The streetcar conductor will call out “Audubon Park!” and may mention the Zoo when you get to the stop. The St. Charles Streetcar will have taken you through the New Orleans neighborhoods of the Garden District and Uptown via the streetcar, which picks you up just off Canal Street conveniently right outside the French Quarter. There’s a shuttle van that takes folks to the Audubon Zoo from that stop. If you’re lucky and look lost, the nice lady driving the van will take you directly to the Audubon Park Golf Course clubhouse if she’s got the time. Otherwise, it would have been just a short walk from the stop, made especially easy since I had again opted to leave my golf clubs at home, knowing I would be renting (they have great clubs in all brands and flexes). I brought only my shoes, glove and a few balls in my backpack.
- You’re a local and don’t want to plop down a hundred plus bucks at one of the more expensive golf courses in New Orleans for a Tuesday round just to sharpen your short game.
- You’re a visitor to these parts. You've got gator tours and plantations to see. You've got three martini lunches and oyster dishes to try and the undisputed best jazz on the planet to soak in. You don’t have six hours to play a round of golf. Add in the commute and the shrimp remoulade in the café at the turn and you’re at seven and a half hours. You’ll get through this satisfying round of golf in about three hours or even quicker.
Visually, Audubon is a great looking park. There are beautiful century old oaks that line the fairways and huddle about the clubhouse. There are geese, ducks, and other waterfowl in the lagoons which border many greens and Bermuda fairways. Although the water doesn't come into play on every hole, it’s visible from almost everywhere which I find both soothing and disconcerting. The Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church peers over the top of the trees to the northwest. There’s a walking/jogging path around the perimeter, but you don’t really notice it unless you’re looking for it.
The Audubon Park Golf Course putting green is close to the first tee box so you can practice right up to the moment of truth, and they start you off with a nice par four opener to loosen you up. I’m not too short off the tee and found I was able to hit the driver quite a few times, certainly more than you would on your run-of-the-mill executive track. You can also leave the driver in the bag should you choose, so there are options here and it would play completely different with a different tee shot. There are 12 par threes, but there is so much range in yardage from hole to hole that you will get through the majority of your clubs, which I believe makes for a much more interesting game. I think I hit every club at least once minus the six iron, but had to chip my wedge a few more times than I would have liked. I was able to hit both the par five 9th and 18th holes in two but was unable to hold either with a trickle off the back. They were my only two birdies for the day.