NEW ORLEANS – (March 2017) – New Orleans City Park and the Bayou District Foundation are pleased to announce the grand opening of the Bayou Oaks Golf Course in New Orleans City Park. The new course will open to the public with a shotgun start at 12:30pm Friday, April 21.
Designed by world-renowned golf course architect Rees Jones and Greg Muirhead of Rees Jones Inc., in association with Torre Design Consortium, the 18-hole course boasts 46 bunkers and features multiple tee locations. The par 72 course is designed to accommodate players of all levels from amateur to professional.
“Together with our Bayou District Foundation partners, New Orleans City Park now offers a beautiful and challenging golf course that will accommodate players of all skill levels,” says Bob Becker, CEO of New Orleans City Park.
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With this opening, the percentage of New Orleans City Park devoted to golf courses is 38 percent less than previous allotments prior to Hurricane Katrina, allowing more of the park to serve as green space and popular festival grounds.
“I’m excited on so many different levels,” says New Orleans City Park Board President Steve Pettus. “The new championship level course is absolutely beautiful and we’re happy to have it accompany our North Course, which is still open and is a great value. Since Katrina, we have reduced the golf footprint in the park by 192 acres, and now offer wonderful amenities such as Big Lake and the Festival Grounds.”
The new course, clubhouse, maintenance facilities and other amenities cost $26 million. The State of Louisiana, FEMA, the Bayou District Foundation, and New Orleans City Park funded the project. Bayou District Foundation will operate the golf course.
Bayou District Foundation is the driving force and community quarterback behind a holistic neighborhood revitalization initiative that includes housing, education and community wellness. Columbia Parc at the Bayou District is the anchor of the overall effort and is a thriving mixed-income community of 685 households less than 5 blocks from the 3rd hole at Bayou Oaks. In addition to leading the development of new housing, Bayou District Foundation is created a ‘cradle-to-college’ education pipeline at Columbia Parc, starting with the Educare New Orleans early head start facility which opened in 2013 and serves more than 165 low-income children ages 0-5 each year. A share of the revenue from Bayou Oaks will support the Foundation’s education initiatives at Columbia Parc. This public-private partnership is breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty using a place-based approach called the Purpose Built Communities Model, which was pioneered in the East Lake neighborhood in Atlanta, home of the East Lake Golf Club and the TOUR Championship. This national model is now being implemented in 16 cities across the country. Bayou District Foundation invested $9 million in the project with New Orleans City Park. The funds allowed for the construction of the new clubhouse and golf maintenance facility as well as key improvements to parking lots and the driving range. Bayou District Foundation has donated the clubhouse and maintenance facility to New Orleans City Park. The donated funds constitute one of the largest private funding investments in New Orleans City Park history.
“The best result of public/private partnerships is when everybody wins,” commented Bayou District Foundation Chairman Gerard W. Barousse, Jr. “Our Foundation’s proportional stream of revenue will be dedicated to sustaining our mission to support quality education and holistic community redevelopment in nearby Columbia Parc in the Bayou District. Additionally, people throughout our city and state will win as the golf course adds yet another superb quality of life amenity and hospitality industry attraction in our community.”
Costs to play the new course vary from $59 to $99 a round for Louisiana residents, depending on the day and time. In state residents may book a tee time seven days in advance. Out of state residents can book a tee time 90 days in advance. Two annual pass options will also be available starting May 1st and include a seven-day pass for $3,000 and a four-day pass (Monday – Thursday only) for $2,000, respectively. Annual pass members are able to book a tee time five days in advance.
The course also offers a 13,000 square foot clubhouse that will feature a full pro-shop with apparel, equipment and rental clubs. Golfers and non-golfers alike will also enjoy a new 120-seat dining room offering breakfast and lunch.
Golfers familiar with New Orleans City Park’s old West and East courses will be delighted in the measures taken by the design team to ensure quick accessibility of the grounds following hard rains. A combination of thousands of yards of sand and an extensive drainage system have been put in place.
The natural beauty of New Orleans City Park was considered first and foremost when constructing this top tier course. The routing of the course roughly follows the line of play from the old golf courses, with some holes being the reverse of what they were in 2005, in an effort to preserve the majestic live oak trees and existing lagoons.
Enthusiasts have been hitting the greens at New Orleans City Park for more than 115 years. Through its storied history, New Orleans City Park has played host to the New Orleans Open from 1938 – 1962. Additionally, Hall of Famers Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have all competed at New Orleans City Park. Park officials are thrilled to continue this historic tradition and make golf available to all New Orleanians for generations to come.
“It has been a long wait, but we think the final product is well worth it,” said Bob Becker, CEO of New Orleans City Park.
About New Orleans City Park: New Orleans City Park is distinguished by its large menu of sports and recreational activities, attractions for children and its natural beauty. City Park has a special place in the hearts of generations of New Orleanians and is a must visit for visitors to the city. As a popular place to picnic, play a favorite sport, wander through its gardens or take a boat ride- the park receives millions of visitors each year. It is located in the heart of the city and is the largest recreation area for the entire metropolitan area. Attractions include: City Putt, New Orleans Botanical Garden, Storyland fairytale playground, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, and numerous athletic venues. The 1,300 acres of parkland provide enjoyment for young children playing on our playgrounds and walkers, joggers, and bicyclists winding through the park’s streets and trails.
About Bayou District Foundation: The Bayou District Foundation (BDF) was formed in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. Its single mission has been to break the cycle of poverty in Gentilly’s former St. Bernard public housing community through nearly $400 million public and private investment in comprehensive, holistic, neighborhood re-development initiatives. Inspired by a similar, successful community re-development model in Atlanta, BDF was co-founded by New Orleans business leaders Gerard W. Barousse, Jr., Mike Rodrigue and Gary N. Solomon, Sr. Under their leadership, BDF has been committed to the 10+ year task of transforming the entire “Bayou District” neighborhood near City Park, anchored by the recently opened, 685 mixed-income household residential community, Columbia Parc. Other primary BDF community initiatives besides housing have included a high-quality, cradle-to-college education model, including the nationally recognized Educare early childhood learning center and a new KIPP K-8 public charter school (2018) a community garden and recreation field, affordable single family home purchase program, new retail stores (2018) and St. Thomas Community Health Center (2017) – – all present within the Columbia Parc neighborhood footprint.