New Orleans PGA Golf Tournaments

 

I am thankful for New Orleans PGA golf tournaments. This is for several reasons which I will soon explain. The tournament has a long history dating back to 1938 when it was originally held at City Park. The current tournament is called the Zurich Classic and is played at the TPC Louisiana golf course in Avendale. Prior to that, it was at English Turn Golf and Country Club, and before that at Lakewood Country Club.

As with the previous two years, I was invited to the Zurich Classic this week as a guest of Steve Windham from the Lieutenant Governor’s office to showcase my Audubon Golf Trail book as part of the Audubon Golf Trail booth. Many thanks to Steve and the other workers, Jason, Luciene, Michelle, Evelyn, Manuel, Millie, and another Michelle. This is one fun group of people.

In previous years, I have fond memories of attending the Greater New Orleans Open at Lakewood Country Club with my dad. We never failed to have great times there, following such notables as Frank Beard, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson. I remember not caring for Jack Nicklaus too much until I saw him play in New Orleans, then became a devoted fan. At that time, there was none better. I also went to a couple of tournaments at Jack’s course, English Turn. There I remember following Jack and Fred Couples. Back when it was played at Lakewood it was called the Greater New Orleans Open. Dad and I would jokingly called it “Ganoo.” after the initials for the Greater New Orleans Open (Dad and I had similar wierd and warped senses of humor. We could find humor in the most mundane things:  I remember on one vacation someone in the family misread the sign on the “Litter Barrels” placed by the side of the road. From then on they became “Little Barrels”. We always laughed when the first family member announced another little barrel was approaching).

This week, I mostly worked in the Audubon Trail booth, but had an opportunity to follow David Toms for 5 holes on Friday. Through Saturday, that was his best round, a 68, four under par. I thought he was hitting the ball beautifully. On the sixth hole I noticed a couple in the gallery that were obviously over-joyed parents who were watching their young son carry the score standard for David Toms’ and K.J. Choi’s group. There happened to be a medium sized alligator just out of the lake on the hole with his head raised up. The proud parents got a photo of their son with his standard and the aligator in the background. I spoke to these parents a couple of times. They, as well as the son, were so excited that he got to be in the group with his hero David Toms.

We had an informal putting contest in our booth. The golfers that could hole the most putts in a row were given free games of golf. On Thursday, we had a guy hit 30 in a row, then another on Friday actually made 102 in a row, believe it or not. Saturday’s record was 34, I think. I enjoyed watching the young kids putt. We had two brothers, by the name of Koby and Caleb, who putted amazingly. I told them that they would probably be playing in the real tournament one day. Remember those names! By the way, I’ve never seen so many kids who are obviously Ricky Fowler fans – they all wear his patented hat; some go as far as to wear the complete outfit-one small kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old was decked out in Ricky’s Sunday Orange, complete with orange hat, shirt, pants, and shoes. Wow!

We were fortunate to have the Lieutenant Governor, Jay Dardenne, stop by the booth on Saturday, and Steve got interviewed on the radio for the NOLA Golf Show.

Since they wouldn’t allow me to bring my camera to the golf tournament, the photo above is from my book. It is a picture of the seventeenth green from the eighteenth hole cart path. I used this photo because, by coincidence, our booth was very close to the place this photo was taken (By the way, the egret was actually taken at Olde Oaks in Shreveport and I photoshopped him into the TPC photo for effect). The photos below I took with my cell phone. They do allow cell phones at this tournament. The first photo shows our booth. You may be able to see the similarity view to the first photo. The final photo is from the Eighteenth Hole Cypress Suites from the Audubon Golf Trail sweet on the second floor. You can see the eighteenth (in the forground) and ninth greens.

 

Audubon Golf Trail Booth at Zurich Classic

 

Finally, my friend Gay aske

View from 18th Green Cypress Suites at Zurich Classic

d me to post a photo of Tripod, the famous three legged alligator who hangs out on the back nine at TPC Louisiana. I was playing number 18 with friends when we spotted him lying on a rake next to the sand trap near the eighteenth green. I didn’t actually realize this was Tripod until I saw a TV video of him and noticed the two missing tail spikes. I wish I had gotten a closer picture from the front (his missing leg is the right front one), but the chicken in me took over. Here you go, Gay:

 

Tripod the Alligator

Local Rule:

Golfer may drop another golf ball without penalty in a safe position, no closer to the hole, should an alligator sit on, guard, ingest, or otherwise endanger said golfer when approaching his/her original golf ball. Golfers may only evoke this rule if the original golf ball is within approximately ten gator lengths of the ball. The use of this rule should rest solely on the judgement of said golfer. Measurement is discouraged, as is original ball retrieval.

