What started out yesterday as a dreary day on the way to the North Shore turned into a beautiful day and a chance to check out Covington Country Club. It had been a very long time since I had a chance to play at Covington Country Club and a course that Golf Nola had yet to review.
I had heard mixed comments about the golf course. From, they had closed permanently, the greens were bad and they lost all their grass, to the course being perfect I heard every comment you could hear about one golf course over the past two years. It was time to get my own opinion and let everyone see for themselves.
There have been many changes since my last visit. The pro shop has moved and is now in a very small corner of the clubhouse. It isn't your typical pro shop with lots of merchandise but it has what it needs. A few racks of golf balls, some tees, and a drink cooler. Just enough to check in grab a few things and get out on the golf course. The clubhouse itself has made some improvements and since the club sits right on the Tchefuncta River they even put in a new boat dock.
The staff I spoke with could not have been any nicer. They were very welcoming and gave me a full rundown of what has been going on over the years. They are aware of some of the challenges they have been facing on the golf course and understand it is not an easy fix. For starters, their maintenance staff is lacking the manpower with only 4 employees out there. When you consider the average golf course has anywhere from 15-20 staff on their maintenance crew it's a miracle they can keep the golf course playable at all. Also, the grass on the golf course has never been replaced since the club opened in 1983. This again is an accomplishment to keep the golf course playable. The USGA recommends replacing turf every 10-20 years. Tee boxes and fairways do not last as long as greens but when you think about the age of Covington Country Club the grass should have been replaced at least three times since its inception.
Even with the age of the turf on the golf course and the lack of manpower Covington Country Club is doing a great job. The tee boxes were decent with only a few having some bad areas or not frying as fast as others. They were all pretty level and only a few had some longer grass on them. All in all, there were no issues with any of the tee boxes. The same can be said about the fairways. They looked healthy and left you with a good lie. For the most part, any spot your ball found in a fairway was a good lie. They even drained very well after the morning rain and very few areas held water. This was true for both the front 9 and the back 9.
The greens on the other hand were hit or miss. They rolled better than they looked and had many areas that were diseased or dying. The locations they put the pin however were very pristine. The ball rolled well and at a decent pace. The only problem was those areas on some of the greens were very small and if you hit your ball more than 20 feet from the hole you may have to move it to not put through a pit or dead spot on the green. Only one green was completely unplayable but they are aware of that and are trying to combat the issues. That green was also the only green that held water around the edges and you had to watch where you stepped while looking for a golf ball that missed the green. The back 9 greens were much better and more consistent. They still had some areas that had some bad spots but those areas were smaller and from hole to hole there was more consistency in what you saw and how the greens rolled.
The two nines at Covington Country Club are almost like playing two different golf courses. The front nine is an older style layout with more trees and you need to play with more course management. The back nine is more open and you can go ahead and rip your driver on almost every hole. From the perspective of each individual hole, there is a good mix. Each hole is well-designed to challenge you and also be fun. Even with the short length of the golf course, it is not an easy golf course. There is plenty of risk-reward out there.
Even though the golf course is struggling with some things it can be worth your time to go play. Besides the more we support the only public golf course within a 20-30 mile radius the more they can improve. If anything go for the layout and the friendly staff. Check out the video below to see what I saw yesterday and hear my thoughts as I was playing.