Area courses live up to graphic names

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2002


LAPLACE – April showers are fizzling out through the May heat. Front yards develop that tendency to turn a browner shade of green. Day light continues to stretch past the seven o’clock hour and golfers are finding it easier to reserve time for a few holes of golf.

With the abundance of manicured greens and courses to chose from in the immediate vicinity, both local and visiting golfers are wheeling their clubs to River Parish golf courses. This movement is not a fluke either, especially considering the location. A straight shot down Airline Highway or Interstate 10 from the airport and nestled between two tourist cities Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

A few area hotels offer discount coupons toward green fees, as do hotels near the airport, helping travelers spend their extra time on the fairways instead of near the runways.

The charisma of Louisiana does not stop at the clubhouse either, the courses stand out from other treks across 18 holes by the actually appealing water hazards and bordering scenery.

Other golf courses may be home to ducks, geese and squirrels, but when indigenous alligators, and blue heron are added to the mix, trips to Louisiana golf courses tend to become a little spicier.

Living up to almost any spun story, five local courses provide challenging venus with the added Louisiana flare. As well as pleasing the senses, the courses’ green fees range from about $30-$55 per player.

Along the appropriately named Fairway drive in LaPlace, Belle Terre Country Club boasts a Peter Dye course design. Famous in the golf community, Dye laid out such well know courses as the TPC at Sawgrass-Stadium course in Ponte Vedra, Fla., The Teeth of the Dog course at Caso de Campo in the Dominican Republic and the PGA West-Stadium course in La Quinta, Calif.

His finesse for keeping the course’s location a top priority in its design is exhibited across the par 72, 18-hole course which slips through swampy areas and cypress trees. The public/semi-private club opened its tees in 1977, and depending on which of the four sets of tees used throughout the game, it covers between 6,840 yards and 5,510 yards. The USGA rates the course slightly more difficult than average (113) at a 130, with the average par hovering at 72.2.

Within blocks of Belle Terre on Fairway drive is Riverlands Country Club.

Although a private club, Riverlands has an open guest policy which allows a member to bring as many fellow golfers as desired.

The 18-hole course opened in 1964 and is a par 72. From the back tees, the course stretches to 6,727 yards, while driving from the front tees shortens the course to 5,776 yards. Rated at a 112 from the back tees, Riverlands’ difficulty level is right at average.

On the west bank side of the Mississippi River sits the public/semi-private Willowdale Country Club on Willowdale Boulevard by Highway 90 in Luling. Set behind a forest of trees and swamp life, Willowdale offers 18 holes for a par 72. Opened in 1968, the course stretches from 5,528 yards on the front tees, to 6,656 on the back tees.

The course is rated slightly harder than average at 118, with a 70.5 par rating.

A little farther west rests the Fashion Country Club course on Court House lane in Hahnville. The course opened in 1962 and consists of 9 holes, for a par of 36. From the back tees, Fashion is 3,219 yards, from the front tees 2,771 yards. The USGA rated the course a 70 and it also has an open guest policy.

Almost directly across the river from Fashion lies the Ormond Country Club course on Villere drive in Destrehan. Set in between River Road, Interstate 310 and Airline Highway, the private club is easily accessible to take advantage of its reciprocal guest policy. Ormond opened its gates in 1979 and features 18 holes and a par 72.

The USGA rated the course more difficult than average at 124, with a par rating of 72.5. The back tees spread the course to 6,650 yards, while the front tees bring it to 5,436 yards.