Somewhere in the middle of the massive Toledo Bend Reservoir is an imaginary line the separates Texas, to the west, from Louisiana, to the east. Over there on the east side of the huge lake is the Cypress Bend Resort, a destination that’s cherished for its isolation and uniqueness among the getaways in the Pelican State.
There is no easy way to get to the Cypress Bend Resort, which is located about 70 miles south of Shreveport on the westernmost edge of Louisiana, but it is that remoteness that makes the resort and its challenging golf course worth the effort.
Located in the town of Many, La. beside the Toledo Bend Reservoir, an 87-mile-long man-made lake, Cypress Bend Resort is an outdoorsman’s dream.
Through a joint venture of Louisiana and Texas, the Sabine River was dammed in 1968 and the Toledo Bend Reservoir was formed. It began filling in 1969. With its innumerous coves and inlets right – Toledo Bend sports more than 1,200 miles of shoreline – it quickly became recognized as a top fishing lake, but small lodges and tiny local hotels were the only places visitors could stay.
Cypress Bend Resort opened in 1998, filling the need for quality lodging and recreation besides what you can get on the water.
There is a lot to like about the nearly 22-year-old golf course and the resort that postdates it by a couple of years. Our favorite things are likely the same as many weekenders who visit Cypress Bend – the isolation and the feeling that the resort and course are unique for Louisiana. In fact, you can really fool yourself into thinking you are in the Georgia mountains thanks to the destination’s hardwood forests, its rolling hills the hills the massive lake.
The golf course at the Cypress Bend Resort was a charter member of Louisiana’s 15-facility Audubon Golf Trail. Designed by Dave Bennett, the course features 10 holes along the water, six of them with shots across hidden coves and inlets. Every swing brings the forest into play, and undulating Bermuda grass putting surfaces and dramatic elevation changes add to the track’s playability and beauty.
Alongside the golf course’s routing are landscaped gardens: crepe myrtles standing knee-deep in dramatic purple agapanthus, casual Black-Eyed Susans and fluffy monkey grass. On the edge of the woods are carpets of hydrangeas and azaleas. The shallow water that laps at the course’s edges is loaded with lilies, a blissful blanket of soft blooms. Beyond that, the lake stretched like a glistening sheet for miles, and, looking north and south, there’s no land in sight.
Cypress Bend plays to a par of 72 and carries a course rating of 72.9 and a slope of 141. Added to the 6,707-yard challenge are serpentine shorelines and gusting winds which regularly sweep across the open water. Count on some beautiful vistas as you move through the nearly unbroken landscape of hardwood and pine forest. The sunset over No. 17 – the course’s signature hole – is particularly stunning.
The course is a bit quirky but the more you play it the more you like it. Cypress Bend has two par-5s that are less than 491 yards and neither is reasonably reachable in two because they are nearly L-shaped. The No. 1 handicap hole – the 524-yard par-5 ninth – also turns hard left and a pond (guarded by a real-life alligator) splits it in half.
The lake comes into play mostly on the back side, which also features a short (128-yard) par-3 and four par-4s than play 369 yards or less. In fact, the back nine plays just 3,145 yards from the tips, but it carries plenty of bite.
There’s fauna here as well: box turtles crossing fairways; hawks spiraling into view just as you fly your drive into the sky; early morning bunnies on greens; and spindly egrets swooping into the ponds around the course. We even saw a trio of the largest red-headed woodpeckers I can ever remember.
Other services and amenities at Cypress Bend Resort include a full-service spa and salon, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a business center next to the 11,000-square-foot conference center, a great restaurant and a social club with a free pool table. Every one of the resort’s 96 rooms are equipped with free wireless access and cable television.
If you are in this part of the word – or want to take a trip where you can really get away – put Cypress Bend Resort on your bucket list. And don’t forget your camera.