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Golf: Cajuns facility getting close to birthday

Dan McDonald, The Advertiser, May 24, 2017

The anticipation is obvious in Theo Sliman’s voice.

UL’s golf coach has watched the construction process for the Ragin’ Cajuns’ first team facility over the past several months, and now the jewel that sits at the entrance to Oakbourne Country Club is all but ready for occupation. It’s not a minute too soon, because Sliman is comparing the $600,000 building to a pregnancy.

“If there’s such a thing as delivery week, we’re in it,” he joked. “We’re done with the third trimester. It’s close enough that every time I drive in the entrance and drive out, the hair on the back of my neck stands up and I’ve got a big smile inside every time I see it. I may be focused on something else and it doesn’t show on my face, but inside there’s a huge smile.”

The original plan was for completion on June 1, and that’s turning out to be a very good projection. It’s close enough that plans for the “official” ribbon cutting involving Oakbourne, the family of Brad and Don Mosing, the Vermilion Links group and UL personnel are well underway.

All major construction, including painting and interior work, has been completed. Attention has now turned to interior details, not the least of which is installing the state-of-the-art technology that will be included in the practice bays. In fact, that process began Tuesday, with Tim Cutshall of IA Sports arriving on site and beginning installation of technology that will bring a “wow” factor to the facility.

“He got here Monday night and started on Tuesday,” Sliman said. “He’s doing all of that, the artificial turf, the netting, the cameras, the monitors, all of the technology.”

The players’ lockers will be among the final touches, with Steve Mocek of Just Print It having finished the custom leather locker seats and turning those over to the carpenters, who will finish building and staining before delivering next week.

The final piece of the puzzle will likely be the exterior landscaping, a task that Oakbourne chief superintendent Jason Barras has already put in many hours.

“He did a great job of laying the sod around the construction site,” Sliman said of Barras, “and they’re going to come back in at the end of the construction and they’ve got some great plans for landscaping, shrubbery, hedges, and some flowers to give it some color.

“The building really matches Oakbourne’s traditional white brick really well, and when they finish the landscaping it’s going to be a really impressive looking place.”

The two-building, 4,000-square-foot facility will reap both immediate benefits as well as advantages to the Cajun program that haven’t even been thought of to this point. Part of that is the unique co-op arrangement between the university, the athletic department and Oakbourne that includes extension of memberships to the Cajun team and coach.

John and Buzzy Thompson of Thompson Brothers Construction have done the heavy lifting after local architect Knobbie Langlinais did the design of the first true “home” the UL program has ever had. It includes the technology-loaded all-weather practice areas, coaches’ offices and club repair facilities along with a team locker room and other badly needed areas.

The Oakbourne members will also benefit, since they and highly regarded Oakbourne pro Cliff Wagner will use one of those all-weather bays for teaching and lessons.

Construction of the facility was made possible by two $200,000 contributions from Oakbourne member and long-time Cajun supporter Brad Mosing and his father Don Mosing. An additional $250,000 was raised by 60 founding members of the Vermilion Links Club, the new support organization for Cajun golf.

“The whole process has been really neat to watch and be a part of,” Sliman said. “I’ve never built a house so I didn’t know that process, but people told me when the slab is poured that it would look smaller than anticipated and I felt that way. But now that the roof is on, the bricks are up, holy smokes, it’s bigger than I anticipated.

“When you drive in, it looks massive. But when you’re standing on the No. 1 tee or the No. 9 green, it looks smaller and it fits where it’s supposed to be. It’s when you get closer that it’s massive and even more beautiful.”

Pancreatic Cancer tourney

Kevin Naquin’s annual tournament to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research returns for its fifth year June 12 at Le Triomphe, and entries are now available for participation in the three-man scramble.

Kevin’s father Jessie, an active golfer, was diagnosed in 2001 with pancreatic cancer, but was fortunate enough to be in the very small percentage of patients for whom surgery was an option. Jessie has gone through numerous surgeries and treatments and continues his recovery, and Kevin’s family was also hit when his children’s grandfather Ray Girouard of Broussard passed away from pancreatic cancer last June.

