Golfing in New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast | Rock Candy

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Golfing in New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast

Posted on Wed, Apr 26, 2006 at 12:56 AM

Here's a good story via Golf World on the golf business in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the damage suffered at New Orleans' First Tee program for kids, after Hurricane Katrina:

For a lucky few, golf is as normal as golf in a wasteland can be. New Orleans CC and Metairie CC were under 6 to 12 feet of water. At Metairie, more than 300 bags of clubs stayed underwater for the duration of the flood. "I've refinished and regripped more than 200 sets of clubs," Metairie assistant professional Tommy Mayne says. "I never want to regrip another set again."



For others, the wasteland remains all too real. Destroyed and desolate, like most of the houses in the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood surrounding it, Joseph Bartholomew Memorial GC still gets play, of a sort. Around lunchtime, a fivesome from Fluor Corporation was on the tee. They had found a metal 3-wood and a handful of dirty balls and were taking big, ugly swings in old work boots and laughing. Glenn Madison, a policeman, was on one of the tees along Congress Drive with a red shag bag and floppy hat that dangled a neck shade to protect against the sun, digging his game out of the dirt and weeds. Eric St. Julian, a guy with 20 years in at UPS and one of the adult supervisors of New Orleans' First Tee program, was in a corner of the driving range. He brought a chipped and dented small wire bucket filled with scruffy looking balls to hit in pretty much any direction he wanted with his strong, smooth motion.



"What I enjoyed when I first started playing golf was going by in the evening, like right now," Julian says, "and the old-timers are hanging around telling stories. They talk about life, they talk about golf. And the young guys are just hanging around, and you go out on the driving range and they give you a little lesson. It was just a beautiful feeling. That's what I miss about it, that community feeling. There's rarely in our society [a place] where young people and old people mix in a comfortable environment. That is one place. A golf place."

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