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July 27, 2016           New Orleans, LA

The following story was written by Darren Carroll and published on USGA.org.

I've been fortunate when it comes to golf. I grew up learning the game at a private club on Long Island, and my career as a magazine photographer has allowed me to combine my appreciation of the game with the opportunity to capture the sport at its highest levels. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been lucky enough to document major championships on the great American courses, the storied links of the Open rota and other famed venues.

So when a friend at the USGA asked me to produce a photo essay about a little municipal course I had never heard of, tucked into a neighborhood on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in a part of New Orleans I never knew existed, I must confess to thinking not much would come of it. I never expected this little out-of-the-way track would have such a fascinating story to tell.

Joseph M. Bartholomew Sr. Municipal Golf Course is a mouthful – perhaps that’s why regulars simply call it Joe Bart. But more than just a person and a place, the lengthy name evokes everything from golf to course architecture to race relations to natural disasters to navigating the politics of city government. It’s a history of community building (and rebuilding), and passing on the story of a quiet, unassuming individual who helped build that community through golf.


In 2011, the PGA and the USGA initiated the "Tee it Forward" campaign as a way to get golfers to enjoy their golfing experience more from a distance ‘best suited’ for their abilities.  Both organizations presented a media campaign with Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson, and Paula Creamer advocating golfers to "move up a set of tees."  According to the USGA's section on “Tee it Forward”, 56 percent of players surveyed who teed it forward played faster rounds and were likely to play golf more often.  Enjoying the game with lower scores and hitting shorter clubs into the green are unquestionably the goals of any player.  No one likes to play long Par 3s, 4s, or 5s where their best swings still leave them another long club for the next shot or no chance of reaching the green.  From a handicapping and score posting standpoint, in many cases golf courses are not rated for both genders from all sets of tees.  The Louisiana Golf Association (LGA) and all state and regional golf associations across the country since 2011, have begun to start rating all sets of tees for men from back to front and for women any yardage up to 6,400 yards.  This benefits all golf courses to be comparable when properly handicapping based on the playing abilities from a given set of tees.  The LGA’s efforts to get all sets of tees rated properly for both men and women is ongoing.  However, what are golfers to do when they play from a set of tees not rated for their gender?  There is a solution.


July 17, 2016               Westlake, Louisiana

John Justus of Baton Rouge and Donny Schmitt of Baton Rouge won the 2016 LGA Four-Ball Championship at The National Golf Club of Louisiana in dramatic fashion.  Justus and Schmitt shot bookend 65s to finish the Championship at 14-under par 130, and were tied for first with two other teams Zak Barton (Sulphur) / Blake Dereese (Westlake) and Jason Kuperman (Shreveport) / Taylor Netherton (Shreveport) after 36 holes.  An exciting sudden death playoff commenced, and Justus and Schmitt rose to the occasion to take home the title of best Amateur Four-Ball team in Louisiana.  Justus and Schmitt are members of The Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. 

The first playoff hole was the par 4 18th, and all three teams made par.  Justus had a chance to win the playoff on #18, but he missed a 15 foot birdie putt by a few inches.  The playoff continued to the par 5 17th, which was playing 494 yards on Sunday.  Justus was out for redemption after missing the chance to end the playoff earlier.  His partner hit his tee shot into the hazard to the right of the fairway, so Justus knew the pressure was on him to close it out.  Justus hit a beautiful tee shot down the middle of the fairway and followed it up with a hybrid to reach the green in two, leaving himself a 25 foot downhill putt.  His putt on #17 was longer than the one he had just missed on #18, but he drained it for an incredible eagle to secure the victory.  Kuperman and Netherton both had good looks at birdie on the 17th, but Justus did not allow those to come to fruition.


Alexandria, LA — July 11, 2016

Brandon Pierce of Covington, Louisiana earned medalist honors after shooting a 36 hole total of eight-under par 134 on Monday at the U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria.  Pierce shot a 68 in his first round and then fired the low round of the day in the afternoon, a five-under par 66.  Pierce, a member of the LSU Men’s Golf Team, will advance to the Championship proper at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield, Michigan to be conducted August 15-21, 2016.  Fernando Cruz Valle of The Woodlands, Texas also qualified for the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship after surviving a 4 hole playoff over Blake Caldwell of Ponchatoula, Louisiana and Eric Ricard of Shreveport, Louisiana.  This will be the first time for both Cruz and Pierce to compete in the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Pierce has battled injuries the last three summers, so he has not been able to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, making this experience all the more memorable.  Pierce put himself in contention with the first round 68 and started his second round two shots back of first round leaders Caldwell and Cruz Valle.  His second round 66 included six birdies, 11 pars, and one bogey coming at the par 4 15th hole, which was ranked as the toughest hole of the day.  Pierce played a crucial role in LSU’s 2015 Men’s Golf National Championship, and he is very comfortable in match play.  If he can qualify for match play at the U.S. Amateur, he will be tough to beat.  He said, “I love match play because if you make a high number on a hole, you can move past it easily.  I can make a lot of birdies, and I feel good about where my game is right now.  I’m excited about the opportunity to play in the U.S. Amateur and represent Louisiana.” 


