Review and Rating of Lakewood Golf Club – New Orleans
Lakewood Golf Club opened in 1961 and was home to 26 New Orleans Open tournaments with some of the winners including: Arnold Palmer, Lanny Watkins, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, and several other golf legends. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina ravaged Lakewood destroying over 2500 trees and doing significant damage to the course. The New Orleans Firefighters Pension Fund purchased the course and made a commitment to bring life back to Lakewood. Ron Garl was hired to renovate the historic grounds and to build a modern layout that gave golfers a challenging yet user friendly design. And in 2009 the "Rebirth of a Legend" reopened for play.
Lakewood Golf Club was a joy to play and from our perspective some of what makes this a great course and a must play include:
- it is a layout that is not going to beat you up but is going to offer you a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable round of golf – the fairways are wide, the greens are huge, and there are several bail out areas
- the conditions from tee to pin are very good and the course is well maintained and manicured and landscaped with a variety of colorful plants
- thanks to some huge, steep and deep, and multi-fingered bunkers plus water on 14 holes and a thick rough, Lakewood Golf Club can be demanding
- you'll encounter a lot that makes this course fun (and challenging) like demanding greens, forced carries, a couple excellent risk reward opportunities, dog legs, and strategically placed bunkers
- the wood carvings on trees damaged by Katrina are beautiful (see this page to view some of them) and the shape of some of the bunkers are very interesting
In addition to all of the above, Lakewood Golf Club is home to some great holes like:
- #7 is a fun 411 yard par 4 with a huge waste bunker on the right in front of the tee box, a fairway that turns a little to the right, and a green guarded by a multi-fingered bunker and a lake on the left
- #12 requires an accurate shot off the tee to avoid the lake on the right and not overrun the fairway that goes right plus you'll need a good approach shot over a natural brush area and lake that cross the fairway about 100 yards in front of the green
- #14 is a 385 yard dog leg right that offers a great risk reward shot to shorten the hole if you think you can carry some very tall trees and avoid two bunkers on the other side of them
- #17 is a short 160 yard carry over a pond that surrounds three quarters of what is close to an island green
When we played in October, the fairways were in very good condition and the rough was also in great shape and thick – making for a tough recovery shot. The fairways are flat and cut thin giving you some great roll and off the tee they are wide and forgiving. Most have some trees that you might land under if you spray the ball (if you really spray it you'll be in another fairway) but you'll usually have an easy recovery shot to get back to the fairway. Some nice homes line one side of three holes.
The greens at Lakewood Golf Club are huge, slightly raised, and have some combination of slope, contour, ridges, swales, or tiers. They were fast at 10 to 11, ran true, and held the ball well. Most are guarded by some combination of water or bunkers.
The bunkers are treacherous – they range from steep and deep pot bunkers to long and wide waste bunkers, to multi-fingered monsters. In fact, several of the bunkers are designed in the shape of flames with long skinny flames spreading out from the body of the bunker – these flame bunkers are a tribute to the New Orleans firefighters. Land in one of the long skinny fingers and you'll get burned bad – very difficult to get out of!
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Service is good and friendly, the pace of play was good when we played, the pro shop has the basics, and the grill has breakfast and lunch items. The practice facilities are excellent.