Mallard Cove uses pin placement to create challenges

Golfers winding up play in the Shine Flournoy tournament at Mallard Cove today are expected to find hole placements on the greens among the toughest ever.

Club professional Derek Smith said he and greens superintendent Robert Fray were looking for more speed on the greens, but because of the continuing treatment of the greens, that wasn’t going to happen for the event.

He said an usual stimp speed of 11 or 12 wasn’t going to be and the greens will probably will be rolling at a 9. So to make the greens more in tune to the usual at the tournament, they decided to put the holes in more difficult locations.

Fray and his crew have been working at top speed in getting Mallard’s greens back to where they were before a misapplication of herbicide caused grass and root loss on all but two.

“It happened the first week of November,” Fray said of the incident, “but the grass was dormant when it happened and we didn’t realize it (the problems) until February.”

Also, Fray was out with an illness throughout December and January.

Grass experts, along with various course superintendents from throughout the U.S., were contacted and samples sent to the LSU College of Agriculture, everything was done in an effort to solve the problem.

The answer appeared to be to re-sprig the grass (TiffEagle) on the affected greens. However, sprigs were not available until May. 

“The second week of May we put the sprigs down and began to see some growth towards the end of the month. We’re about 87 to 89 percent covered now. We have also transplanted some sod (taken from the chipping green) to make the interior as playable as possible.

“Barring anything unforeseen — if the greens keep growing — we should be almost completed covered by November,” said Fray, who is a graduate of Texas Tech (horticultural degree in turf grass management) and an Army veteran. “The golfers have been patient and understanding, and I appreciate that. It’s been a tough, tough situation. It’s one of those things to go from being very good to ‘wow’.

Sid Bradley came from two strokes behind to win last week’s Gray Plantation senior men’s club championship that was shortened to 27 holes due to lightning. He shot 74-33—107.

Defending champion Quitman Moon finished second with 72-38—110 and Benny Holcombe was third with 74-38—111.

Bill Terry won the super senior division title and the net winner in that division was George Arnold.

The team of David Doyle and Frank Brame won the recent Beauregard Country Club member-guest tournament.

The duo posted a 36-hole total of 63-60—123 to take the crown by a shot over Eddie Joslin and Buddy Burks (65-59—124). The 59 that Joslin and Burks posted the final day was the low round of the event.

Third place was taken by the team of Russel Wingate and Cory Harris (61-64—125).

Mark and Roger Wiegand and Shawn Booty and Eddie O’Nan tied for second flight honors with 133, Marty Reed and Matt Burns tied with Steve Eaves and Damon Land for third flight honors (134) and David Durham and Will Anderson won the fourth flight with a 144.

Posting the longest drives were Danny Tilton and Billy Dressler, Reggie Johnson and Dave Wiggins had closest-to-the pin shots and Dan Hennigan and Logan Johnson had the most accurate drives.

Drew Ainsworth won another Southwest Louisiana Junior Golf Association tour title last week, shooting an 82 at The National in Westlake. Collin Darby and Colin Schram tied for second place with 85s while Natalie Clemmons took the girls title.

In the boys 13- to 14-year-old category, Caleb Fontenot shot the day’s best score, a 4-over-par 76 while Austin Nolen shot 85 and Zachary Robertson 87.

This year’s tour will wrap up on Aug. 8 with the championship being played at Mallard Cove. 

Two holes-in-one were reported the past week, one by Curtis Duplechain at The National and one by Steve Eaves at the Beauregard Country Club. It was the first ace for the 68-year-old Duplechain as he knocked in a 6-iron from 146 yards on the No. 2 hole.

Eaves had the top individual shot in the Beauregard Country Club member-guest, holing out on No. 11 the final day.

The Westlake city tournaments begin this week with the juniors playing Wednesday and Thursday and the senior men taking the course on Saturday and Sunday.

The women’s championship will be played Aug. 12-13 and the men’s championship Aug. 18-20.

Players can contact the pro shop for tournament entry information.


Saturday-Sunday — Plantation four ball, Gray Plantation.

Aug. 14 — J.T. Mitchell Memorial, Lake Charles Country Club.

Louis Bonnette has written about local golf for the American Press since 1971. His column appears each Sunday. Contact him at 274-5689 or