Review: Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans

Course Name: Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans

Designer: Unknown (1984), John F. Robinson (Redesign, 2004)

Location: Gretna, Louisiana

History: Originally opened as a private course in 1984, John F. Robinson renovated the course in 2004, and it is now semi-private. The course also features an extra “Harvey 9” that doubles as a footgolf course.

Conditions: 6/10, The greens are fast but a bit bumpy and inconsistent. The bunkers don’t drain very well, and some of the rough was burnt out, but overall this course is in decent shape for the price.

Value: 7/10 for those in-state, this course is very reasonable, as you can play with a cart and 18 for under $30 on weekends. It’s a bit more expensive for out-of-staters.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Black                 72           6939                73.3              123

Blue                   72           6385                70.9              120

White                72           5971                69.1              116

Gold                   72           5451               66.7               111

Red                    72           4980               69.5               117

Harvey Blue    33           2804               34.1               113

Harvey White 33           2530               32.7               110

Harvey Gold    33           2339              31.6                105

Harvey Red      33          2119               32.9                112

Best Score: 83 (Blue Tees), 10/10/2015 with Mike K., and 9/26/2015 with Mike K.

Front 9 Best: 42 (Blue Tees), 10/10/2015 with Mike K., and 9/26/2015 with Mike K.

Back 9 Best: 41 (Blue Tees), 10/10/2015 with Mike K., and 9/26/2015 with Mike K.

Hole Descriptions: I’ll preface by briefly discussing the Harvey 9. We were forced to play this short par 33 once because the course was packed and ultimately regretted doing so. The conditioning lagged behind the other nines, and it was often unclear where we were aiming due to the footgolf flags. The other two nines of Stonebridge are fairly well-designed and weave through canals and a residential neighborhood like many courses in the Southeast.

The opening hole is a long, intimidating 542 yard par 5. A large pond looms about 250 yards off the tee on the left, but pales in comparison to the danger on the right – a large canal that runs down the entire side. Despite a net, this canal will catch any sort of left-to-right ballflight. One large bunker guards short of this green while a small one guards the back left. The 2nd hole is a solid short 304 yard par 4 that forces you to aim right off the tee with long iron to avoid two ponds on the left. If you go too far right, a string of bunkers will catch your ball. Similar to the 1st, the 3rd is a medium-length 346 yard par 4 with the canal lining the entire right side. Golfers that bail out left will find two, large deep bunkers about 220 yards from the tee. Water looms left of this heavily undulating green. After this hole, you have to cross the canal via a rickety bridge to the very difficult 4th hole. This signature 377 yard par 4 features a fairway “as narrow as Bourbon Street”, with a large canal lining the left and houses lining the right. There is essentially no rough on this hole so any ball with left spin is in danger of falling of a steep embankment into the canal. This two-tiered green is also very difficult and a tree blocks any ball coming from the left side of the fairway.

The 5th hole is another memorable hole as an 140 yard par 3. This picturesque hole requires a water carry to a large, wide green. A giant, deep bunker just short left of this green is often a blessing for players worried about going in the water. The 6th hole is the hardest hole on the course, as houses line both sides of this tight, long dogleg left. Playing over 405 yards, a very accurate drive is needed to avoid several bunkers and find this fairway that’s only about 20 yards wide at some points. Playing back on the other side of the canal, the 7th hole is an unremarkable 171 yard par 3 lined by houses on the right. I was a big fan of the 353 yard 8th hole. This fairway is quite generous until about 230 yards when it narrows to almost nothing with bunkers on the left and water on the right. This water extends all the way to this back-to-front sloped green. The finishing hole on this side is a reachable 492 yard par 5 that I really enjoyed. Finding the fairway is essential on this extremely narrow hole surrounded by bunkers and houses. I particular like the options this reachable par 5 gives players on the second shot. This green is slightly left of the fairway and features two devastating hazards – a pond to the right and a giant bunker right in front of this green.

The 10th hole is a tight 340 yard par 4 protected by houses on the left and two ponds on the right. This square-shaped green features several dramatic slopes. The 386 yard 11th hole is well-bunkered by four bunkers on the fairway and shares a huge green with the 15th. The 12th (535 yards) and 13th (411 yards) are two long, tight holes guarded by houses. These holes honestly bored me a bit and seemed to play much longer than the scorecard indicated. After a short, open 144 yard par 3, the 15th is a fun, reachable par 5 playing 495 yards. Houses line the right side of this hole, but the left is completely open so this is one of the only holes at Stonebridge where you can grip it and rip it. Like the 9th, this hole narrows a bit by this large, narrow green shared with 11. At 194 yards, the 16th is the most difficult par 3 on the course with a large, receptive green guarded by a bunker on the right. The 17th hole is probably the most memorable hole on the back side. An extreme dogleg left, this dogleg doesn’t come until about 250 yards from the tee. From this point, bunkers line both sides of the fairway, with the right bunker hugging a water hazard. The green is extremely narrow and guarded by water on the right. I’m not a huge fan of the 362 yard finishing hole. With water lining the entire length of the right side and a bunker 230 yards on the left, there’s really no landing area for your drive. The fun really begins on this shallow green guarded short by a bunker and by water on the three other sides.

Best Par 3: 5th hole, 140 yards, 17th handicap. The most memorable par 3 is the short, danger-filled 5th hole. Requiring a carry the entire way over water, this hole is all about club selection, as wind usually plays a big role. Railroad ties guarding the front of this green are reminiscent of those employed by Pete Dye.

Best Par 4: 4th hole, 377 yards, 3rd handicap. The signature hole at Stonebridge, this challenging par 4 features an extremely narrow fairway guarded by a canal on the left and residential houses on the right. The approach to this difficult two-tiered green is complicated by a tiny tree short left of this green that can knock down shots.

Best Par 5: 9th hole, 492 yards, 13th handicap. I love a good strategic reachable par 5 and this hole is a perfect example. The fairway is narrow, with bunkers and houses guarding both sides that punish poorly struck drives. After a good drive, players can easily reach this green in two, but is it worth the risk? Water guards the right, a deep bunker guards short, and a tree on the left side can knock down pulled approaches.

General Comments: Because the course is on the West Bank and has three different nines, pace of play is usually brisk. The practice green is large and well-maintained, and the driving range is free. The only caveat is that you can only hit irons. The clubhouse doesn’t look like much from the outside but is spacious and cozy inside. The Proshop has always been very accommodating and even gives every player a free sleeve of balls.

Verdict: My team and I played this course weekly in the Fall for good reason – it’s affordable, challenging, and usually a fun round. Golfers in New Orleans should keep this course in their rotation, but I cannot recommend playing the Harvey 9.

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