Head Coach – 17th Season in 2021-22
Players, coaches, fans and recruits across the country recognize LSU among the premier programs in college golf as the Tigers have reached unparalleled heights in 16 seasons under head coach Chuck Winstead. While capturing the program’s fifth national championship in 2015, the Tigers advanced to the Match Play Eight in three-straight years from 2014-16, cracked the Top 10 nationally at the NCAA Championships in four of the last seven years the event has been played and advanced to the NCAA Championships eight times in the last 11 seasons since making their breakthrough in 2010.
It’s a resume matched by few in the game, but aspired to by all as the Tigers look to add to their legacy in 2021-22 as they welcome back one of the nation’s top teams once again.
In the summer of 2018, Winstead was promoted to the Director of LSU Golf. Winstead is the winningest coach in LSU men’s golf history having led the Tigers to 37 tournament titles. He led the Tigers to their first SEC championship in more than 30 years in 2015 and the first NCAA championship since 1955 in 2015. He will take on oversight of both LSU golf teams in his role as Director of Golf, while continuing with his responsibilities as the men’s head coach. Winstead is going into his 16th season as the head men’s golf coach after serving as the Director of Instruction at LSU’s home course, The University Club.
2015 National Champions
June 3, 2015, is a day that will live long in the memory of the LSU Tigers.
It was on that day at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, when head coach Chuck Winstead and the Tigers lifted the national championship trophy for the fifth time in school history and the first time in 60 years. With a 4-1 defeat of the USC Trojans in the NCAA Championship Match, the Tigers capped a historic run at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships and returned to the top of college golf.
Seniors Stewart Jolly and Ben Taylor, both All-Americans following LSU’s Final Four run in 2014, joined junior Zach Wright and sophomores Brandon Pierce and Eric Ricard in winning LSU’s first national championship since 1955 and a fifth for a program that also claimed titles back in 1940, 1942 and 1947.
Pierce and Wright both capped an All-American 2015 spring season by tying for 11th place on the NCAA Championship leaderboard with even-par scores of 288 to lead the Tigers back into match play for the second year in a row.
Pierce, who broke David Toms’ single-season scoring record of 71.26 from 1988-89 with a career best 71.16 as the team’s leading scorer in 2014-15, was named a Golfweek Third-Team All-American and PING Honorable Mention All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America following his breakout sophomore season. Wright and Ricard scored PING Honorable Mention All-American accolades of their own in the wake of LSU’s national championship victory.
In fact, Pierce (71.16), Wright (72.03) and Ricard (72.11) all smashed career-low scoring averages by an average of 2.53 strokes per round to establish themselves among the elite players in college golf in the 2014-15 season. Each also picked up his first career All-SEC award with second-team selections along with Jolly, who ended his collegiate career as a two-time All-SEC performer.
The Tigers were also crowned SEC Champions for the first time in 28 years and the 16th time in their history when they scored a three-stroke victory over Vanderbilt and South Carolina at the 2015 SEC Championships. A season after finishing second to Alabama, the Tigers took down the Tide with a score of 13-under par 827 to win their first conference title since 1987.
2014-15 was a season 10 years in the making as Winstead – the SEC Coach of the Year and Golfweek National Coach of the Year that season – has been the architect of LSU’s return to the nation’s elite. The foundation Winstead has laid since his appointment in the summer of 2005 will have the Tigers competing for SEC and NCAA championships for years to come.
By The Numbers
Winstead has led a program that has produced 19 All-American selections, 15 All-SEC performers with 24 all-conference honors, two Academic All-Americans and 30 individual tournament champions in his tenure. The Tigers have also competed in 13-straight NCAA Regionals from 2008-21 while claiming a spot at the NCAA Championships in eight of the last 12 seasons in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. The NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championships were not hosted in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Winstead is the winningest coach in the program’s history with 37 tournament championships in his 15 years as head coach. Fifteen Tigers have also captured 31 medalist honors since Winstead’s first season as head coach in 2005-06.
