The New Orleans area is rich with history and tradition. We know all about the French Quarter, Mardi Gras, The Sugar Bowl and numerous Superbowls, but there is also a long history of golf, including a very popular stop annually on the PGA Tour schedule. The region also offers a lot of public golf options for locals and the millions of visitors each year.
One of the options, pretty close to downtown is Stonebridge Golf Club. Just about 15 minutes from downtown, Stonebridge offers a challenging but fair 18-hole layout with a bonus 9 for settling those carryover bets. Water comes into play on nearly all 18 holes of the championship layout and it can sneak up on you at times if you are not paying attention. The greens are smooth and role true and can get nice and fast as they dry out during the Fall season. Their claim of seeing the local reptiles also came to pass before we even got to the range. A small gator swam right across the lake in front of the clubhouse and perched up on the 18th fairway for at least the 6 hours we spent on property.
The first hole is no gimme. A long par-5, with water down the right side, and the fenced off canal down the right. Two off the first might be a good option if you don’t have time to warm up at the range. If you navigate the tee shot the 2nd shot is much easier and should leave you a short pitch into the medium sized green. Keeping your approach shots below the hole is crucial, not just on the 1st but throughout the round.
Then you get to the par-4, 4th hole, probably the most visually intimidating tee shot of the day. On the left side you have the intra-coastal waterway and no rough to stop your ball from rolling down the steep slope if you tug it a bit. The right side is protected by OB. Our foursome hit 9 tee balls combined and let’s just say, most of them were not found. When double bogey wins the hole, something got into your head on the tee.
My favorite hole of the front was #9. A reachable par-5 with a generous landing zone for your tee shot but a well-protected green with bunkers guarding short and left of the green and water that comes into play down the right about 50 yards short of the green add a level of difficulty to the layup or attempt to go for it. Depending on the wind and the pin placement it could be one of the easier or tougher birdies or pars this nine.
The tenth hole gives you another look at our friend ‘the gator’, but with a pretty wide open fairway, the green provides the real challenge with a severe, two foot slope dividing the back left portion of the green from the rest. Get it on the wrong level and par will be a great score.
Hole #17 is a terrific penultimate hole for a match. A mid-length par-4 with a slight dog leg left so any tee ball to the right can make for a long approach. Huge fairway bunkers guard the left side of the fairway and the dogleg so choose your line carefully. The green is well guarded and mostly hidden from view and with water right of the green, your distance control has to be perfect to have a chance at birdie or even a two putt par.
The best part after completing the 18th hole was the opportunity to keep the round going with the Par-33, executive 9. A nice combination of short and long holes, the presence of water is still very prevalent throughout and the finishing two holes are a lot of fun. The par-5, 26th hole is only reachable on downwind days but can be a tricky approach and of course the canal challenging 27th hole forces you to suck it up and hit a shot completely over the canal.
Stonebridge is a terrific option if you are staying downtown when you visit the Big Easy. The greens roll true and the course is in great shape. It is a great match play layout with risk reward throughout.
To learn more visit www.stonebridgegolfofno.com.