New Orleans breaks ground on PGA Tour-quality golf course

The new City Park golf course
City of New Orleans
The new City Park golf course under construction in New Orleans could take over as the home of the Zurich Classic as early as 2020.
By John Holmes

Published: Thursday, February 12, 2015 | 11:24 p.m.

Not many major American cities can boast the construction of brand-new golf courses these days. Not only is New Orleans building a new course, it is designed to be a true championship facility. 

Crescent City officials officially broke ground Thursday on a $24.5 million golf complex in the City Park area of New Orleans' East Bank. As early as February of 2017, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, golfers no longer will have to trek all the way out to English Turn Country Club or the TPC of Louisiana on the West Bank to experience championship-caliber golf. 

And, officials say, the new facility might even take over as the host of New Orleans' PGA Tour stop.

The 7,300-yard Rees Jones-designed course, the product of almost a decade of planning and fundraising by local officials, is being atop the existing East and West courses at City Park. The North Course will remain, and receive some upgrades during the construction. The new construction also will add a practice facility, new clubhouse and driving range.

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Golf at City Park dates back to 1902, when the original New Orleans Golf Club was one of the first 80 golf courses in the United States. Hurricane Katrina flooded the City Park courses in 2006, ultimately leading to the plan to create the new facility. The project is being funded by the Louisiana government budget, FEMA and the Bayou District Foundation. 

The PGA Tour's Zurich Classic will be played at the TPC Louisiana in suburban Avondale through the 2019 season, the newspaper said, after moving there from English Turn in 2005. However, the paper added, the new City Park facility could take over as the host starting in 2020.

"I think it's going to be a remarkable development," Darrah Schaefer of the Fore!Kids Foundation, told the newspaper. "I think it has everybody's attention. The PGA Tour has a lot of intellectual capital invested in this thing. It's wonderful to have them involved. You're creating an opportunity for professional golf at the project."