Pete Dye designed the top-rated public-access golf courses in several states, with famed layouts such as TPC Sawgrass’s Players Stadium Course in Florida, Kiawah Golf Resort’s Ocean Course in South Carolina and Whistling Straits’ Straits in Wisconsin among the best of those.
Add Louisiana to that list of Dye’s accomplishments, with TPC Louisiana the top-ranked public-access course in the Pelican State based on Golfweek’s Best 2020 ratings.
Golfweek ranks courses by compiling the average ratings – on a points basis of 1 to 10 – of its more than 750 raters to create several industry-leading lists of courses. That includes the popular Best Courses You Can Play list for courses that allow non-member tee times. These generally are defined as layouts accessible to resort guests or regular daily-fee players.
TPC Louisiana in Avondale, just a short hop from New Orleans, is tops on that 2020 list in Louisiana. Dye combined with PGA TOUR players Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson, a native of New Orleans, to open the course in 2004. The layout, built through wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta, has been the site of the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans since 2005.
TPC Louisiana underwent a $2 million enhancement project in 2019 intended in large part to provide better playing conditions for the PGA Tour professionals as well as daily-fee guests. The changes included re-grassing all the greens with TifEagle Bermuda, changing the fairways to Celebration Bermuda and renovating all the pot bunkers to their original size. The greens at Nos. 2 and 14 had minor reshaping to allow for more hole locations during the Tour event.
The Country Club at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles in the southwest corner of the state upped the state’s golf game when it opened in 2015. Designed by Todd Eckenrode, the Golden Nugget was the No. 2 public-access layout in 2020 in Louisiana.
Carter Plantation in Springfield, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, was No. 3 on the 2020 Louisiana list, followed by No. 4 English Turn in New Orleans and No. 5 National Golf Club of Louisiana in Westlake.
Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in Louisiana
1. TPC Louisiana
2. Country Club at the Golden Nugget
Lake Charles (m)
3. Carter Plantation
4. English Turn
New Orleans (m)
5. *National GC of Louisiana
Golfweek’s Best Private Courses in Louisiana
1. Squire Creek
2. Baton Rouge CC
Baton Rouge (c)
3. CC of Louisiana
Baton Rouge (m)
4. New Orleans CC
New Orleans (c)
*New to the list in 2020
(m): modern; (c): classic
Golfweek’s Best 2020: Top 50 Casino Courses
The rankings below reflect where these courses fall among the top 50 Casino Courses in the United States.
47.* Contraband Bayou GC at L’Auberge, 5.30
Lake Charles, La.; Tom Fazio; 2003
*New to or rejoins the list
How we rate them
The members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged together to produce a final rating for each course. Then each course is ranked against other courses in its state, or nationally, to produce the final rankings.