Winstead led the Tigers to their eighth appearance at the NCAA Championships in the last 10 seasons. The Tigers won twice during the 2018-19 season at the David Toms Intercollegiate and The Prestige. Senior Luis Gagne and junior Philip Barbaree both earned Second Team All-SEC accolades and were named to the PING Southeast All-Region squad for their play. Barbaree led the squad with a career-best 71.48 scoring average to mark the sixth-best single-season scoring average in school history. Gagne’s stroke average was just behind Barbaree’s with a readout of 71.50. Gagne closed out his LSU career as a three-time All-American that included 2,304 holes played. Gagne’s career scoring average of 71.54 is the second best in program history, only trailing Sam Burns’ school record of 71.13.
LSU’s first win of the season came at the 2018 David Toms Intercollegiate where the Tigers shot an impressive 21-under 843 (282-281-280) on its way to a 28-stroke victory over the nearest competitor. In that tournament, the Tigers swept the top five spots on the leaderboard and Trey Winstead (7-under 209) claimed the first collegiate title of his career by one stroke over teammate Chris Woollam (6-under 210).
The Tigers’ second win of the season came in February as they claimed ‘The Prestige’ title over No. 1 Oklahoma State out in California at the PGA West. LSU picked up a six-stroke, resounding win over the No. 1 team in the nation with a 14-under 838. Philip Barbaree led the way with a third-place finish individually, including a career low final round of 5-under 66 that led LSU’s charge on the final day.
Gagne almost qualified for the 2019 edition of The Masters in January at the Latin America Amateur Championship. Vying for the title and a qualifying spot at The Masters, Gagne, representing Costa Rica, came up just short and took second place in the event to Alvaro Ortiz, who defeated Gagne by two strokes. Garrett Barber won the 2018 Jones Cup to earn a spot in his first-career PGA Tour tournament, the RSM Classic. Barber, the only amateur in the field, made the cut and finished 76th in his PGA Tour debut with a four-round total of 2-under 280 that included an amazing 5-under 65 in round two. Barber got to play the final round of the 2018 RSM Classic with former Tiger and current PGA Tour member, Sam Burns.
The Tigers had a solid 2017-18 season with three tournament wins as well as claiming the stroke play title at the SEC Championship. Junior Luis Gagne and freshman Jacob Bergeron shared medalist honors as LSU defended their team title at the David Toms Intercollegiate with their fourth-straight win in the event and seventh in nine years. In November, the Tigers closed out their fall season with a team score of 6-under par 278 to take home a seven-shot victory from the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic for their second win of the fall season. At the Old Waverly Collegiate, LSU finished as the only team under par for the tournament with a 9-under par 855 (287-291-277) to win the event by 13 shots. At the SEC Championship, Gagne led the Tigers with a three-round tally of 3-under par 207 to earn a tie for third place individually and help LSU claim the stroke play title at 6-under par 834. After defeating Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of match play, the Tigers were ousted by Auburn in the semifinals. For the second year in a row, the LSU men’s golf team entered the NCAA Championships as a Regional No. 1 seed. Despite a valiant effort put forth with a final round score of 7-under par 281 at the NCAA Stockton Regional, the Tigers did not advance to the final site of the NCAA Championships.
LSU had four representatives advance to the 2018 U.S. Open by winning Sectional qualifiers – Sam Burns, Luis Gagne, Philip Barbaree and Jacob Bergeron. Three of those guys at the time – Gagne, Barbaree, and Bergeron – were still amateurs and members of the LSU men’s golf team. Burns is a former Tiger who advanced from the Memphis sectional as the medalist of a field that sent the top-11 players to the U.S. Open. Gagne was the medalist at the sectional in Jupiter, Fla. He had impressive rounds of 68-70 at The Bear’s Club to win by two strokes in a qualifier that only awarded spots to the top-3 finishers. Barbaree and Bergeron tied for medalist honors at 11-under-par 133 at the Richmond, Texas sectional.
