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UL golf team wants fans to join them in Hawaii

Dan McDonald, The Advertiser, August 2, 2017

UL’s golf team enjoyed last year’s fall tournament trip to Kauai, Hawaii, and the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational so much, they’re headed back to the Islands this October.

This time, the Ragin’ Cajuns want you to come along.

The Cajuns will head for one of Hawaii’s paradise spots for a six-night stay from Oct. 26-31, joining 19 other collegiate teams in the three-day tournament, and coach Theo Sliman is encouraging Cajun fans, golfers and fans of beaches and sunshine to join in and spend extended time with team members.

Sliman and the UL squad did that last year and had a group of 10 followers take part, some of whom tagged the trip to Kauai onto the end of a trip to other islands in Hawaii. It was the Cajuns’ first venture to the Aloha State.

“It was pretty special to have the Ragin’ Cajun logo not just on the bag, but in the galleries,” Sliman said of the group that spent some of their day watching the team participate in the tournament. “To bring that logo to Kauai was pretty special, both for our student-athletes and for our fans.”

The tournament is played on the Princeville Makai Golf Club, a seaside venue that provides stunning views of Kauai’s north shore and the nearby mountains. Accommodations can be secured at the Wyndham Bali Hai Villas, which run adjacent to the course and are walking distance from the beach, but there are also numerous options including an extensive number of VRBO condominiums in the same location.

In fact, Sliman and the team will house in one of those condos, a four-bedroom property only a couple of hundred yards from the Bali Hai Villas.

Plans are for the team to fly into Kauai on Oct. 26, and Friday’s itinerary has the team and its followers spending all day together. The team and all interested followers who choose to play will have an unofficial “practice” round with Sliman and the team, and then will drive to Kauai’s southern end to participate in the famed Kilohana Plantation Luau.

“Some people I’ve talked to that have been to some of the luaus in Hawaii have been disappointed,” Sliman said, “but everyone that went to this one with us last year thought it was really well done and they thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one of the top luaus on any of the Islands.”

The team has its official practice round Saturday, and fans on the trip will play at another nearby course before another evening activity. The tournament itself runs Sunday-Tuesday with teams playing 18 holes daily and fans are invited to come and watch at no charge.

In contrast to many collegiate tournaments, the teams will play only one round each day instead of the normal 36-18 two-day event. And with an 8 a.m. shotgun start each day, play will end not long after noon, giving followers the rest of the afternoon and evening on their own for more golf (the tournament course has some availability during the afternoon) or other ventures.

There is also a cookout scheduled with the team following Tuesday’s final round and before the return flight on Wednesday.

“Since we’re playing 18 holes a day,” Sliman said, “our fans can come out and watch and support the team in the morning and then have some freedom in the afternoon to play, or spend time on the beaches  with the team and other supporters.”

Sliman said fans will be responsible for their own flight and housing and will have to make those arrangements, but that he can help and give advice on the best housing locations. A quick check showed many housing options that were surprisingly affordable, including two-bedroom condos at Bali Hai and several other two-bedroom condominiums on the golf course that were in the $200-240 range per night (meaning that two couples could share a condo and keep the cost at just above $100/night).

Members of the Vermilion Links Club, the official support organization for the Cajun golf program, will have the first chance at the trip. However, Sliman said that anyone interested can get more information and reserve a spot by contacting him at (337) 962-3348 or by e-mail at tsliman@louisiana.edu.

Senior Open

Former UL All-American Mike Heinen wasn’t able to make it to the weekend’s play at last week’s British Senior Open Championships.

The Rayne native and current Lake Charles resident, who won the 1994 Shell Houston Open as the highlight to a 15-year career on the PGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, opened with an 83 over the difficult Royal Porthcawl Course and didn’t make the cut after Friday’s round.

Heinen received an invitation to play in the event due to a special exemption category for the “Senior Open” that allows a one-time entry for all former PGA Tour champions during the year that they reach their 50th birthday.

“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.