Friday, March 20, 2009
Black Bear named one of Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play, LA
The supremely isolated test of golf at Black Bear Golf Club continues to rate high marks as the 33-month-old course has moved up to No. 3 in Louisiana among the Best Courses You Can Play in the state as ranked by Golfweek Magazine. The annual rankings were released March 14, 2009.
Black Bear Golf Club, located in the upper-northeast corner of Louisiana about 30 minutes from Vicksburg, Mississippi and developed as part of Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, was designed by Austin, Texas-based architect Roy Bechtol in collaboration with Randy Russell. The track opened for play in July 2006 and is the home course of Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail.
“We are proud of the fact that Black Bear continues to get the recognition we all feel it deserves,” said Eric Kaspar, director of the Audubon Golf Trail. “The course just gets better and better as it matures, and we are seeing players come to this region from longer and longer distances because of the great word of mouth that continues about Black Bear.”
The 7,256-yard, par-72 track sets atop 300 acres of the Macon Ridge, where there are elevation changes that are uncommon in almost all Louisiana golf courses. Although technically in the Mississippi Delta region that is characterized by flat terrain, Black Bear is like an oasis as it winds up and down and through wooded creek bottoms and provides golfers with a feeling of isolation and a kinship with nature.
The Bogzag and Cypress Creeks bisect Black Bear Golf Club and offer significant wetlands features. The routing of the course generally follows, then crosses, those creeks and offers passes through the heavily treed creek bottoms. The result is a course that weaves from tree-lined holes to open opportunities and sports expansive Tif Eagle greens, lush fairways and native grasses in all non-play areas.
The golf course, which was constructed by Weitz Golf International, takes its name from the Louisiana black bear which are often sighted on or near the reservoir. Bechtol even left in place a tree behind the 15th green that was previously used by the bears in the winters to hibernate.
“We always knew Black Bear was going to be a special place to play golf and to enjoy the isolation that that site gives players,” Bechtol said. “We tried not to disturb the land as much as blend in the golf course with its surroundings and with nature, and – given the fact that people are going out of their way to find and play Black Bear – we obviously struck the correct balance on the site.”
Black Bear Golf Course has hosted an Adams Tour event the past two Octobers. Plans are being finalized for a hotel near the course and the Poverty Point Reservoir, with construction set to begin sometime in the third quarter of 2009.