Alexandria, Louisiana             July 8, 2016 

The final round of the 59th LGA Junior Amateur Championship was exciting and full of drama. Nick Daniel of Covington fired an eight-under par 64 at Links on the Bayou to win by one stroke over Brady Bennett of Zachary.  Daniel posted rounds of 72-73-64 to finish with a total of 7-under par 209.  He started the day eight shots off the lead, and his epic final round included 9 birdies and one bogey.  64 was the lowest round of this year’s Championship, and it is the lowest final round score ever shot by a Louisiana Junior Amateur Champion since the LGA began to utilize online scoring in 2004.   

Daniel started his round at 10:48 AM on the first tee and made a par on his opening hole, a par 5 playing 559 yards on Friday.  Daniel jumpstarted his round on the par 4 2nd hole, making the first of three consecutive birdies.  He made back-to-back pars on the par 4 5th hole and the par 3 6th.  He added another birdie at the par 5 7th but then made his lone mistake at the par 3 8th and carded a bogey.  He bounced back with a par on the par 4 9th hole, making the turn at three-under par 33.

Daniel said following his round, “I didn’t change my game plan. I tried to stay aggressive the whole time.”  That mindset was very apparent on his last nine holes.  Daniel made a birdie on the par 4 10th hole and a par at the par 4 11th.  He then added four consecutive birdies on holes 12 through 15.   He would make par on his last three holes, bringing his back nine total to 31.  Daniel was four starting times ahead of the final group so when he posted the 64, he was not sure if seven-under par would be enough to win. 


Greensboro, GA                  June 29, 2016

Angelica Harris of Harvey, Louisiana, and Daniel Berlin of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, were honored as the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award recipients on June 28. The awards were presented by USGA President Diana Murphy during the Rolex Dinner of Champions hosted in honor of the 132-player field competing at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.

The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.

Harris was honored for her efforts in starting “Angelica’s Angels,” a program built around the game’s fundamentals for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Public opinion to the contrary……….the USGA got it right.

By now almost everyone has weighed in with their perspective on the Dustin Johnson ruling at the U.S. Open Sunday.  Tour players and TV commentators alike have been quick to ostracize the USGA with comments like “bush league,” and “amateur hour.”

I’ve seen and/or heard a number of opinions about how the USGA got this one wrong……and while I certainly respect others’ opinions, I’d like to share mine as well.  And my opinion is that the USGA, in point of fact, got it right.


Springfield, Louisiana — June 12, 2016

James Anstiss of Hammond fired a final round 71 to win the 2016 Louisiana Golf Association Amateur Championship at Carter Plantation by three strokes over Hank Shaheen of DeQuincy.  Anstiss finished with a 72 hole total of nine-under par 279 after posting rounds of 66-71-71-71.  His dominant performance is the first wire-to-wire 72 hole victory since the LGA began to utilize online scoring in 2004.  Anstiss originally hails from picturesque Queenstown, New Zealand and grew up playing rugby.  He did not take up the game of golf until he was 15 years old and was able to earn a scholarship to play college golf for Southeastern Louisiana University where he is a rising Senior.  His impressive development over the course of the last few years has culminated in a Louisiana State Amateur Championship.


June 9, 2016 

The Louisiana Girls Junior Tri State team earned a record-breaking number of points this past week as they won the annual summer competition against teams from Arkansas and Mississippi. The event was held at the picturesque Old Waverly Golf Course in West Point, Ms.

Team Louisiana racked up 13 ½ points followed by Mississippi with 5 ½ and Arkansas with 5. The Louisiana girls played 16 matches over the two days of competition, winning 13, tying one and losing just two.

Members of the winning team were Tri State veterans Julia Johnson of Baton Rouge, Mary Chauvin of Hammond,  Abbey Daniel of Covington and Aoife O’Donovan of Monroe and first time Tri State players Brooke Duzan of Sulphur, Camille Simon of New Orleans, Brooke Tyree of Sulphur and Alden Wallace of Shreveport. The team was captained by Sandra Smith of Delhi with assistants Ali Lucas of Crowley and Savannah Ennis of Abita Springs. Also accompanying the team were LWGA President Mary Edwards and Secretary Pam Washington.

(e.g. State Amateur, GHIN, championship login)

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