Grady Brame was on the cusp of winning his first State Amateur golf title in 2002 after finishing second twice and third once in several years of trying. But his championship hopes were suddenly in peril when he carded his third straight bogey late in the final round.
As he came off the 16th green, Brame got some not-so-encouraging words from his 9-year-old son.
“Dad, what are you doing?” a confounded Grady Brame Jr., too young to know any better, asked his father.
“I’m trying as hard as I can,” the father assured.
The elder Brame offset the spell of bogeys with a 70-foot putt for birdie on 17, enough to stave off Tommy Brennan to win the title that year at The Bluffs on Thompson Creek. The kid posed for pictures afterward hoisting his father’s trophy.
Nine years later, Brame Sr. is still looking for his next State Amateur championship, and his son now seeks a trophy to call his own.
The father-son duo helps highlight the 144-player field at the 92nd annual Louisiana Golf Association Amateur Championship. Action runs Thursday-Sunday at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette.
Brame Jr., a Southeastern Louisiana University golf signee, will play the event for the fifth time.
He won the Class 2A state title last month at Beaver Creek in Zachary by five strokes, his final tournament for the St. Thomas Aquinas team his father coaches. He had finished third at state as a freshman and second as a junior.
Brame Sr., 53, still calls the State Amateur triumph a defining moment in his long, successful career on the amateur circuit.
“There are contemporaries of mine like Tommy Brennan and Gayle Sanchez who’ve won a lot of tournaments in a lot of places, but have not won this one,” said Brame Sr., a Hammond real estate agent. “It’s a hard tournament to win.”
Brame Sr. learned the game from his father growing up in Alexandria, and he’d passed it on to his own son by the time Brame Jr. was old enough to grip a club.
Five years after watching his father win, Brame Jr. qualified for the State Amateur at 14. He lacked the strength and seasoning of other players, but the youngster gave TPC Louisiana everything he had.
“That first tee shot, I was so nervous,” Brame Jr. said. “I hit one of the worst tee shots I’ve ever hit.”
He has been a regular at the event ever since, but has finished ahead of his father only once.
“That old man, he still has it,” Brame Jr. said. “When his game’s on, he can beat anybody.”
The father has served as his son’s caddie — and vice versa — at various tournaments through the years.
Because they live on Oak Knoll Country Club in Hammond, the Brames can pick up their clubs on a whim and head outside to work on their golf games.
It’s mostly just for kicks. Mostly.
“Secretly, we know what our scores are,” Brame Jr. said, “and we’re both trying to beat each other. It gets pretty close.”
The elder Brame said he still has a “bit of a mental edge” when the two go head-to-head. Father time, however, favors his son.
“Our golf games are heading in opposite directions, and we’re about to cross paths,” Brame Sr. said. “He’s going to be going in a good direction, and I’m going to be going backward.”