Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
The LSU men’s golf program has enjoyed a meteoric rise back to the pinnacle of college golf in eight seasons under head coach Chuck Winstead, and the Tigers are certainly poised to contend for SEC and NCAA championships for years to come under his leadership.
Winstead enters his ninth season leading a program that has claimed four NCAA titles and 15 Southeastern Conference titles in its illustrious history. It is a proud program that has also produced three NCAA medalists and 18 SEC medalists since its inaugural season.
During his eight seasons leading the Tigers, Winstead has produced seven All-America selections, six All-SEC performers earning 10 all-conference honors, four SEC All-Freshman Team selections 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 25 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 two team titles in back-to-back tournaments at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate and David Toms Intercollegiate last fall, Winstead tied with Britt Harrison as the winningest coach in program history while amassing 16 tournament championships in eight years at the helm. Harrison guided the Tigers to 16 tournament titles in his 11 seasons in Baton Rouge from 1988-98. In addition, Winstead has coached seven Tigers to 10 medalist honors since the 2005-06 season.
LSU has become a staple in NCAA postseason play while earning an NCAA Regional berth in six-straight seasons and competing at the NCAA Championships in three of the past four seasons in 2010, 2011 and 2013. That includes a tie for 23rd place at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships after the Tigers earned their best NCAA Regional finish under Winstead with third place while hosting its NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at the University Club last spring.
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, Okla. 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, Calif., and making the cut in his Masters debut in 2013.
With Winstead’s coaching, Peterson and former LSU teammate Andrew Loupe will compete 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 that wrapped up at the Web.com Tour Championship in September. Peterson actually claimed the money title as the top performer in the Web.com Tour Finals, while Loupe also earned one of 25 PGA TOUR cards handed out during the event.
A Ruston, La., 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 is regarded as one of the strongest recruiters in college golf while attracting some of the nation’s most decorated prospects to Baton Rouge. The Tigers have welcomed another outstanding class of recruits for the 2013-14 season featuring junior transfer Ben Taylor of Leatherhead, England, and freshmen Brandon Pierce of Covington, La., and Eric Ricard of Shreveport, La. Taylor joins the squad as a two-time NCAA Division II All-American at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with both Pierce and Ricard being ranked among the Top 20 recruits in the Class of 2013 by multiple services.
With All-American Curtis Thompson, All-SEC performer Andrew Presley and rising star Stewart Jolly all returning as Golfweek Top 100 players from a year ago, it came as no surprise when LSU claimed the No. 9 national ranking in the Golfweek Preseason Top 30 ranking for 2013-14. Thompson finished his sophomore season ranked No. 49, while Presley was ranked No. 78 and Jolly was ranked No. 97 with the release of the final Golfweek Individual Player Rankings for 2012-13.
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.
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.
“We’re very proud of the progress that this program has made in just a few short years, but the work is never done,” Winstead said. “LSU Golf has a great and storied history on a national level, and there is no doubt the foundation has been laid for us to enjoy that caliber of success year in and year out as one of the nation’s elite programs. It’s an exciting time to be an LSU Tiger.”
While the Tigers have excelled on the course, LSU’s student-athletes have also achieved great success in the classroom with a total of 45 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.
“LSU Golf is a nationally-competitive program once again as we have attracted elite high school talent to Baton Rouge, providing an environment for improvement that is second to none,” Winstead said. “We provide our players with the opportunity to be the best they can be both on and off the course. We’re on the cutting edge in all areas, and as a result, our players will continue to achieve great things in the future.”
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, 15, and David, 12 – and are active members of First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.