, Port Arthur, Texas


February 11, 2014

West golf notepad: Winter weather taking bite out of golf rounds

PORT ARTHUR — Nobody knows better than Babe Zaharias pro head Ed Campbell what a miserable winter we’ve had in Southeast Texas. By mid-morning Tuesday, Campbell had made the decision to close the doors for the 11th time since the Dec. 1.

    “I can’t remember a winter when we had to totally shut down for so many days,” Campbell said. “I remember one year in the early 1980s when we had a stretch of terrible weather that stretched into early March. But I don’t think we totally lost as many days as we have this year.”

    Campbell said play at the Babe is down 25 percent from a comparable period during last winter.

    “It’s not just the days when we haven’t even opened, it’s also the days that are so borderline that most people just don’t want to deal with the conditions,” he said. “When the temperatures are in the 40s and the wind is blowing, you have to really want to play to get out there.”

    If there’s a silver lining in all the frigid, damp conditions, it’s that some of the most playable times have been on Saturdays. All four of the Saturday tournaments on The First Tee of The Golden Triangle-Southeast Texas Junior Winter Tour have been played as scheduled. And the outlook is good for this weekend.

    Meanwhile, take it from one who knows first hand — what we’ve dealt with the past three months is balmy compared to other parts of the country. Growing up in Missouri, I’d go much of the winter without ever getting to play. Even when it was warm enough to get outside, the ground would be too soggy from melting snow.

    The University of Missouri golf team seldom got to play or practice from mid November to the first of March. It made me acutely aware that there had to be better places to live. That’s why when the Missouri golf coach pointed me toward Lamar, I couldn’t get out of town fast enough. And I’ve never looked back.

    CHIP SHOTS: PN-G’S heavily recruited junior star Braden Bailey gave himself an early birthday present Saturday by winning Boys 16-18 by nine shots in the Southeast Texas Junior Winter Tour tournament at Henry Homberg Golf Club. Bailey, who turned 17 on Tuesday, shot even par 72. His PN-G teammate, Brandon Soileau, placed second with an 81. Other flight winners were Brice Perryman (78 in Boys 14-15), Jessica Rogina (81 in Girls 16-18, Jack Burke (76 in Boys 12-13), Mackenzie Sears (60 in Girls 12-15, 9  holes), Micah DePew (41 in Co-ed 10-11, 9 holes) and Abhay Duggal (34 in Co-ed 7-9, 6 holes) . . . PN-G’s girls golf team, paced freshman Karlei Hemler, won its second consecutive tournament Monday at Idylwild Golf Club. Hemler shot at 86 in frigid conditions to place second by one stroke to Silsbee’s Allison Davis  in medal competition. PN-G’s team total was 436. Silsbee was second at 440 and LC-M placed third at 441 . . . The team of Steve Picou, David Arnaud, David English and Paul Brown won the Babe Zaharias DogFight with 12 points. Tied for second with 11 points was the team of Cody Metts, Don MacNeil, Robert Bonin and Paul Brown and the foursome of Randy Monk, Larry Johnson, Ivory Hatch and Art Miller. Closest to the hole winners were John House (No. 2) and Picou (No. 12) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format, with the team of Adam Noel, Walter Colvin, Richard Sibley and Don MacNeil winning the front in minus 5. On the back, the team of Steve Picou, Andrew Sigur, Larry Johnson and Paul Brown had the low score of minus 3 . . . Chris Stroud, who didn’t play the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, and is skipping the next two weeks, didn’t fall much on the money list or in Fed Ex Cup points. Stroud dropped from 18th to 20th in money won ($836,120) and from 20th to 22nd in Fed Ex points. He didn’t lose any ground at all in the Official Golf World Rankings, remaining at No. 84 . . . Houston Astros owner Jim Crane had an up close and personal view of Baylor ex Jimmy Walker winning for the third time in the 2013-14 wraparound season last weekend at Pebble Beach. Crane, who is close to a scratch player, was Walker’s pro-am partner. They had an outside chance of winning the pro-am competition going into Sunday’s final round, but Walker’s closing 74 left them with a best ball of 70 and in a tie for 14th . . . Crane, by the way, is indirectly getting involved with college golf. His fabulous Floridian golf property in Palm City, Fla., is hosting many of the nation’s elite collegiate programs March 24-25 in the Floridian Invitational. Brian White and his Lamar University golf team will be one of the participating teams. Among the perks for the college kids will be a clinic put on by the world’s No. 1 ranked golf instructor, Butch Harmon. Harmon’s son, Claude III, oversees the Floridian 4,500 square foot learning center that was built to Butch’s specifications. Take it from someone who’s been there, the place is mind blowing. The Floridian, incidentally, is where Tiger Woods played a round of golf with President Obama, Crane and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk last February . . . Many thanks to Ed Campbell for his assistance in putting together the 2014 Southeast Texas tournament schedule that appears elsewhere on this page. If you know of a tournament that didn’t get listed, please get in touch with me at the e-mail address or phone number listed at the bottom of this column.

    Golf news should be e-mailed to or faxed to 724-6854.

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