Hoop – there it is! Welcome back, NBA!
It’s that time of year again – time to witness the heroics of All-Stars like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, to watch in awe as a game-winning three-pointer is sunk at the last second, and to admire the athleticism of alley oops, slam dunks, and crossover dribbles.
Tonight the 2014-2015 NBA season officially begins with three headliner games in New Orleans, San Antonio, and Los Angeles – the Orlando Magic vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, the Dallas Mavericks vs. the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, and the Houston Rockets vs. the ever-popular L.A. Lakers.
To celebrate the start of one of America’s favorite pastimes, we have found two beautiful public courses located in each of these three NBA host cities. The next time you have the pleasure of visiting, consider reserving tee times at each of these courses.
Lakewood Golf Club (New Orleans, La.)
For 25 years, Lakewood welcomed some of golf’s greatest legends, from Jack Nicklaus to Seve Ballesteros, as the former host of the PGA Tour’s New Orleans Open. To say the least, the golf course’s history is quite rich, yet, despite its unique past, Lakewood remains as relevant as ever before, thanks to the renovations of architect Ron Garl, who has designed and upgraded over 250 courses around the world.
Measuring 7,002 yards from the championship tees, the course has been modernized entirely, complete with revised tee boxes, fairways, bunkers, and greens. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the course is the 18th hole, which features red sand traps shaped like flames – created in honor of New Orleans firefighters.
Grand Ridge Golf Club (Luling, La.)
Nestled amidst swamplands, Grand Ridge offers a layout that, in spite of its wide array of challenges, can be enjoyed by all golfers. Accuracy is of utmost importance, as many fairways are surrounded by cypress or oak trees, while 10 of the course’s holes feature water hazards.
If golfers properly position themselves on fairways, they will certainly have a chance to hit greens in regulation and consistently make birdies and pars. After all, the Bermuda grass greens are well-manicured and roll accurately, which helps guests read greens and sink more putts. In addition, golfers have four sets of tee boxes to choose from, ranging in measurement from 5,517 to 6,853 yards.
Canyon Springs Golf Club (San Antonio, Tex.)
Frequently mentioned by Texas golf publications as a “best of” course, Canyon Springs has impressed guests and golf journalists alike since its opening in 1998. Located near the outskirts of the Texas Hill Country in north central San Antonio, Canyon Springs has been voted as “Best of the Best You Can Play” by Texas Golfer and “Best Overall Public Golf Course in San Antonio” by Avid Golfer. The course has even been recognized nationally as a “Best Place to Play” by Golf Digest and as “One of America’s Best Courses to Play” by ZAGAT. Aside from the accolades, Canyon Springs is also renowned for its challenging layout, which measures 7,077 yards from the back tees and features a 74.9 course rating and a 137 slope.
La Cantera Golf Club (San Antonio, Tex.)
Featuring exquisite views of the Texas Hill Country, La Cantera offers guests two distinct 18-hole championship layouts, each of which was designed by a major champion. Ranging in length from 4,940 to 7,021 yards, the Resort Course, designed by 1973 Open Champion Tom Weiskopf, along with renowned architect Jay Morrish, can be enjoyed by novice and experienced golfers alike.
The same can be said of the Palmer Course, designed by the King himself, Arnold Palmer. Like the Resort Course, the Palmer Course also had four sets of tee boxes, ranging from 5,066 to 6,926. Its course and slope ratings are higher than the Resort Course’s though, measuring at 74.2 and 142, respectively, from the championship tees, whereas the Resort Course’s course and slope ratings are 72.5 and 134 from the back tees, respectively.
Angeles National Golf Club (Sunland-Tujunga, Calif.)
Currently renowned as the only Nicklaus Design golf course in Los Angeles County, Angeles National certainly lives up to the Nicklaus name, providing guests an enjoyable golfing experience on a pristine layout. With four sets of tee boxes to choose from, measuring from 4,899 to 7,141 yards, the par-72 championship course is wide enough to ensure golfers of all experience levels return over and over again, yet, at the same time, its immaculate conditions will be appreciated by even the most versed of golfers. As a result of its gorgeous, playable layout, the course has previously been recognized by Travel + Leisure Golf as a “Top 30 Best New Course Worldwide.”
Industry Hills Golf Club (City of Industry, Calif.)
Located 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles, Industry Hills offers guests two 18-hole championship layouts – The Zaharias (named after golfing legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias) and The Eisenhower (named after the 34th President of the United States).
The narrow par-71 Zaharias layout requires both precision and distance, as it measures 6,821 yards from the back tees, with a slope rating of 138. On the other hand, The Eisenhower is even more challenging, measuring 7,211 yards from the championship tees and featuring a slope rating of 145. A former host of U.S. Open Qualifying tournaments, the par-72 Eisenhower was actually renovated in 2006 to further improve upon golfers’ experiences.