Episode 3 - Kelly Gibson & TPC Louisiana

Secret Golf's Steve Elkington visits former PGA Tour pro Kelly Gibson in New Orleans, Louisiana, where they both co-designed TPC Louisiana.

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FEMALE NARRATOR: On this episode of "Secret Golf," we head to the Big Easy.

-It's a hidden gem.


KELLY GIBSON: It's what your show's all about. They know how to have a good time here and they play golf.

-We try to find public courses that everyone that watches our show can play.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Get a glimpse into a historical place with unusual ties to the golf world.

-Mr. Bartholomew was a giant among giants. He did so much for the African-American community.

FEMALE NARRATOR: And Elk has a smackdown with some new friends.


KELLY GIBSON: Oh, come on!

-Do the Elk dance!

-Oh yeah, what is that Elk dance you're talking?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Do the Elk dance. Do the Elk dance.

FEMALE NARRATOR: "Secret Golf" is rolling your way.





SINGER: [SINGING] It's "Secret Golf." It's what I'm looking for.


-Family tradition.

SINGER: [SINGING] It's where I get up every morning. Call my good-timing friends.


It keeps me coming back for more. "Secret Golf"-- we're headed down the road.

-Point it toward that side of it like that.

SINGER: [SINGING] We just loaded up the big show, going looking for the heart and soul.


SINGER: [SINGING] We're rolling til the wheels fall off. It's "Secret Golf."

MALE NARRATOR: Shh. It's a secret.



MALE NARRATOR: Every city has its secrets. New Orleans has an abundance. There's just something about this place, its charm, its decadence, its mystery, and that's what makes it magical. It's just in the air. But there's a side to the Crescent City with which most are unacquainted.

STEVE ELKINGTON: There's a fair amount of architecture-- not everyone's aware of it-- went on down here. There's some tremendous secret courses down here.

KELLY GIBSON: People come here to party and go to the French Quarter but we're going to become a great golf town. That's going to be the story that's going to come out of Katrina. It's taken us a while but all the golf courses are getting rebuilt. That's going to be a story that develops here in the next 10 years.


MALE NARRATOR: In 2005, famed course designer Pete Dye needed two players to help design the new TPC Louisiana course and he knew the right men for the job.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Look at this place. It's turned out great. It was a big experience for us because, you know, you'd never done anything like this. I was-- we were both--

-I-- I just wanted to be involved because I'm from here.

STEVE ELKINGTON: From here. York.

KELLY GIBSON: And I have a lot of passion for New Orleans and-- and having you involved with Pete Dye, it was just an unbelievable opportunity for me.

-Kelly's kind of the local gatekeeper, if you will, of this course. He's passionate about New Orleans and he's passionate about keeping this course just right.

KELLY GIBSON: This is a golf course that was built in my backyard. I'm from this side of the river and I really begged for the position. I love New Orleans. I love this facility. It's a public golf course. I grew up on a public golf course and I just-- I was so grateful for the opportunity.


STEVE ELKINGTON: OK, Kelly. Now, there's a funny story about this. This is your-- obviously your favorite tree because you were so passionate about it. These are-- this is the living roots of a bald cypress. It comes up in New Orleans, right?

-Well, I mean, look at this tree.

We were out here one day and the engineers and the design team were all walking behind. They said, Kelly, if you want to save this tree on the 13th hole, today's your day because if you don't save it today, it's coming out. Pete's already flagged it to be removed. And of course, Pete made all the decisions. And we got to the 13th hole and Elk kind of nudged me and he says, it's all you.

-I'm a tree guy so I didn't mind him going for it. I just didn't want to be with him when he tried to do it. That's all. I just said, yeah, go ahead. Go talk to Pete.

KELLY GIBSON: And I went in to Pete Dye and I said, Mr. Dye, this tree's 750 years old. We'd really like to keep it. And he said, I'm 75 years old and then you're telling me this tree's 750 years old, which I was making up. He said, one of us is leaving today and it's not me.

