Think Harbour Town Golf Links. Think Kiawah's Ocean course. Think TPC at Sawgrass. That's the trilogy of Pete Dye's heralded tracks that he has channeled into the TPC of Louisiana at Fairfield, a sensationally conceived, low-profile layout whose crafty design is an architectural ode to swampy southern Louisiana—albeit one without railroad ties or island greens.
When this daily-fee course opens in April—a mere fifteen minutes southwest of New Orleans's French Quarter—its presence will single-handedly elevate the stature of Crescent City golf. And at a cost of thirty million dollars, it should. Granted, three million of those dollars were spent on constructing a state-of-the-art drainage system, designed to control the lowland's water table on this 250-acre site and handle the deluge of southern Louisiana's fierce thunderstorms. But the rest went to manufacturing the secluded layout, which is bordered by canals, crafted to mirror the characteristics of the below-sea-level land, and lined with stately oaks, tupelo gums and towering cypress trees.
How good is the result?The TPC of Louisiana is already slated to host the area's PGA Tour stop in 2005.
Indeed, Dye is up to his usual tricks of illusion and deception on this par seventy-two, filling out the layout with freaky little undulations to direct shots hither and yon. He's also up to some serious length; from the tips, the course stretches to a mammoth 7,519 yards and features two par fours of almost 500 yards each and two 580-yard par fives that will put all the game's technological advances to the test. But not to worry: Four sets of tees will accommodate those who don't have a driver that carries 280 yards in their bags. Avoiding the six man-made lakes and more than thirteen acres of stern, pointy-faced bunkers—many in the form of devilish potholes requiring sideways escapes—is something different altogether.
Indeed, the bunkering here should prove harder to escape than a New Orleans jail, and that seems to be what pleases Dye the most. "It wouldn't be a golf course of mine if some players won't scream and yell about it," Dye told T+L GOLF, laughing. "But that's the idea. As an architect, you want to get into a player's head."
As usual, mission accomplished.
Greens Fees: $140-$155. Tee Times: 866-665-2872 or visit tpc.com.