Preparation

 

Golf Tees

Golf Tees

I am thankful for preparation.  Good preparation requires careful planning, education, study, research, and practice.

Golf tees are used to set the ball up for the first shot on every hole. For that reason, I use golf tees here to represent preparation. Golf tees are the most simple and humble of all golf equipment, and although golf could technically be played without them, their use allows the ball to be put up into the air above the ground and permit better unimpeded contact with the ball. Thus, tees allow for better and longer drives. So it is with good preparation for anything. Although sometimes we can “wing it” without preparation, if we are well prepared our chances for success are much greater.

Golf tees now are mostly wooden or plastic. My dad told me that when he first began playing golf, sand was supplied at the teeing ground in boxes and mixed with a little water to mold a sand tee. Thus came the name “tee box” for the teeing ground. The first golf tee, which sat on top of the ground, was patented in 1889. It was only later (1892) that a patent for tees which were pushed into the ground was issued. It wasn’t until the 1920s that wooden golf tees began to become routinely used with the advent of the “Reddy Tee” (Brent Kelley, Ask.com). I still have some antique golf tees my dad gave me, some of which are wedge looking and others, called Rite Hite tees, which have a ridge which automatically set the proper height to tee up the ball. Tees have gotten longer over the years with the advent of the oversized driver, however, tees today are not nearly as exciting or revolutionary as the wedge tee or the Rite Hite tee.  However, modern tees do the job just fine.

 

tee it up

 

it seems that on many nights

i have this recurring dream

in which i am trying to tee up my ball

and no place is adequate it seems

i keep trying new places

on which to tee the ball

but no matter where it goes

off the tee it soon falls

and my partners begin to get agitated

because i am so slow

so i rapidly tee it up in a place

that obstructs my swing though

when i try to hit the ball then

it only dribbles off of the ball tee

so i wonder what it is that this dream

and my psyche are trying to tell me?

© rt tulley

Golf Balls

golf balls

I am thankful for golf balls. I know this sounds strange. I liked them before I even began playing golf. My dad had a shag bag of them he kept in the hall closet in our old home in Edinburg, Indiana. I couldn’t have been more than about 6 years old when I played with them. I rolled them down the hall and had contests between the brands of balls as to which rolled further. In my book, Titleist was always the winner. I remember telling my dad that I liked the “tit least” balls the best. He corrected me on the pronunciation explaining it was “title-ist”. I’m glad he rectified that serious blunder before I began playing golf. Can you imagine how the other boys would have teased me about that one? They didn’t need any more ammunition!

When I began playing golf, I found a new and better use for golf balls – hitting them long and straight at little targets made of shortly cropped grass, centered at a small hole in the ground, and imbibing the wonderful feeling into my very soul as the ball met the clubhead dead center (It’s an indescribable feeling that courses through the clubhead, up the shaft, into your hands, up your arms, and somehow makes its way into the pleasure centers of your brain).  And more often than I would like to admit, I also tested out how the golf balls responded when hit into water, out of bounds, or into impossible lies-which I did quite often!

Golf balls have been improved. Now they can go 300+ yards routinely, even approaching 400 yards (not at my hands, I promise, although I did hit one about 340 yards once but I was the beneficiary of a very strong back wind). There are golf balls for fast swinging golfers, slow swinging golfers, and in between.  Balls that go straighter, farther, or higher. It’s too complicated for me. With my swing, it doesn’t really matter what kind of ball I use. The results are pretty much the same. Forlorn.  

I went through a stage when Maxfli was my favorite ball. But I think that was the rebellious teenager in me at the time. Now, of course, tit least is the ball of choice. Of course. It rolls further down the hall.

wish i had a dollar

 

wish I had a dollar

for every golf ball

that i shanked

or hit into the water

or even a nickel

for every one

that ended up in a pickle

or subsequently failed to fly

or hit out of bounds

in sand or unplayable lie

buried in the ground

if i stayed out of the ditch

if only if

then i would be kind of rich

of course…

if i had not played golf at all

and erstwhile saved all my golf money

i’d be wealthy with

a disposition much more sunny.