And I put my head down and I kind of went like, wow, this guy's tough. So we walked off to the green and y'all were all laughing. And we looked back at the tree and he goes, I think-- I think we should keep the tree.

STEVE ELKINGTON: He gave you a little wink, didn't he?

KELLY GIBSON: Yeah, I felt like I accomplished something.

STEVE ELKINGTON: And I'm glad that we kept the tree because that's awesome.

-Well, the only-- the only bad part for me is the first year I played in the tournament, I hit it right behind one of them.

-Did you?

-Yeah. I had to chip out.

This is a legacy for me to say I was involved in one of the greatest sports ever invented. And to have it here in my hometown, I can't even begin to describe what that means to me personally. It's like I tell my friends when they come out here to play. I said, check out the scorecard. My name's right next to Steve Elkington's. It's pretty cool stuff for me to be able to say.


STEVE ELKINGTON: I really enjoyed meeting Moe Powell. He is 75, plays golf here every day-- he's exactly the guy that we try to find in every town that we go to and that is a guy that just wakes up thinking about golf, goes to bed every night thinking about golf and, you know-- and he's got a little BS that goes with it, you know.

He's got the-- he's got the Band-Aids everywhere. He's got-- he's got the sweatpants with the extra pockets. I mean, he's got-- who knows? Well, he could have weights in there holding him down. He was ready.

MALE NARRATOR: Moe is a fixture around TPC Louisiana and has been a mentor to Kelly Gibson since he was young.

KELLY GIBSON: You just develop a friendship with someone. Even though he's 25 years older than me, he always had my back and he told me I could be great.

MOE POWELL: You could tell he loved it because he worked out and that's what it takes. It takes a lot of work. People don't realize that, how hard it is to get at that level.

MALE NARRATOR: That same hard work and love of the game has made Angelica Harris into one of the best young female golfers in Louisiana. Her passion brought her to the main stage of the 2014 First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

-I enjoy, like, making putts and trying to get better every day. You never really are satisfied, you know, 100% satisfied. You always think you can improve on something.


-Hear that noise, that thump noise?

When I look at swings, I particularly watch kids. I can tell a lot about the first few swings I see them, whether they're real athletic or not. She is. She's-- she's a strong girl.

That's good drawing, right?


-Angelica has a tendency when we first got here to have her shoulders really level to-- really level to the ground. So I just showed her something simple. If I put my-- if I put my hands together like this, that'd be cool to have your shoulders level. But because the right hand sits below the left, as it slides down, that left shoulder should be higher, right?


-We agree with that.


It was all fundamentals that he worked on with me. But when he showed me just to tilt my shoulder to the other way--

-Right down your spine there--

-Instantly, I felt more powerful and more consistent.

-People say, oh, you're going to work on with your swing, it's going to be three months away from your game. It should be like that if you know what you're doing.

STEVE ELKINGTON: You should feel behind the ball and sitting there right behind it. Do you?


-Feel different?

-Yes, sir.

-Good. I hope that comes out with a birdie when we play these two characters.


MALE NARRATOR: On any given day, Angelica works on her game at a layout where she owns the ladies course record, the Joseph M. Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Joe Bartholomew is a name-- he was the first African-American golf course designer to build a course down here and he worked under Seth Raynor. Raynor helped route Cypress Point and work with Macdonald when they did the National. I mean, that's just something that's not been kicked around too often.

MALE NARRATOR: Joseph Bartholomew started out as a caddy at one of New Orleans' private clubs in the early 1900s and after a stint with the legendary Raynor, came home to design some of the best tracks in New Orleans.

GLYNN DEXTER: He built about 20 other golf courses in this area, none of which, of course, he could play. But he continued to build them. And he built this golf course at first as a nine-hole course so he and his friends would have a place to play. And he eventually added in another nine. It became an 18-hole course. But the purpose of it was to give his friends and he a chance to play golf where they couldn't play previously.

