NEW ORLEANS -- The "West Bank" in New Orleans is, in fact, east of the city, one of many lay-of-the-land intricacies of the Crescent City. It's named as such because it's on the western bank of the Mississippi River, which snakes to the east once it's south of downtown. This area is where you'll find a handful of top semi-private and daily-fee courses like English Turn Golf & Country Club.
English Turn, which opened in 1988, was a longtime host of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on the PGA Tour from 1989 until 2004 (and once more in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina) when TPC Louisiana opened in Avondale. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, English Turn has a novel routing. A large lagoon was created from the soil that was dug up to create higher ground for the course, which is entirely surrounded by the water feature. The result is -- you guessed it -- a lot of water holes. The lagoon is in play on practically every hole, and none more so than the par-5 15th hole, which features an island green.
Otherwise, this is a vintage, late-80s Nicklaus design, where greens are on the small side and there are plenty of bunkers to deal with off many tee shots. You can certainly pick how long you want to play this 7,078-yard championship layout, with six sets of tees rated (which include two combo sets).
The English Turn development is home to some of the most desirable residential properties outside the city center, but good news for golfers, all the homes are on the other side of the lagoon, so you won't be in any backyards here.
The facility has a full driving range and practice area, and another neat feature of English Turn is the 43,000-square-foot clubhouse. Be sure to stop off for lunch in the lounge after your round. Better yet, spend some time in the men's locker room, which is massive and could certainly still host a full-field event and then some. How it stacks up vs. TPC Louisiana, a Pete Dye design, is a popular topic for debate among area golfers. We compared the ratings in this 2015 data article, and English Turn actually had the edge, thanks largely to a higher value score. Local Golf Advisor TwillDog1 summed up the choice as such:
"Overall, if I had one round left to play, I'd probably choose English Turn over TPC Louisiana; mostly because of it's charm, but also because of its shot values and the layout itself. But for overall conditioning, TPC has got it on over the Turn."