While the PGA tour is busy this weekend honoring Annika Sorenstam at The Memorial golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio, local golfers will have a chance to celebrate icons of the Baton Rouge golf community.
Beginning Saturday morning at Howell Park, BREC is hosting its own Memorial golf tournament honoring Al Michael and Emile Zachariah, who carved out careers as local club managers beginning in the 1950s.
“A lot of people that were junior (golfers) when they knew (Michael and Zachariah), they’re getting up in age now and they remember those guys,” BREC golf development manager Jack Terry said.
“The values they taught are important, and it’s important to remember them.
“People are wanting to preserve that.”
As part of honoring Michael and Zachariah, the tournament will move to Webb Memorial Park for Sunday’s final round. Howell Park and Webb Park are the courses the pair was most commonly associated with.
“Baton Rouge has a great golf history. These guys were some of the first ones to contribute to that,” Terry said.
Before working as a club manager, Michael first made his mark in Baton Rouge as a member of the LSU boxing team in the early 1940s. He went on to become a PGA pro and was involved with the construction of Howell Park.
Zachariah was Howell Park’s first course manager.
Today’s first round will feature a two-player best ball format and will continue for the first nine holes when play moves to Webb Park on Sunday. At Webb, the back nine format will shift to three different types. A scramble will be played on holes 10-12, and then alternating shot on 13-15 before closing with combined score for 16-18.
According to Terry, ESPN radio will be on hand during Sunday’s final round. There will also be a bagpipe musician, and yardage sheets featuring Baton Rouge golf trivia questions.
In keeping with the tournament’s “Go Retro” theme, a 1930s wooden club will be provided Saturday at Howell’s sixth hole, which players are required to use for their tee shot.
“The clubhead was smaller back then. It’s not as easy as it looks,” Terry said.
There will also be an award for the best-dressed team wearing retro golf attire.
Top local golfers entered include 2013 BREC Players Champion Blaine Patin, former Baton Rouge Amateur champion Wade Gautreau, and former LSU golfer Russ Gaudin.
“People get so busy that they forget what’s important,” Terry said.
“We want to remind people of our history. That’s what this golf tournament is about. We’re just trying to give something back.”