MALE NARRATOR: Originally called Pontchartrain Park Golf Course, it was the centerpiece of the first African-American enclave in the city and provided an opportunity for the residents few had experienced.

-Oh, man, this was a-- it's like you're going to open a jury box. People saw something that they'd never seen before. He took his own money and did this. Joe Bartholomew he was an incredible person.

-Well, Mr. Bartholomew was a giant among giants. He did so much for the African-American community when he built, you know, the golf course in this area. It meant a lot to me because this was a course that we as African-Americans could come and play and it wasn't a big hassle about us playing. We felt like it was our course, you know.

MALE NARRATOR: Sadly, the course was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. But thanks to local residents, including Kelly Gibson, the course was brought back to life and renamed in Joe's honor.

GLYNN DEXTER: He was a man that was way, way ahead of his time. It had to do with preserving the game and making sure that golf existed far past his time.



MALE NARRATOR: There was only one place to start this smackdown, Kelly's signature hole at the TPC Louisiana.

STEVE ELKINGTON: I got a "Florida lis" on it.

-It's-- it's not a "Florida lis." "It's a "fleur de lis." You in New Orleans, baby.

-Say it again.

KELLY GIBSON: "Fleur de lis."

STEVE ELKINGTON: "Fle- fler de lis."

KELLY GIBSON: "Fleur de lis."

-Look at my partner. Go, partner. My partner! Oh, yeah!

-I put my fleur de lis towards the target.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Fleur de lis towards the target-- I like it.

I think Kelly was more excited about the shots he was hitting because he hasn't been playing a lot of golf and hurt his leg. And he was under a lot of pressure. He didn't show it. He hit it well with that purple sweater with the whatever he had on it. But he was shaking in his boots, I could tell.

Oh, he went for the green.

-Why not?

-I don't think that's going to be-- to make it.

KELLY GIBSON: Pretty good slapshot.

-I think-- I think we've got to think about repositioning the fleur de lis.

-I didn't really know what to expect. I was a little bit jumpy. I wasn't worried about Moe. He brought his A-game today. Moe was on, like he always is. He's a money player.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Good shot, Moe!

KELLY GIBSON: Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah.

-I'm going to show you a little shot, Moe, that we work on down in Australia here.

KELLY GIBSON: Oh, that's beautiful.


STEVE ELKINGTON: A little low one, Moe.

KELLY GIBSON: That is pretty. Oh!

STEVE ELKINGTON: Come on in, Moe. Moe.

-Putting in a little skill?

-Just a little-- just a little-- little bit of skill?

-I knew if Elk hit it in there close today, she can putt.

-Yeah, try this for your smackdown.

KELLY GIBSON: Oh! Come on! That ain't fair! Oh! Do a little dance!

-Hey, it's a team.

-We were the underdogs. Moe and I were the underdogs, for sure.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Super stroke.

MOE POWELL: In the hole.

-Oh. Oh, yeah, baby! It's on! It's on!

STEVE ELKINGTON: It's on! It's on! It's on!

Kelly right out of the-- right out of the gate made a nice putt. And then we were walking to the next tee. He said, my putter went any further inside on the way back, it would have hit my shoe is what he told me. So.


MALE NARRATOR: To unlock yet another secret on this journey, we go back to the one-time second home of Kelly Gibson, a few miles south to Belle Chasse, Louisiana and the 27-hole Bayou Barriere Golf Club.

-It makes me feel good to have somebody like you out here and just go like, this is it. I made it to the PGA Tour out of here.

-Well, one of the things, we filmed Blaine McCallister last year out in Fort Stockton. And one of the things we found is you don't have to come from a fancy country club to be great.

-Bayou Barriere was just one of the coolest places for a kid to grow up in the 1970s. So now, it's a hidden gym.


KELLY GIBSON: It's what your show's all about. I mean, they know-- they know how to have a good time here and they play golf. I didn't know any better. I thought it was one of the best places in the world. My mom would drop me off at 7:30 in the morning and Moe Powell would drive me home and it was the greatest childhood one could ever imagine.


