Lafayette, Louisiana, aka The Hub City, is a charming town along the Vermilion River in the southwestern area of the state. While locals may focus a lot of their attention on the Ragin’ Cajuns of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, there’s another sport in town that’s worth paying attention to golf.
These four courses are hidden gems in the larger golf landscape and make Lafayette a destination worth staying a few extra days in.
Jay and Lionel Hebert Municipal Golf Course
1121 Mudd Ave., Lafayette, LA 70501
Image courtesy of Hebert Municipal Golf Course Website
Every good golf city needs to be anchored by a quality municipal golf facility, and the Hebert Municipal Golf Course serves that purpose beautifully. It’s a fairly short but demanding course that makes the best of its small footprint. While a round of golf with a cart will run you under $50, I love that it’s easily walkable. Each tee is close to the preceding green and the overall yardage from the back tees is under 6,500 yards.
But in that relatively short yardage, you’ll find a lot of challenging golf! While it’s fairly flat, it’s quite tight with well-placed trees challenging your tee and approach shots. Good, straight drives are rewarded with birdie opportunities but veer a little offline and your shotmaking will be challenged.
The front nine starts things off with a few nice doglegs, but the real make-or-break section of your round is the beginning of the back nine. A short par 3, the 10th hole should be a birdie hole. But find a bunker and you’ll struggle to make par. A good drive on the par 5 11th hole will give you a shot at the green, but leave your approach short or left and you’ll be taking a penalty stroke for a ball in the water. It’s a classic risk/reward par 5.
The best hole on the course is the short par 4 13th hole; at 345 yards, it feels like a birdie hole. But water on the left makes you decide whether you’ll get aggressive for a better birdie look, or play it safe and leave a long, tough approach to a small green.
The Wetlands Golf Course
2129 N University Ave., Lafayette, LA 70507
Image courtesy of The Wetlands Golf Course
The Wetlands Golf Course is a true championship course that will test every aspect of your golf game from tee to green. Perhaps the best aspect of the Wetlands is the clever architecture that provides lots of runoff spots, so even when Lafayette is going through one of its many rainy seasons, the course dries out quickly and remains playable year-round.
It’s always in fantastic shape, with smooth and slick greens and lush fairways. Stretching out to nearly 7,300 yards from the tips and sporting a course rating of 74.9, par is an excellent score on every hole. Intermediate golfers may want to move up a tee box, and you’ll definitely want to stock up on balls as water comes into play on ten holes.
My favorite hole is the 12th. Water runs along the entire left side, but the left side of the fairway provides the best angle to the small, well-bunkered green. The huge fairway is effectively shrunk by a small but well-placed sand trap that catches bailouts and all but ensures a bogey - game improvement irons will be incredibly useful there.
Les Vieux Chenes Golf Course
340 Old Youngsville Hwy., Youngsville, LA 70592
Image courtesy of Les Vieux Chene Golf Course
Les Vieux Chenes translates to “The Old Oaks”, and you’ll find plenty of majestic trees lining the fairways of this lovely muni in nearby Youngsville. It’s around 6,800 yards, and despite there not being a lot of water features on the course, it drains surprisingly well during wet weather. The layout is highlighted by several dramatic doglegs, and the 19th hole is a great bar and grill to enjoy after a tough but satisfying round of golf.
My favorite hole is the short par 5 10th hole. A sharp dogleg left, it’ll dare you to cut the corner. But bite off too much, and you’ll be in jail behind trees or ricocheting out of bounds. Eagle is in play with a good drive, but a few yards off could mean bogey or worse. With incredibly reasonable greens fees and good course conditions, Les Vieux Chenes will keep you coming back.
Cane Row Golf Club
500 Darby Ln., New Iberia, LA 70560
Image courtesy of GolfAdvisor
Cane Row Golf Club, formerly Squirrel Run, is a beloved facility that winds around a residential development in New Iberia, just outside of Lafayette. It used to sport 27 holes but has downsized to offer a high-quality 18 hole experience with a ton of variety from hole to hole. It’s quite spread out, so it’s one of the rare occasions that I’ll suggest taking a cart instead of walking.
Score well on the five par 3s here and you’re well on your way to a good round. The back-to-back par 3s at holes 3 and 4 are the keys to scoring well. Before you’ve hardly had a chance to warm up, you’re asked to hit medium-to-long irons to tight greens surrounded by bunkers. Get out of here with a pair of pars and you’ve got a very birdie-able short par 5 waiting for you at the fifth hole.
With a slope rating of 132, this is a course that presents a lot of difficulties but offers some very enticing birdie holes to help counter the toughness. It’s rebounding well after nearly closing in 2018, and golfers in Lafayette are better off for it!