David Toms’ influence evident throughout Louisiana

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By Preston Smith, AJGA Communications

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The David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior is held in a city renowned for its junior golf presence. Toms – a 13-time winner on the PGA TOUR originally from just outside of Shreveport – played with the AJGA from 1982-84 before attending Louisiana State University. Numerous high school golf champions from Shreveport and the surrounding area speak to Toms’ impact.

In addition to the David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior that annually brings the best junior golfers from across the country to Shreveport, the Foundation opened a 60-acre golf practice facility in 2013. The state-of-the-art facility, named 265 after Toms’ record-setting performance at the 2001 PGA Championship, features a nine-hole par-3 course, eight short-game practice areas, two driving ranges and a three-hole golf course.

“He’s really changed the golf community here,” said Mason Barr, a rising junior at C.E. Byrd High School which claimed the Louisiana state golf championship this year. “With a practice facility like 265, the people out there are the ones really trying to get better at the game. Everyone has the same hardworking mindset out there.”

Every participant at the David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior is able to practice at 265 during the tournament. While some are experiencing the complex for the first time, others see it as their second home in golf.

“I love 265,” said Alden Wallace, an upcoming sophomore at nearby Loyola College Prep. “I’ve probably lost 20 strokes off of my game since I started practicing there. It’s just really cool to have a really good professional golfer here. I’ve learned a lot from him out at 265.”

For the players competing in this week’s tournament, Toms and his Foundation serve as a banner of how a PGA TOUR professional can give back in his community and to the game of golf.

“It’s a huge honor to play in a PGA TOUR player’s tournament,” said Andrew Fernandes of Cerritos, California. “We are trying to emulate these people to eventually make it to the pros and it is just a special experience.”