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Contraband Bayou GC, Lake Charles, Louisiana

When you look at the impressive list of courses designed by the iconic master of golf course construction Tom Fazio, dozens of them are sites or former sites of PGA and LPGA events. I have played a few of them including Sea Island GC, The Fairmont Del Mar and Palmetto Dunes.

It’s highly unlikely the PGA or LPGA tour representatives are going to pick up the phone and inquire about hosting a tournament at the latest Fazio course I visited and played, Contraband Bayou in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This may be alarming at first to suggest Mr. Fazio didn’t build a challenging tough course worthy of hosting a premier event. There are also other obvious key factors to hosting a marquee tournament, but even if those were met Contraband Bayou wouldn’t make the short list or even the long one and am I ever glad. The course could host an event put on by the “Go out with your wife and have a great time tour” or the lesser known “Guys and gals in seek of fun playing golf where you don’t lose 12 balls and wanna break your clubs” tour.

The long and straight opening Par 5 1st hole.

The course is the epitome of relaxing, resort golf and just damn fun to play. Trust me, it’s no slouch when it comes to quality, pace of play and awesome holes. To coin a millennial saying Golf Operations Manager, Scott Davey, was completely “chill” getting us on the course. Based on his email back to me a few days earlier we showed up Thursday morning about 10 am and within 45 minutes were poised to tee off. As we were staying at the adjacent L’Auberge Casino and Resort Hotel, it was less than one minute from the hotel to the clubhouse. As you can see in a number of the photos we took, the L’Auberge looms over the course creating an impressive back drop and at times an effective aiming point.

The beautiful view towards the Par 4 2nd green.

The course has a great driving range and practice green close by and a very well laid out and stylish pro shop. The access to everything you need to warm up and also improve your look is very convenient for the golfer. Looking down the fairway at the green on the Par 5 – 1st some 600 yards away didn’t have my knees a knocking as the Fazio design team has provided some of the widest landing areas of all the courses we have played on this trip and all the previous ones. The course is basically flat and really relaxing to play. The greens won’t win any awards for speed, but they will for consistency. All 18 were in great shape and void of anything ridiculously undulating.

Looking green ward from the very wide landing area on the Par 4 7th

Myra’s latest craze is to play match play; one I never object to as I lived in the UK for 6 years where it’s commonly done.  It’s a very rewarding way to create some healthy competition between players of different skill levels. It’s also apparently the way Myra is going to obtain dinners and desserts. For the second round in a row, she hoisted the winning trophy or in this case the winning chocolate brownie.

The par 3 8th is a phenomenal hole in many ways.

The turning point in the match being the Par 5 9th when after bombing my longest drive of the day, I opted to go for the front of the green hitting driver again. Although I nailed it “off the rug” beautifully it meant I left myself with my least favorite of all shots; the 50-yard half shot over 2 bunkers to an elevated green. Well, I guess Mr. Fazio didn’t make this hole that easy.  Myra won the hole and I went 4 down instead of 2 and on the 14th green I was done like dinner.   

From 200 yards into the wind I get all of this 3 hybrid to 15 feet on 16.

The course with its wide open spacious feel is lined with beautiful trees, an abundance of ponds and lakes home to egrets, herons and, yes, gators, as well as nicely shaped bunkers.  It is the perfect setting for a stress-free ego boosting round. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a boring course, there are a number of really great holes, just check out the pictures.    

Stay away from the water left when attacking the flag on the 18th.

Even following a group of 16, who teed off ahead of us, the round was basically right on 4 hours in duration. After extending a warm thank you we jumped in the SUV and almost immediately the clouds that loomed over us on the back nine opened up dousing the windshield. If you desire great gumbo, great grits and great golf head to Lake Charles and a day at Contraband Bayou golf course.

Tee times 337 395 7220 www.mylauberge.com

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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra up and down the west coast of the US playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles.

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