(oh shucks but what the heck

i’m hitting the golf ball again

so you should hit the deck!)

© rt tulley

Top Golf Courses in Louisiana

I would like to start a new stream on the top golf courses in Louisiana. Your input is welcome. Some that I have played include:

Atchafalaya at Idlewild, Patterson

A well maintained, beautiful Louisiana style wetlands golf course. Plenty of mounding, a challenging but fair layout and oodles of wildlife make this one of the best Louisiana golf courses you will find. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.

 Beaver Creek, Zachary

I recently played this BREC golf course and was very impressed. The course is a mixture of American Links style and Louisiana wetland course. It is very challenging, well maintianed, and each hole is different.

Black Bear Golf Club, Delhi

A nice layout featuring rolling terrain, plenty of water hazards, and trees. Just a beautiful and challenging golf course. One of my favorites! Keep your eye out for the black bears, which have been spotted occassionally on the property. A lodge is now open on the grounds for overnight stays. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.

The Bluffs, St. Francisville

My wife, Bebe, surprised me on my birthday one year by kidnapping me and taking me to stay in the lodge and play golf at this Arnold Palmer designed golf course. What a beautiful golf course with plenty of water, hills, and trees, built on property that John James Audubon roamed in the creation of his Birds of America book! I have not played the course in a while but have heard that it is recovering from the economy. I love Arnold Palmer’s golf courses. He is never seriously penal but always challenging.

Carter Plantation, Springfield

This course, the first design of my favorite golfer, David Toms, is a true beauty. Tall pines and hardwoods combine with plenty of water to create a difficult but fair test of golf. Only 30 minutes from Baton Rouge, it is truly a lovely visit to the country. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.

Copper Mill, Zachary

This is a well designed golf course. A little unusual in that it has three par 3s and three par 5s on each nine. But the course has plenty of strategy and is well maintained. I recommend it highly.

Country Club of Louisiana, Baton Rouge

I have played this Jack Nicklaus designed course only once. It is situated on perhaps the lovliest property in Baton Rouge. It was redesigned this year and I have not gotten any feedback on it. Please let me know what you think. I remember there being a few harsh design elements, such as on number nine there was a bowl like depression on the green. I ended up putting around and through it and my ball ended up back at my feet because I didn’t hit it hard enough. Another one was on the tenth hole where a series of traps with high banks prevented me from hitting anything out but a wedge back into the fairway. But hey, it’s not much different than hitting into water, I guess. Stroke penalty. At least you don’t lose your ball.

Cypress Bend Resort, Many

This Dave Bennett design is stunning in its beauty and elevation changes. Situated along the Toledo Bend Lake, this will amaze you with its beauty. While you’re taking in the views don’t forget to hit the ball!

Gray Plantation, Lake Charles

A nice Louisiana swamp style golf course situated on the Calcassieu waterway and member of the Audubon Golf Trail. This course has it all and is one of my favorites. One of my favorite par 5s in Louisiana is the number 7, double fairway hole. There are too many excellent holes to mention here.

The Island, Plaquemine

Another member of the Audubon Golf Trail, this Mike Young design is actually not an island, but is situated between Bayou Plaquemine and Bayou Jacob. Bayou Jacob makes the biggest impact, with at least five holes impacted by its sluggish waters. Number two is a wonderful par 5 crossing the bayou twice. Ten, eleven, and twelve also make heavy use of the bayou as a hazard. Very nice holes!

The Oaks of Sherwood, Baton Rouge

I had to include the course I grew up on, the previous Sherwood Forest Country Club. The course is now open to the public and still well maintained. The trees have grown since I was a young  pup and present tighter fairways and more of a challenge. A throwback to old traditional golf, this is a nice golf experience.

OakWing, Alexandria

A Jim Lipe design, this course sits on the former England Airforce Base. This course has varying types of holes and types of shots, making it a wonderful combination of Louisiana wetland course and American links styles. A nice golfing experience.