MALE NARRATOR: The Secret Smackdown continues at TPC Louisiana.

STEVE ELKINGTON: So when this hole was being built back in the day, my assignment on that day was to come out to the 17th hole and check out the back nine. And when Pete Dye got here, we got to this hole. He said, what's going on here? And I said that we've got a big problem on 17. The normal wind that blew on this hole didn't let you go onto the green.

So Pete stood here like this for about 10 minutes and all the tour brass was here, you know? They were all there. Pete walked down there, he came all the way back, and he said-- he said, Mr. Elkington's right. We've got to move the lake.


MOE POWELL: Got to move the lake.

-And these guys almost fell over.



KELLY GIBSON: Beautiful. Oh, here's his hole-in-one.


KELLY GIBSON: Did it go in?



MOE POWELL: Good shot.

KELLY GIBSON: That's pretty good.

-Because Mr. Elk is such a great player, I just knew that, you know, we had it down.

KELLY GIBSON: Elk got inside Moe's head a little bit.



KELLY GIBSON: Yeah, it's not too hard of a challenge.

MOE POWELL: It's drawing. That's why you got to move the lake.

I baptized more balls there than-- than Billy Graham baptized people.

-It's amazing to me how the-- the Secret Golf Smackdown can just bring on the pressure out of nowhere.

-I-- I don't get to play with pressure anymore.

STEVE ELKINGTON: He wasn't really anticipating any pressure when he woke up this morning.


MOE POWELL: He's got it.


MOE POWELL: Pure as the-- pure as the driven snow.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Look at that.

-Thank god.

MOE POWELL: That's fine. Good shot, son.

-Yeah, it's on the green, baby?

-Kelly almost busted out of his 38s on that swing.



-Big putt.

-No, we got this.


MOE POWELL: That's nice.


-It went left.


STEVE ELKINGTON: You can definitely find some people that like to have a good time. It's a wonderful place. It's a very romantically absorbing place. All of a sudden, you get sucked in and it's just awesome.

-I love this place. You know, I'm five generations in here and I think New Orleans is the greatest city in America. I really feel that way because there's not too many places like this in the world. We got something for everyone, you know. We've got the gumbo that a lot of other cities don't have.


MALE NARRATOR: Back at TPC Louisiana, the Secret Smackdown rolls on.

KELLY GIBSON: Oh, so pretty.

ANGELICA HARRIS: Oh, good one.

KELLY GIBSON: Look at him. Go!

MOE POWELL: Oh, yeah.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MOE POWELL: Oh, yeah.

-I didn't see it.

-That boy can't hit it--

-Where'd it go?

-Any harder.

-Where'd it go, baby? Went straight down the middle!

-Ideally, when we did that hole in design, it was to go for it. Couldn't do it today-- it was into the wind.

KELLY GIBSON: This is really important. I really-- I don't want to win this match.


STEVE ELKINGTON: But we all laid up nicely. We had a slightly better lay-up than they did. But here comes Moe out of nowhere.

KELLY GIBSON: Money Moe, baby! Oh, get in here tight. Oh!

I love you, baby. You make me look good. You know, I told you I brought a ringer.

-When I saw Moe hit that shot into 18, what was going through my mind was, I can beat that. I can get closer than him.

-Smackdown! Boy, that was spinning. Oh, yeah.

KELLY GIBSON: That was a spinner, too.


MOE POWELL: Oh, nice, nice.

KELLY GIBSON: How about that?


MOE POWELL: Good shot.


STEVE ELKINGTON: How about that?

-Oh, we had tons of confidence today. I knew Mr Elkington was hitting his irons really well and my putter was really hot. So we were a good team.

-Oh, no. Oh, no.

MOE POWELL: She got it.

-Oh, no! Yeah. Hey, you're doing the Elk dance.


STEVE ELKINGTON: Hey, give us a kick. Give us a kick. Hey, good job.

