Itís my last day and I have to say my week in Louisiana has been fantastic and after a good nights sleep in my cabin that sits on one of the lakes at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, we are on the bus down to Black Bear GC and as we pass what turns out to be the seventh hole I already know we are going to be in for a treat.
Like most courses here the practice facilities are wonderful and after what turns out to be one of the best bacon, sausage and cheese rolls I have ever eaten weíre off, no time to hit balls today just a quick warm up on the practice chipping green that sits near the first tee.
There are four teeing options here and I elect to go off the blues that are still a whopping 6,964-yards, fortunately there are four teeing option from nearly 7,300 off the gold down to 5,567-yards off the black. I love courses that donít try to beat you up on the first hole and at 438-yards it's a comfortable start, but there is water down the right of the hole. I am told to aim at the right bunker by the starter and I leave myself a 9-iron in after getting a nice bit of roll as the fairway gently slopes back into the middle of the fairway.
They are carrying out some changes to the fairway bunkering at the moment, but as I step onto the 2nd tee it really isnít affecting the aesthetics of the design, the course sits in the land well and Bechtol-Russell the company who designed the course have done a great job.
The holes are tree lined and the greens are wonderful, I am lucky to be in the first group out this morning and even with the morning dew the greens are perfect, fast and true, but soft enough to hold a well struck ball.
The 3rd brings up the first par 5 and with water coming into play on right of the fairway for your second shot and surrounding the peninsula style green that seems to sit out in the water its all risk and reward at 554-yards from the tips or 502-yards from the whites.
Water again comes into play on the right on the par 3, 4th hole which weighs in at 223-yards from the tips and 201-yards from the blue. It's a large green with a tier and many green complexes and walking away with par is a good score here.
I love the way the greens on both the 7th and 8th greens sit in the trees and the mounding, the front nine comes to a close with a tough par 5 and at 574-yards from the tips and 531-yards from the whites a birdie finish will all come down to chipping and putting for all but the longest of hitters.
The back nine opens with a truly wonderfully designed hole, depending on your teeing option, you play your tee shot over water or with water running down the left, but itís the second shot that captures the imagination. The elevated green sits surrounded by trees with one tall tree to your right standing as a sentinel protecting the opening it's a great start to what turns out to be a great back nine.
There are some stunning holes on the back nine and it would be unfair to start picking out any individual hole as they are all wonderfully designed, my only one reservation would be the tree that sits in front of the green on the 15th. But the 18th hole brings the back nine to a fitting crescendo, not only for this course but the entire week of this Audubon Golf Trails tour, going by the standard of the six courses I have played, I canít wait to play the other ten.
Tight angle into the 8th green Heathland feel to the 12th holeThe long par 3, 13th hole
The gap between the trees that you have to play through to make the 10th green