxes stretching from 5,600 yards to over 7,100. Generous landing areas and occasionally tough green complexes, makes La Tour an experience that will be different every time you play. Anytime greens roll as fast and as true as these did it makes for an enjoyable round and I would recommend La Tour to anyone heading to the New Orleans Area for a golf getaway.
For more information visit www.latourgolfclub.com.