Toms plans golf academy in Shreveport

SHREVEPORT — Former LSU golfer David Toms said he’s building “a pure golf practice experience” for young players in Shreveport, his hometown.

The 13-time PGA Tour winner told The (Shreveport) Times that he expects to open the 60-acre facility in August.

“It’s not swimming pools and tennis courts,” Toms said. “It’s not even 18 holes. It’s a pure golf practice experience. It’s about giving these young golfers the opportunity to get better and further their skills.”

He said he plans a nine-hole, par-3 course; an 18-acre driving range, eight greens for putting and chipping, and three regulation holes: par 3, par 4 and par 5. “We’re trying to create every shot you can face in golf,” Toms said.

Shreveport’s Jim Lipe, who spent 25 years as a senior designer for Jack Nicklaus, worked closely with Toms to design the facility.

Clubhouse plans include three indoor hitting bays, computerized teaching aids, a fitness center and a youth achievement center. Toms said it will be a place where youth can hone their skills and where newcomers can learn the game.

A group of businessmen, led by Toms, donated 45 acres for the project. The David Toms Foundation bought the adjacent 15 acres.

Toms said he’ll have 11 employees at the facility, which he prefers to call 265 — the number of strokes in his first and last PGA tour victories, the 1997 Quad City and the 2011 Colonial, and lowest score in a major championship, which the former LSU star set in the 2001 PGA Championship.

“It’s something directly related to me, and it puts my stamp on things without putting my name all over the place — that’s just not me,” Toms said.