The past four years, the tournament has raised more than $100,000 toward research, with all proceeds again benefiting the M.D. Anderson Network, the Lafayette General Foundation and Cancer Center of Acadiana.

Entry fee is $200 per player or $600 for a three-man team, and a $1,500 corporate sponsor package includes a three-man team, a hole sponsorship and display on the tournament website, www.naquin4pcr.com. Fees cover green and cart, tournament gift items, and food and beverages, and prizes go to the top three teams plus seven other random groups.

Entry deadline is June 9, and entry forms and more information are available on the website or from Kevin Naquin at 319-3817 or kevin@naquin4pcr.com, or Jessie Naquin at 288-5089 or jessie@naquin4pcr.com.

Vieux Chenes Seniors

The team of Glenn Biro, Bill Ball, Robert Watson and Morris Hoagland teamed for an 11-under-par 61 score to win the Vieux Chenes Senior Men’s Golf Association monthly event one week ago at Vieux Chenes.

The team of Richard Laughlin, Bill LeBlanc, John Fitzmaurice and Bucky Ware finished two shots back with a 63, while Don Everett, Kenny Granger, Glenn Morales and Butch Babin also shot 63 for third place and Damon Hanson, Guy Rials, Don Judice and David Shaffer finished fourth at 65.

Herb Reites took closest-to-the-hole honors at No. 17 out of the 32 players who participated.

Next outing for the group is Thursday. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with an 8 a.m. shotgun start, and the tournaments and membership in the group are open to all senior players. Information is available at the course or by calling 837-1159.

Web.com Tour addition

Next March’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER won’t be stuck on a schedule “island” nearly as much as this year’s event.

Last year’s Open didn’t have an event for four weeks running up to the Acadiana stop on the Web.com Tour, and the Tour schedule was also blank for three weeks after the local event. That won’t happen again, with Monday’s announcement of a new event on the Web.com Tour.

The Savannah Golf Championship will be held at Deer Creek at the Landings Club in Savannah, Georgia from March 26-April 1, beginning a five-year deal that runs through 2022. Next year’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open is scheduled for March 19-25, once again at Le Triomphe.

The $550,000 event, the same purse as the Louisiana Open, was announced Monday at the Savannah course by Web.com Tour president Dan Glod. “We’re excited to bring the Web.com Tour to Savannah because we believe in this market,” he said. “This is a vibrant city that has a strong passion and history with golf, and we look forward to working with the community and local businesses to grow this tournament on and off the course.”

The Landings Club, about 20 minutes from downtown Savannah, is a 4,500-acre private community with over 8,500 residents and six golf courses. Deer Creek is a Tom Fazio layout and was restored by Fazio in 2009.

Hebert scrambles

Hebert Municipal will continue its weekly scramble tournaments to provide players with late-Friday chances to play after-work events. The nine-hole scrambles are held every Friday and will continue through the summer and as long as daylight allows.

Entry fee is only $10 plus individual golf course fees, and registration will be held from 5-5:15 p.m. There will be a “captain’s pick” for teams from 5:15-5:30 p.m. and a shotgun start immediately after. Golfers of all experience and ability levels are invited and encouraged to participate in what’s a fun way to start the weekend. More information is available from the Hebert pro shop at 291-5557.

Don’t Bully, Play Golf

The inaugural Bullying Awareness and Prevention of Louisiana fundraiser tournament is set for June 3 at Vermilion Oaks in Abbeville, with all proceeds raised going to benefit that group and its efforts to stop bullying among area youth.

Entry fee is $75 per player for the 8 a.m. four-person scramble, and prizes will go to the top three teams as well as long drive, closest to the pin and door prizes. Lunch will be provided after play, and registration and information are available from David Bourque at 223-1247 or from Vermilion Oaks at 893-5203.

“Making the Turn” appears each Wednesday from February-November in the Daily Advertiser. Clubs, courses and individuals with information about local golf events may email Dan McDonald, editorial director at Golfballs.com, at danmcdonald@cox.net, FAX to (337) 857-8763 or call (337) 857-8754 and leave a message with phone number.