© rt tulley

ganoo

dad and i so loved

the joy of watching

the great golf professionals at ganoo

watching them boom the ball

and see the great things they could do

and after every tournament

we would feel so inspired

it certainly looked easy

to be as good as we aspired

but on the return back home

it didn’t take but a few shots

of chunks, dunks, and ob’s

to realize that we were still as bad

as we originally thought.

© rt tulley

 

Black Bear Golf Course

My wife and I stopped by Black Bear Golf Course recently on our way home from Monroe, LA. Director of Golf, Eric Kaspar, allowed us to take a cart out on the golf course. Although this is December and nearly winter, and most of the green is gone from the fairways, I love the winter colors. They are muted but show a wide array of greens, browns, gold to yellows, with some tinges of reds. This is just a magnificent golf course. I just enjoy riding around on it. I also saw Black Bear Lodge for the first time. This looks to be nice and we discussed getting the family there in the spring for a get-together. It is a peaceful and beautiful setting. …And of course-GOLF!

Black Bear #1

Black Bear #1

 
Black Bear #2

Black Bear #2

 

Black Bear #18

Black Bear #18

 

Black Bear Lodge

Black Bear Lodge

 

Black Bear Lodge from #9 Green

Black Bear Lodge from #9 Green

 On the way out of town on our route home we stopped at the local Burger King for a bathroom break for my wife. I found this photo waiting at the back of the BK parking lot:

Delhi Watertower & Horses

Delhi Watertower & Horses

 

 

Tamahka Trails

 
Tamahka Trails #4, par 3

Tamahka Trails #4, Par 3

My wife Bebe and I drove up to Marksville to stay at the Paragon Casino Resort Hotel for our anniversary this year. While we were there I played Tamahka Trails for about the fourth time. It was the third Audubon golf Trail course that Bebe and I have visited on one of our anniversaries. This trend began with Cypress Bend Resort in 2002 and was followed by Carter Plantation in 2003. I also was able to meet Matt Goldsmith, the pro at Tamahka. The course was just about how I remembered it-very pretty and playable. It requires accurate placement of your shots, primarily because of the large number of bunkers strategically placed on each hole. This time I believe I hit more bunkers than ever before. From personal experience, I will have to say that if your ball is near the high bank on the front side of a bunker that you will have a most difficult shot. You will not be able to hit anything other than a very lofted club if you are close to one of the embankments. I was forced to hit out of two fairway bunkers with my sand wedge just to put the ball in play.

Tamahka Trails - Bunkers on #8

Tamahka Trails - Bunkers on #8, par 4

All in all, I found that my favorite holes still remained my favorites – #7 stands out above the rest.

Tamahka Trails #7

Tamahka Trails #7 from creek near green looking down the fairway

 #9 still ranks among the hardest holes for me, however, I was finally able to get over my 7 average on that hole to make a par for the first time. It took two good wood shots, a pitching wedge, and a one putt to achieve this goal. But all they do at the end of the day is say how many, not how did you do it (although my total “how many” is definitely nothing to write home about). I still find #13 a very difficult par 5. Unfortunately, it was my worst score of the day this time. So you want to know how many? – I’ll never tell.

Tamahka Trails #13, par 5

Tamhka Trails - Cavernous sandtraps on #13, par 5

I found a great internet special for $29 to golf between Tuesday and Thursday or $35 for Friday through Sunday. This special lasts until August 31 and is good if you are an Email Club member. I also found a hotel special of $49.95 online. Just Google “Paragon Resort Specials”. We stayed in the North Tower and had a wonderful King Size bed and a nice bathroom with a Jacuzzi. After we spent the night in the hotel, we drove to Natchez to wander through the downtown shops. It was a lovely drive which took less than an hour and a half. Natchez is a beautiful and quaint town. All you arts and antique shoppers, as well as antebellum home lovers, will most assuradely find this town to their liking. We found a really nice bookstore called Cover to Cover Books & More at 401 Main Steet in Natchez. They sell a lot of beautiful coffee table books and used books and also have a large web business (http://www.c2cbooks.com/). The wonderful people at the bookstore told us about a photo exhibit at the First Presbyterian Church, which is just around the corner from the bookstore. For those interested in historical photographs, this exhibit is outstanding!