Olde Oaks,

This Hal Sutton design consists of 18 holes of rolling terain and 9 holes of American links style golf. The nines, called Cypress, Oaks, and Meadow offer a differing golf experience. The links course, the Meadow, is perhaps the most difficult. Plenty of water and/or wetlands, this course is beautiful and is home to a wide variety of birds.

Santa Maria Golf Club, Baton Rouge

My favorite Baton Rouge golf course. I was a charter member of this previously private club when it went belly up and I had to eat my $7000 deposit. When BREC (Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation) bought the property for a song, I thought it would become a goat ranch. Much to my joy and happiness, they have done an excellent job of keeping up this Robert Trent Jones gem. I wish the houses were a little farther away from some of the holes but otherwise, this is a truly outstanding golf course, with some undulations not normally seen in Baton Rouge. The fifth hole is the most difficult par three I have ever played. The green is narrow left to right and there are water hazards on both sides. There is no bale out place except in front of the green, and that in itself is a difficult shot owing to the narrowness of the fairway.

Tamahka Trails, Marksville

A Steve Smyers design, run by the Tunica Biloxi Tribe at the Paragon Casino Resort has only one lake on site but the strategically arranged high banked bunkers will reach out to grab you. Rolling fairways, plenty of trees, and oh yeah, did I mention bunkers? Number 7 is one of my all time favorite holes. A midrange par 4 dogleg right past a series of bunkers on the right, downhill to a creek, which snakes around the elevated green. I continue to shoot a bad score on this monster, but oh how I love it!

TPC Louisiana, Avondale

A Pete Dye creation, where the Zurich Classic is played annually. The familiar Dye elements of sand, pot bunkers, and railroad ties are all there. This previous cypress swamp is very nice. Tell them if you are a Louisiana resident so that you can get a discount on the pricey green fee. But to play a course you see the pros play on TV is a pleasure. Plenty of wildlife and some aligators. A member of the Audubon Golf Trail.

University Club, Baton Rouge

David Toms and Jim Lipe recently redesigned this Jim Lipe design. I have not played the course since then, however, I thought it was a first rate golf course before that. I expect that it is even better now.

The Wetlands, Lafayette

This Audubon Golf Trail course, run by Lafayette Parks, seems easy after the first few holes but it picks up pace and will bite you by the end. Designed by Landscape Frank Burandt, who used to work with Nicklaus design, this is one fine layout. The last three holes are among the best finishing holes you will find.

 

Courses which have received accolades but I have not played include:

Contraband Golf Course at L’auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles

A Tom Fazio design.

English Turn Country Club, New Orleans

A Jack Nicklaus design which previously hosted the New Orleans Open.

Farm D’Allie Golf Club, Carencro

This Jeffery Blume designed golf course has made several top rankings in Louisiana.

Koasati Pines Golf Club, Kinder

In association with the Coushatta Casino. A Kevin Tucker design, this course has gotten very good reviews.

Lakewood, New Orleans

The former home of the New Orleans Open, this course was redesigned by Ron Garl and owned by the New Orleans Firefighters Pension Fund.

LaTriomphe Golf and Country Club, Broussard

A Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design.

LaTour, Matthews

A David Toms deisned links-style course.

Links on the Bayou, Lake Charles

An Alexandria public course designed by Mike Young, who also designed The Island. This course sits next to OakWing Golf Course.

Metairie Country Club

This course, built in 1922 by Seth-Raynor, is unique in that each hole is a replica of a Scottish or American golf hole.

Money Hill Country Club, Abita Springs

A Ron Garl design which has ranked number one in the state several times. The property consists of plenty of trees and rolling hills, as well as water.

National Golf Club of Louisiana, Westlake

 A Dave Bennett design.

Oakbourne Country Club, Lafayette

A Robert Trent Jones designed golf course, which has received good reviews.

Southern Trace Country Club, Shreveport

David Toms home course designed by Arthur Hills.

Squire Creek Country Club, Choudrant

A Tom Fazio design in Choudrant, near Ruston

I will update this list and comment on each in the near future. I welcome your input. -rt