The City Park golf course redevelopment is comprised of three major stakeholders. The first is City Park, also known officially as City Park Improvement Association or CPIA. The second stakeholder is the State of Louisiana, which has assumed a critical funding role for the Park and its capital projects post Katrina. And the third partner is Bayou District Foundation, a locally based 501c3 nonprofit that has put together one of the largest philanthropic gifts in the park’s history to help make this project a reality.
The funding mechanisms by which the City Park Golf Complex is being rebuilt follows the structure of the partnership. CPIA and the State of Louisiana are contributing nearly 15MM dollars to the construction of the golf course. Bayou District Foundation is contributing 9MM dollars and is primarily responsible for the development of golf clubhouse, maintenance facilities, practice facility (Driving range/short game area) and ancillary support buildings.
City Park will share a percentage of net golf revenues with BDF so that BDF can sustain and grow its early childhood education, community support service and other programming within the neighboring Columbia Parc community. In doing so, BDF will be the first successful emulation of the nationally recognized ‘East Lake Model’ of community redevelopment first championed by Mr. Tom Cousins of Atlanta, GA.
Assisting the partnership are several renowned organizations within the game of golf. Notably, Rees Jones and his design team, led by Greg Muirhead, are the principal architects of the new Bayou Oaks at City Park Golf Course. Rees Jones is one of the top golf course designers in the world, with over 170 courses to his credit. His courses (or redesigns of existing courses) have hosted 23 major championships, including 10 U.S. Open’s (11th &12th scheduled in 2021 & 2022), 9 8 PGA Championships (10th & 11th 2018 & 2019) and 4 Ryder Cups (5th scheduled in 2024). Notable in its relationship to City Park. Rees and Greg completely restored and redeveloped the classic A.W. Tillinghast “Black Course” at the Bethpage State Park complex in Long Island NY, as well as the Torrey Pines South municipal golf course in San Diego, CA. Mr. Jones and Mr. Muirhead also refurbished East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA, which has been an ideal linkage point to City Park and the Bayou District Foundation.
PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties, Inc. (GCP) a subsidiary of PGA TOUR, has contracted with the Bayou District Foundation to consult on the design and construction of golf course and will manage the newly built facility. GCP and its affiliates have developed and managed golf properties across the United States. It’s TPC network has an unmatched reputation for developing, maintaining and operating the finest golf facilities in the nation. GCP’s Design services Inc. assisted with the golf course design and routing as they have extensively studied municipal, private and tournament golf facilities throughout the country with an understanding of playability and maintenance.
Duininck Golf, a “Certified Builder Member” of the Golf Course Builders Association of America, constructed the golf course. Boasting an excellent reputation and experience with the construction of Louisiana golf facilities like Joe Bartholomew and Stonebridge, Duininck has delivered one of the finest public golf courses in the U.S. at City Park.
The PGA Gulf States Section has committed to setting up a Section Hall of Fame and golf museum within the City Park golf course complex. This will complement several other exciting features of the new facility which include infrastructure and amenity improvements throughout. Principally, the driving range will be dramatically enhanced with the addition of grass tees, a practice putting green and additional safety features.
The Golf Course
The Rees Jones team, with input from numerous team consultants, has designed a masterpiece on the footprint of the old City Park golf courses. Using corridors framed by 100 year old planation oak trees that are irreplaceable and inimitable, the golf course plays in a returning 9-hole routing that runs south toward Harrison Avenue, then returning north to the Clubhouse. The back 9 plays along the routing that defined the back 9 of the old City Park West golf course. Natural bayous are present on twelve holes, as was the case at the historic City Park courses.
By incorporating multiple tee boxes and markers on each hole, the par 72 course can be played anywhere between 5,054 and 7,302 yards, thereby allowing all golfers to enjoy their round from a distance that is commensurate with their skill level. With a nod toward the public usage of the course, the majority of the water hazards are on the left side of play and there no forced carries from the forward tees. The ball can be bounced into nearly every green, as care was taken to provide multiple shot options and accommodate players of all skill. Subtle contouring promotes positive drainage and creates interesting shots from both the fairway and around the greens. The fairways are spacious, but proper tee shot placement is a key for the more experienced player to score. In all, Bayou Oaks will be a classic parkland style golf course in a traditional Louisiana landscape.