(A note-you may not want to go to Natchez on a Sunday. Bebe and I went there for another anniversary several years ago on Sunday and found there was nothing open except for the Wal-Mart, the Casino, and a movie theater. We chose the movies but when we went there they told us the projector was broken. So Wal-Mart became out entertainment. Thus, I highly recommend the Wal-Mart in Natchez on a Sunday night!). 

Tamahka Trails #5, par 5

Tamahka Trails #5, par 5

Tamahka Trails #15

Tamahka Trails #15, par 3Tamahka Trails #5, par 5

 -rt

Lt. Governor Accepts Signed Copy of Louisiana Golfer’s Paradise

On 6/15/11 I presented Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne with a signed copy of Louisiana Golfer’s Paradise: The Audubon Golf Trail. I would like to thank Lt. Governor Dardenne for his warm reception and interest in the book. The Lt. Governor is in charge of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism which runs the Audubon Golf Trail. I could not have asked for a more wonderful reception from everybody in the Ddepartment of Culture, Recereation,and Tourism and the Office of Tourism. I would like to give special thanks to Steve Windham of the Lt. Governor’s office for his help and support.

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and rt tulley

Lt. Governor Dardenne Receives Louisiana Golfer's Paradise from rt tulley - Photo by Steve Windham

 -rt

 

Cypress Bend Book Signing

 
#18 Green with Rainbow Sprinker at Cypress Bend Resort
#18 Green with Rainbow Sprinker

 
Cypress Bend Staff & Kerry Bennett in Kitchen
Cypress Bend Staff & Kerry Bennett in Kitchen

I just returned from a book signing event at Cypress Bend Resort. The people there are wonderful. I still feel strongly that this is a most wonderful retreat and vacation spot. It’s beauty is inspiring. Kerry Bennett, the Manager was simply wonderful, as were all the staff at Cypress Bend. My wife Bebe and I were treated like royalty. I heard plans for putting more money into the golf course to improve it. That will be great, but no matter what, you can’t find a more beautiful setting for golf.

 

Cypress Bend Golf Group

Justin Mann, Ken Rams, Obie Agbasi, David Jett, and rt tulley

I enjoyed a wonderful round of golf with 3 professionals (Ken Rams and Justin Mann of Cypress Bend and Obie Agbasi of Black Bear) as well as the person that was given the ‘honor’ of playing with me, David Jett, who is head of the Lake Bistineau state park. Despite my horrible golfing, David lightened up the atmosphere by telling jokes and being an all round great guy. Thanks David. David had a nice round and he and I got to witness firsthand how golf is supposed to be played. The pros, hit their drives over the trees on the right toward the par 4 dogleg right 16th green and made it over the water. I drove into the trees to the right, layed up to the hazard with an 8 iron and then went for the green on my third. Drive and chip for the pros. Such a wide disparity between us. 
 
Ken and Justin mentioned that the course record was 66. Although this is very good, I was a little surprised that it is not lower. But after playing the course again, I can understand why. You must keep your ball in the fairways or you will be in trouble. Nearly every time I missed a fairway I found myself in thick trees. The only shot was to chip out into the fairway, basically losing a stroke every time. Although the course is not long, it can be treacherous with the trees, hills, and water.
Obie Agbasi on #16 Tee

Obie Agbasi Hits Over the Trees on the Right at #16 Toward the Green

Obie mentioned during the round that I was moving my head. Then afterwards, when we were eating lunch, he told a joke about the professional that repeatedly kept telling the amateur that he wasn’t keeping his head down. When the amateur asked why he kept saying ‘keep your head down,’ the professional said “so you won’t see the rest of us laughing at you!” I guess that summarizes the day in a nutshell. rt

 © 2011 rt tulley