Course Name: Grand Ridge Golf Club
Designer: Everett Alleman (1968)
Location: Luling, Louisiana
History: Formerly known as Willowdale Country Club until 2010, this Everett Alleman course was purchased by investors in 2011 who turned it into the semi-private Grand Ridge.
Conditions: 3/10, this course was virtually unplayable both times I played it. The greens are bumpy and slow and nothing like the fast practice green. Tee boxes are torn up and the course was a swamp. Hitting out of fairway (assuming you found your ball amongst the leaves and random ditches) was like hitting out of the bunker, as the ground gave as soon as your club hit the dirt.
Value: 6/10, we found a great deal online for under $20 with a cart, but going to the course will cost you more.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 72 6853 72.2 135
White 72 6368 71.1 133
Gold 72 5938 69.1 129
Red 72 5517 72.6 127
Hole Descriptions: While most of these holes are straightforward, they are incredibly narrow, with houses on both sides. At 433 yards, the opening hole is a narrow par 4 that features OB on the left and a water hazard on the right about 260 yards from the teebox. This long thin green is flanked by a bunker on the right. The 2nd hole is the first of several very poor par five designs. This 518 yard par 5 is essentially straightaway, extremely narrow hole with a gigantic tree in the middle of the fairway 240 yards from the tee. This tree has no business being here and makes an already narrow hole even more occluded. I don’t know the ruling for drainage ditches, but many of the holes at Grand Ridge have them running across the fairway, like the 427 yard 3rd. After a boring par 3 and 4, the 6th hole is the best par 3 on the course as a 120 yard carry over a small pond. Unfortunately, this hole is followed by an truly abominable hole: a dogleg right par 5 whose fairway bends at about a 75 degree angle 250 yards off the tee. What’s found at the center of the fairway at the dogleg? If you guessed a gigantic tree, you’d be correct. At 382 yards, the challenging 8th hole is my favorite par 4 on the course. OB left in the form of houses and two water hazards on the right make you a bit claustrophobic on the tee. The finishing hole on the front is a gentle dogleg left that plays 384 yards with two water hazards lining the right fairway.
Aligned directly parallel to the 1st hole, the straightaway 408 yard 10th hole is essentially the same hole as a narrow par 4 lined with trees on both sides of the fairway. You cross the street to get to the 11th hole, another foolish par 4 with a tree directly in the middle of the fairway. From this point on, you now are on the “Grand Ridge.” This ridge lines the left side of the next 4 holes, and is incredibly deep and rugged. Looking for a ball in the Ridge is begging for a snakebite. The 12th hole is the longest par 3 on the course at 216 yards. A tree blocks out the left side of the green, but may save balls from entering the Ridge. Hole 13 is another uninspiring par 5 with a tree once again in the middle of the fairway 220 yards from the tee. The 14th is a par 3 that requires a carry over water that would be pretty good with better conditions and no backhoe in the background. You heard that right: there are construction vehicles in the back. The 538 yard 15th is their signature hole, a dogleg left par 5 requiring a drive over water. After crossing back over the road, the 16th is one of the stronger par 4’s on the course at 425 yards. This hole gently slides left and features trees on both sides of the fairway. At 389 yards, the 17th hole is another dogleg left guarded by trees on both sides. The approach shot to this back-to-front sloping green is over a small pond. The finishing hole at Grand Ridge is a forgetful 385 yard uphill par 4 lined by trees on both sides.
Best Par 3: 6th hole, 120 yards, 17th handicap. Considering two of the other par 3’s have trees blocking out a portion of the green and the third has a backhoe in the background, this hole didn’t have much competition. This short hole requires a carry over water to a heavily back-to-front sloped green and is one of the more memorable holes on the course.
Best Par 4: 8th hole, 382 yards, 5th handicap. One of the most memorable holes at Grand Ridge, this difficult straightaway par 4 features houses all down the left side and two water hazards on the right side. About 100 yards before this narrow green, the fairway ends and you must carry a pond the rest of the way. Par is a strong score here.
Best Par 5: 15th hole, 538 yards, 6th handicap. The other three par 5’s are honestly horrendous designs, but this hole stands out as at least tolerable. This challenging dogleg left requires a carry of 125 yards over a pond to a tight fairway. Unfortunately, a tree on the left side of this fairway makes par fives at Grand Ridge 4/4 with trees in the middle of fairways.
General Comments: The pace of play was generally good when I played. The range was poorly maintained as was the clubhouse. There was also a pool in front that had not been chlorinated in forever and looked like it could be ground zero for Zika virus. The conditions and layout were poor.
Verdict: Quite frankly, Grand Ridge is not worth the drive from New Orleans. While affordable, this course was in terrible shape when I played, and overall not a fun experience. There are plenty of other courses in the area with similar prices and better conditions.