with so many other aspects of life in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina totally
reconfigured the picture. City Park's golf courses were largely shattered.
Irrigation, piping, electrical and sanitation facilities were all destroyed by
the floodwaters of Katrina. Out of state contractors hacked up several of the
golf courses oak trees and the courses were left with large gouges and craters
where heavy equipment had settled.
of this mess, the Bayou District Foundation leadership saw an opportunity. What
if City Park could combine a portion its disaster relief funds with private
dollars provided by Bayou District Foundation and create a world class public
golf facility? This would solve the financing problem that vexed earlier
efforts to improve golf in the park using only private funding and would
advance golf in the Park far above what could have been done exclusively with
existing FEMA funds (which by rule can only be used to restore golf in the
park to pre storm conditions.)
extensive public discussion, Rees Jones, who has designed 18 U.S. Open golf
courses, as well as the redesign/facelift of two of the most famous public golf
facilities in the United States (Bethpage State Park in New York and Torrey
Pines in San Diego CA) was retained by City Park to design a Bethpage-style
makeover of the East and West Courses at City Park. Rees Jones and his Chief
Designer, Greg Muirhead, took the job and have designed a golf course that will
be among the finest public facilities in the nation.
design team has created a golf course that will embrace City Park's most
recognized and cherished qualities by preserving the gorgeous live oaks and the
natural bayous and lagoons that flow in and through the park. The new golf facility includes a new 18 hole
course, a refurbished driving range, maintenance facility, new cart paths and a
full service clubhouse. The 18 hole course will measure 7400 yards from the back
tees but will feature multiple tees and generous fairways to accommodate
golfers of all skill levels. The driving range will have space for learning and
junior golf so that that beginners and juniors can learn how to play the game
properly and safely. The clubhouse will be consistent with the park's existing
architecture and will be designed to be a functional and efficient space.
North Course at City Park will remain open throughout construction.
new golf plan dramatically shrinks the footprint of golf in the park (pre
Katrina City Park golf had 4 golf courses over 960 acres, the new golf course plus the North course is roughly 400 acres) and is designed to
enhance the natural spaces in the park, most notably Couturier forest and the
lagoons. The golf plan also should assist in drainage as the lagoons and bayous
may be pumped down in advance of approaching storms. This should also help
drainage efforts in Mid City, Gentilly, Lake Vista, Lakeview and the Navarre neighborhoods.
this respect City Park golf represents a new dynamic in effective hazard
mitigation and storm water management. Lagoons and bayous will serve as an
integral part of the design and challenge of the golf facility but will also
serve to drain the golf course in a way that is environmentally sensitive.
District Foundation believes that golf can offer kids a unique sport for
understanding what the game teaches: responsibility, respect and integrity.
Using golf as an organizing theme, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods
in the Bayou District will be encouraged to use Park facilities to teach kids
the game of golf. There will also be
dedicated programming to provide economically disadvantaged kids with special
opportunities to play in the park.
all of these reasons, it is in all stakeholders interests to keep the new golf
facility open all year. Previously the parkís golf courses closed for 10 to 14
day periods after heavy weather events because of a lack of drainage and runoff. The drainage and water migration planned as
part of the golf course construction should ensure a playable golf course that
is a true year round asset for the citizens of Louisiana.
The golf plan is years in the making and will be
years in construction, but when implemented will represent a real and serious
partnership between the City Park leadership and other recreation and athletic
stakeholders in New Orleans. An improved golf facility will not only be a
benefit to the residents of Louisiana but will enhance the reputation of New
Orleans and City Park as a 'must visit' for travelers and players from all over