Head Coach – 10th Season
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
The members of the LSU Men’s Golf team making the trip to Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships could have never imagined how those five days would see the Tigers reclaim their rightful place among the nation’s elite as national championship contenders with a historic run to the NCAA Final Four of match play.
It was a season for the ages in the history of the LSU program as the Tigers earned their best finish nationally in nearly half a century while returning to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons under the direction of head coach Chuck Winstead.
With a trio of junior All-Americans in Stewart Jolly, Ben Taylor and Curtis Thompson; a senior stalwart in Smylie Kaufman and a sophomore standout in Zach Wright leading the way, the Tigers ended the 2013-14 season in a tie for third place nationally for the program’s best NCAA finish since finishing in third place in 1967 and first top-10 finish since earning eighth place in 1989. It was their first appearance in the eight-team match play tournament for the national title since the NCAA adopted such a format six seasons ago prior to the 2008-09 campaign.
The Tigers fired a team score of 4-under par 836 in 54 holes of medal play to tie for second place among the 30 teams in the field at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships to earn the No. 3 seed in the match play quarterfinals. That’s when the Tigers defeated the No. 6-seeded UCLA Bruins by a 4-1 margin before falling to the No. 2-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA Semifinals.
With their performance, Jolly (29), Thompson (39), Kaufman (62) and Taylor (77) each ended the campaign ranked among the Top 100 collegiate players nationally in the final Golfweek rankings of 2013-14. Jolly was even called into international duty for the first time in his career as he competed with Team USA at the 2014 Palmer Cup held this summer at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.
LSU’s postseason run was sparked by its first victory of 2013-14 at Texas A&M’s Aggie Invitational in the team’s regular-season finale in April. The Tigers followed by firing their school-record score of 18-under par 822 in a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships before tying for fourth place in the NCAA Columbia (Mo.) Regional to earn a return trip to the NCAA Championships.
The Tigers nearly added to their 15 SEC team championships all-time with their best finish at the conference tournament since last finishing as runners-up in 1989.
There is no doubting that LSU Men’s Golf has returned to the pinnacle of college golf in nine seasons under Winstead’s direction, and the Tigers now have positioned themselves to contend for SEC and NCAA championships for years to come with his leadership.
Winstead enters his 10th season guiding a program that has claimed four NCAA titles and 15 SEC titles during its history. It is a proud program that has also produced three NCAA medalists and 18 SEC medalists since its inaugural season.
During his nine seasons leading the Tigers, Winstead has produced 10 All-America selections, seven All-SEC performers earning 12 all-conference honors, four SEC All-Freshman Team members and a pair of Academic All-Americans as the leader of one of the nation’s storied programs.
Winstead’s players have also excelled individually while winning such prestigious amateur tournaments as the Jones Cup. In addition, 19 different Tigers have combined for 27 appearances at the United States Amateur Championship during Winstead’s tenure. Two Tigers have advanced as far as the Sweet 16 round of match play at the U.S. Amateur with former All-American John Peterson advancing in 2011 and All-SEC performer Andrew Presley advancing in 2012.
With the Tigers claiming the team title at Texas A&M’s Aggie Invitational in their regular-season finale last April, Winstead eclipsed Britt Harrison as the winningest coach in program history while amassing 17 tournament championships in nine years at the helm. Harrison guided the Tigers to 16 wins in his 11 seasons in Baton Rouge from 1988-98. Winstead has also coached eight Tigers to 12 medalist honors since his first season as head coach in 2005-06.
LSU has become a staple in NCAA postseason play while earning an NCAA Regional berth in seven-straight seasons and competing at the NCAA Championships in four of the past five seasons in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
The Tigers’ ascension to the top of college golf was punctuated at the 2011 NCAA Championships when Peterson claimed LSU’s first national championship in 70 years with his winning performance at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. That’s when the three-time All-American and emerging PGA TOUR standout fired a 5-under par 211 in three rounds of stroke play to win the national title and join former Tiger champions Fred Haas, Jr. (1937) and Earl Stewart (1941).
Peterson is off to a strong start to his professional career that includes a tie for fourth place in his major championship debut at the 2012 United States Open Championship held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California, and making the cut in his Masters debut in 2013.
With Winstead’s coaching, Peterson and former LSU teammate Andrew Loupe competed as fully-exempt members of the PGA TOUR during the 2013-14 season after earning their tour cards during the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals in September 2013. Peterson actually claimed the money title as the top performer in the first Web.com Tour Finals, while Loupe also earned one of 25 PGA TOUR cards that were handed out during the event.
A Ruston, Louisiana, native and member of the LSU men’s golf program from 1989-91, Winstead believes the foundation of any successful program is built on attracting the best high school athletes the sport has to offer each recruiting season.
Loupe and Peterson were the stars of Winstead’s early recruiting classes and certainly proved to be the tandem sparking LSU’s return to national prominence. Peterson wrapped up his collegiate career as the 2011 NCAA Champion while winning three All-America honors and two First-Team All-SEC honors from 2007-11. Loupe was a star in his own right as a two-time All-American and two-time First-Team All-SEC performer as part of the same graduating class.
Winstead’s reputation as one of the top golf teachers in the country has been reflected in LSU’s performance on the course over the past eight seasons as the team’s scoring average has dropped dramatically since his first season as head coach in 2005-06. After averaging 295.6 shots per round as a team during his inaugural season, the Tigers lowered their scoring average each season at 296.7 in 2006-07, 293.6 in 2007-08, 293.4 in 2008-09, 290.6 in 2009-10 and 290.5 in 2010-11. LSU’s team averaged was an even more impressive 287.3 in 2013-14 while advancing to the NCAA Final Four.
His instructional skills have been recognized by many of the leading golf publications nationally during his career, including the honor of being named a Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor in America since 2005 with the likes of Butch Harmon, Peter Kostis, Jim Flick and former Tiger All-American and LSU Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Merrins.
Golf Digest has also recognized Winstead’s instructional prowess as one of the nation’s top golf teachers. He has even been featured on The Golf Channel and frequently appears in such publications as Golf Magazine and Golf Tips Magazine, for which he serves as the Senior Instruction Editor.
While the Tigers have excelled on the course, LSU’s student-athletes have also achieved great success in the classroom with a total of 52 selections to the SEC Academic Honor Roll during Winstead’s tenure as head coach. In 2011, two Tigers were chosen as Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars as standouts Austin Gutgsell and Sang Yi were recognized for their academic performance.
In support of this effort, Winstead provided the vision and oversight for a multi-million dollar renovation project to The University Club golf course and LSU’s Bilyeu Golf Practice Facility in 2010. The course is now recognized as one of the best in the region and has was selected to play host to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional held in May 2013.
Winstead’s credentials include a five-year association with Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear Golf, Inc., in North Palm Beach, Fla., where he served as the Director of Instruction for Golden Bear Golf among other responsibilities. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Winstead served as part of the senior management team developing, managing and initiating the launch of Jack Nicklaus Golf Academies worldwide.
Winstead has been linked with The University Club since 2000, where he has served as the Director of Instruction and owner of the Chuck Winstead Golf Academy. Winstead was named a Director of Instruction at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans from 1998-2000. In addition, he was a head instructor for the Bob Toski Learning Center in Sunrise, Fla., from 1993-95.
After graduating from LSU in 1991, Winstead embarked on a career as a professional golfer with a stint on the South American tour before launching his teaching career.
He and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents of two sons – Trey, 16, and David, 13 – and are active members of First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.