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This review is from playing Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans on Monday, June 7th.
This was a last-minute decision as the weather forecast for the rest of the week did not look good. After the rain on Sunday and knowing it would be cart path only I went anyway. Turned out to be a real nice day except it was windy and a tad bit on the warm side. All in all a decent day to play golf.
I'll start with the clubhouse. The pro shop has moved temporarily due to some work being done. I did not find out what was going on but it would appear that some type of remodeling construction or improvements are going on. A good sign when a club is willing to make changes for the betterment of their guest. The clubhouse was also not the only area Stonebridge is wanting to improve. The practice putting green was closed due to work they are doing to it.
After taking a few putts and stretching I headed over to the first tee. When I got there it was not as positive as the clubhouse. The tee box was cut down and pretty level but it was cut out of St. Augustine grass. No matter how low it is cut there is always a length to it and it is not ideal for teeing up a golf ball. To get the tee in the ground the ball was still nearly at grass level for a driver. This recurred on many tee boxes. Some were tight Bermuda grass and some were a mix of the two types of grass. Bermuda on a par-3 hole was fine but when it was St. Augustine it was like a flier lie in the short rough. This is something I could normally deal with as it is still playable however the back tees were not very level for the majority of the golf holes. I get a slight slant for drainage but these were un-level in the sense of small impressions leaving your feet unlevel and above or below the ball a few inches.
The fairways, even though they looked beautiful from the tee boxes and you could see a definition between them and the rough were not much better than the tee boxes were. The fairways also had a mix of grass on some, only St. Augustine cut low on some or only Bermuda on others. It only affected the play on the St. Augustine grass. You would have to play for the ball to jump or it may have been sitting down just a bit. The good thing is all the grass was healthy and, unless I was just in different areas than other golfers, the fairways had very few divots.
The greens were both good and bad. There were many areas on the greens that were bare. It looks like the course may have had trouble with mole crickets or some kind of fungus in those areas. On the other hand, there were areas that were in good condition with healthy grass. Stonebridge obviously aware of the issues only put the hole locations where the grass was the best. This made putting within 15ft of the cup good even though the greens were slow. Slower greens should be expected after plenty of rain. The worst thing however on the greens was the cup liner (pictured below). It was not deep enough and nearly level with the top edge of the cup. This caused a few of my putts that hit the liner to pop out the hole.
Even though Stonebridge is struggling in some areas you can tell they are working on getting things better. Every bunker on the golf course looked like they are being worked on and maintenance was running around trimming trees etc... Even some drainage work is being fixed on the 18th hole. You can see the pipe sticking out the green in the video.
We never know if a golf course is struggling financially or something else when we see certain issues on a golf course but what you do not see often is a golf course doing something no matter how minute to make improvements. If I was to do some consulting recommendations I would suggest Stonebridge change the grass on the entire golf course and level the tee boxes.
There was only one major issue I had the entire day and had nothing to do with the golf course. It had to do with the group that eventually caught up to me on the 15th hole. They were not following the cart path only rule driving wherever they pleased, along with the group behind them. Additionally, because I was following the path-only rule, even that group just saw me leave the tee box to my next shot, they decided to not only hit while I was just getting out of the cart, the next guy hit as I was walking to my ball in the middle of the 17th fairway. Not many things bother me on a golf course but golfers that are in so much of a hurry that they do not follow the rules for the betterment of the golf course are one of them. Please for the sake of all golfers and the golf courses follow the rules so we can have better playing surfaces and all enjoy the game more.