-I did his signature move. He looks old and he can't dance.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Moe was widely touted as a putter. He didn't touch the hole and then-- then here it is again. Here he is-- nightmare for Kelly Gibson. He's now under pressure for a three-footer to tie and not get beat on his home track.

Remember what they say at the first tee. One of the key ingredients is focus.

-When he said, focus, it was like-- it was like somebody hitting me and going, all right, let's go.

-There it is.


-There it is!

-Yeah, baby.

-Good putt. Good putt.


-Good match.

-Thanks for having us.

STEVE ELKINGTON: I'm never surprised when Kelly would make a putt. I mean, he doesn't have the greatest positive self-talk about himself but he played the Tour for 14 years. I mean, how bad could he be? So we tied, which I thought after everything we went through today, cold weather and all that, I thought was pretty appropriate.


Well, Kelly, I'm really glad that we're here at your course but can we go eat now? Can you show me-- show me the--

-Time to eat--

-The-- what are we calling it? The "Secret food."

KELLY GIBSON: Elk, you know the secret to golf. Randy knows the secret to crawfish.

-So we're going to get the-- we're going to get the secret mix here, are we?

-Yes, well, so we're going to show you how to do it.

STEVE ELKINGTON: OK. So what's the deal? We got-- we got the pot going.

-OK. We got the pot going. We got the crawfish all washed off.

-We got our own cooking show going right here.

-That's right.

OK, here we go.

STEVE ELKINGTON: I'm scared with the knife. Don't cut your finger now. You put mushrooms in there, huh?


STEVE ELKINGTON: That's new. I haven't seen that move. I'm afraid to ask but all this just does something to the crawfish. Is that night?

RANDY HEBERT: Yes. It gives it good flavor.

STEVE ELKINGTON: That goes straight in like that?

RANDY HEBERT: Yeah, straight in like this.

STEVE ELKINGTON: It's a family show. You got all adults on set.

RANDY HEBERT: Just sprinkle it in.



-Good shot.

-It went right in.

-Anybody seen a Titleist One?

STEVE ELKINGTON: We're all going to die from Titleist exposure.

-Put the corn in here.

-Bye-bye, crawfish. Push them in there, huh? He's just given me the secret.

KELLY GIBSON: They got the secret. There's the secret. There it goes. There's a little-- that's huge, Elk. That's huge.

STEVE ELKINGTON: This is the real deal down here. I've been doing it all wrong, I can tell. He put a different scald on them, as we say.

-What the coldness does, it shocks it from the heat. It makes-- it makes all the spices [SUCKS] suck up into the crawfish.

STEVE ELKINGTON: This is the secret sauce right here. And we just shake-- just shake it out? A little shaky shake?

RANDY HEBERT: There you go.

-Oh, yeah, here we go, Kelly.

-Those are boiling.

-Yeah, look at that.

KELLY GIBSON: You like it?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Hey, hey, hey. I want to thank you so much on our 10th anniversary. Can't believe it's taken you this long to invite me back here. Moe, what a great day it's been with you today, mate.

-Loved it.

-You hit the ball good today, too.

-You want me to show you how to do this?

-Yeah, go ahead. Oh, yeah.


-You sucking it or you smoking it?

-I miss, pinch the tail, and that's the secret.

FEMALE NARRATOR: On another episode of "Secret Golf," on an island steeped in Southern history lies a plot of land our fearless, ahem, leader just could not bear.

-I don't do boats and I really don't do ghosts. But I sent my team to Daufuskie Island to Bloody Point Golf Club to see the wonderful history of this island and the bringing back to life of this golf course.

MAN: I love Bloody Point and I wanted to do anything we could to keep it running.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Join us as we discover the characters the island tows.

-Daufuskie Island is a very spiritual, mystical place and very special when it gets dark. And it's the spookiest place you could ever have.

FEMALE NARRATOR: "Secret Golf with Steve Elkington" has been a presentation of Secret Golf, Incorporated.

MALE NARRATOR: Shh, it's a secret.