Golf in Lake Charles, LA
Get Ready To Go Play
By Mike May
If you are searching for a vacation or a weekend getaway to 'recharge the batteries,' look no further than Lake Charles, Louisiana in the southwest part of 'Sportsman's Paradise' - located two hours east of Houston, just off I-10. Lake Charles is also accessible via air as both United Airlines and American Airlines fly into Lake Charles (airport code: LCH). An ideal location in Lake Charles to 'hang your hat' is the Golden Nugget Lake Charles - which is perched along the Contraband Bayou. There is so much to do at the Golden Nugget, which just opened in December of last year (2014), that you don't really need to drive your car again until you head home, unless you are searching for another golf course to play or a local restaurant, but more on that later.
At the Golden Nugget, the pool complex - the H2O Pool & Bar -- is lavish and irresistible. You have to see it to believe it. And, once you step foot in the water, you won't ever want to leave. Trust me. I know from experience. And, did I mention the 'lazy river' and two flume rides which are two major attractions at the pool? Those are the pool's two major family friendly hangouts. And, the pool complex features an awesome wet bar; multiple 'islands' in the pool called daybeds; and a state-of-the-art concert stage which features 'live' musical performances at various times of the year. Imagine swimming to the wet bar, ordering your favorite beverage, charging it to your room, and then floating along the 'lazy river' while listening to a top-of-the-line band nearby. That's the epitome of relaxation. The pool area also contains 250 chaise lounge chairs, 34 private cabanas, six fire pits, and a few hot tubs. Simply put, at the Golden Nugget, the pool is cool!
It's important to note that the Golden Nugget Spa & Salon is adjacent to the H2O Pool & Bar, which is convenient if you need a midday massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial. At the Spa, you can also find a sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a fitness/workout room which contains state-of-the-art Cybex cardiovascular and weight equipment. Three of the favorite experiences at the Spa are the Sea Salt Honey-Pumpkin Rub, the Pumpkin Butter Facial, and the Honey Glazed Marshmallow Melt Pedicure. The Spa caters to women and men! For guys, the Men's Sport Pedicure is great. Ask for the therapeutic services of Chevy.
When it comes to 'breaking bread' at the Golden Nugget, there are so many restaurants on site that you are truly spoiled for choice. There's no need to eat the same meal twice, unless you want to do so. Then, again, can you ever eat enough beignets at breakfast or seafood gumbo at lunch or dinner? Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse, Landry's Seafood House, Lillie's, Cadillac Mexican Kitchen, Saltgrass Steak House, Grotto, and Claim Jumper are just a few of the restaurant options. If you have a big appetite or if you have a large family to feed, the ideal dining destination would be The Buffet, which has an all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Buffet has your favorite coastal cuisine plus carving, saute, and Italian stations. When it comes to a spur-of-the-moment dessert, The Chocolate Box is a great option, where you can find gourmet handmade truffles and chocolates from around the world.
No resort is complete without a beach and the Golden Nugget is no exception. It's open for business by day and night. After sunrise, sand enthusiasts come to the beach to sun bathe, play beach volleyball, and stroll along the waters of the Contraband Bayou. After sunset, the fire pits on the beach are lit which attract hotel guests looking for a place to wind down after a busy day at the resort. The Cadillac Beach Bar & Grille caters to those in search of a drink or a bite to eat.
The Golden Nugget also caters to tennis players, as there are two modern hard courts which are located in a quiet, peaceful setting on the property. The courts are in great condition and are tree-lined which adds to the serenity of the tennis experience.
For children who are still looking for more to do after spending hours on the beach, in the pool, and on the tennis courts, there's the Arcade at the Golden Nugget. It is a state-of-the-art amusement center with classic games from the past as well as today's modern electronic/video game attractions.
At night, the 2,000-seat Grand Event Center at the Golden Nugget is consistently hosting top-flight entertainers. This fall, performers such as Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, Boz Skaggs, Trace Adkins, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Natalie Cole were the headliners. And, Three Dog Night will kick off 2016 with a performance on New Year's Day.
Some of the great amenities in Lake Charles are its golf courses. Five of them are worth your time, sweat, and money: Gray Plantation Golf Course, The National Golf Club of Louisiana, Mallard Cove Golf Course, Contraband Bayou Golf Club at L'Auberge, and the Country Club at The Golden Nugget. Contraband Bayou and The Country Club are adjacent to one another which is convenient if you are staying at the Golden Nugget or next door at the L'Auberge Casino Resort.
Each course is in a class by itself and is fun to play. All five courses are as appealing to the scratch golfer as they will be to the weekend warrior.
At Plantation, the view of the plantation-style clubhouse from the 18th tee caps off an experience that is filled with as many sight-seeing opportunities as there are shot-making opportunities. Plantation is impressive, especially its four par threes, two of which have island greens. The swirling winds make the green of the par three 6th as difficult to hit as the green at Augusta National's 12th hole.
At the National Golf Club, which opened in 2009, it features generous landing areas off the tee. Its rolling terrain and over-sized greens give you many different shots during any given round. If you pay attention to pin positions with your approach shots, it's possible to get up & down for par more often than not.
At Mallard Cove, it's a favorite of the locals and is the site of the annual Lake Charles City Championships. The 18th hole at Mallard Cove is one of the most unique finishing holes in golf as it has multiple options from the tee. The key to success at the 18th hole is to avoid the water at all costs with your tee shot. There are three routes to take off the tee.
The Contraband Bayou Golf Club is a Tom Fazio design and the only public Fazio course in Louisiana. In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Golfweek named this course as one of the "Best Places to Play in Louisiana." That is a well-earned endorsement. Eight spectacular lakes are found on this course. When you record a subpar score on any hole at Contraband, you can say that you recorded a birdie in the bayou. The signature hole is the par three 8th. It's a visual masterpiece and fun to play.
The Country Club at the Golden Nugget is located on the edge of Contraband Bayou. It is well-designed, well-maintained, and very appealing to the eye. The greens are fair, fast, and consistent. Since it is on the banks of the bayou, there's always an issue with the wind at The Country Club. There are many waste bunkers on the course that stop errant shots from disappearing from play. While standing on the par five 18th tee, the view of the Golden Nugget in the distance is imposing, which means you are not far from another visit to the H2O Pool & Bar.
Did I mention the Golden Nugget's shopping opportunities, lavishly designed rooms, barber shop, and casino, as well as four great local restaurants -- Favorites Southern Kitchen and the Ember Grille & Wine Bar at L'Auberge Casino Resort.....and The Seafood Palace and the 1910 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lake Charles? That can be the theme of the next story about Lake Charles, but in the meantime, pack your bags and head to Lake Charles, Louisiana where you can 'recharge your batteries.' And, don't forget your golf clubs.
More Information at www.visitlakecharles.org.
Revised: 10/28/2015 - Article Viewed 19,002 Times
Written By: Mike May
Mike May is a Wellington, Florida-based freelance golf and sportswriter, who is also a 25+ year public relations and communications executive in the sporting goods industry. He is also a veteran high school soccer official, an experienced high school basketball coach, an avid athlete, a part-time personal trainer, and a passionate golfer who is forever in pursuit of Old Man Par. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.
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