In August, LSU had a strong presence at the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship with six qualifiers – Luis Gagne, Jacob Bergeron, Philip Barbaree, Trey Winstead, Carter Toms, and Garrett Barber. The players who qualified for the U.S. Open – Gagne, Barbaree, and Bergeron – were fully exempt into the U.S. Amateur Championship. Winstead and Toms both grinded their way to the U.S. Amateur by winning their respective qualifiers in St. Louis and Shreveport, La. Barber paved his way to the event by winning the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title in Tequesta, Fla., to own a top 50 World Amateur Golf Ranking at the cutoff date. After 36 holes of stroke play, Gagne, Bergeron, and Winstead made the cut to match play. Gagne made it to the Round of 32.
Senior Luis Gagne earned third team PING All-America honors while he averaged a career-best 71.16 strokes per round during his third season as a Tiger; the 71.16 strokes per round is the second best total for a season in program history. At the aforementioned U.S. Open, Gagne shined bright as he garnered a share of the low amateur honor with a four-round total of 16-over par 296. Gagne has claimed medalist honors four times during his collegiate career. In May, he was named a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award along with being one of four collegiate athletes to be selected as Coach’s Picks for the International Team at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup. Among his fellow Tigers, Gagne tied for the team lead five top-10 finishes.
Sam Burns and Luis Gagne are the latest to write their chapters in LSU’s history books while leading the Tigers to a ninth-place team finish at the NCAA Championships this past season in 2017. LSU was just one spot short of advancing to NCAA match play for the fourth-straight season as they capped their campaign with a school record six tournament titles at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate and David Toms Intercollegiate in the 2016 fall season and The Prestige at PGA West, Aggie Invitational, Tiger Classic and NCAA Baton Rouge Regional in the 2017 spring season.
Burns proved to be the catalyst in LSU’s 2016-17 season as he became the first Tiger in history to be named the National Player of the Year when he received the NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year award from the Golf Coaches Association of America. He was also named a PING First-Team All-American and the SEC Player of the Year as the top player in college golf as a sophomore.
Burns’ historic season included four tournament titles, 14 top-10 finishes and a new single-season scoring record at LSU as his 70.05 scoring average smashed Pierce’s 71.16 from two years before.
Gagne capped an outstanding sophomore season of his own as a PING Honorable Mention All-American for the second time in his collegiate career while ending the season as the No. 25-ranked player nationally in the final Golfweek individual rankings. His campaign included two wins and seven top-10 individual finishes along with a career-low scoring average of 71.35 strokes per round.
The Tigers nearly defended their national championship in 2016 while returning to the Match Play Eight for the third year in a row as quarterfinalists at the 2016 NCAA Championships held at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. That’s where Sam Burns and Luis Gagne capped their debut season as All-Americans by tying for 13th place nationally as the top Tigers in the NCAA field.
Sam Burns won his first-career professional event at the 2018 Savannah Golf Championship in April. Burns, the 2017 Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year, finished the 2017-18 season on the Web.com Tour as the second highest money earner with a total of $291,878 collected. The No. 2 spot on the money list easily earned him his PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season and he took advantage of it. Burns made 16 cuts in his debut season on the PGA Tour to go along with three top-10 finishes; he has five career top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. His 2018-19 season saw him earn $1,117,312 to rank him 89th on the tour. His PGA Tour card has been renewed for the 2019-20 season.
Andrew Loupe, a two-time All-American and teammate of John Peterson while at LSU, also played as a fully-exempt member in the PGA TOUR in 2016-17. Loupe, who became the second former Tiger to win a Web.com Tour event in 2015 with his victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, has earned over $2.5 million in career earnings since turning professional.
Smylie Kaufman, a former PING All-Southeast Region performer and member of LSU’s 2014 Final Four team while in Baton Rouge, is a two-time professional winner after claiming wins on the PGA Tour (2016 Shriners Hospital for Children Open) and his first career Web.com Tour victory at the United Leasing Championship in May 2015. Kaufman has made over $3.5 million in his career.
In addition to those three guys, Winstead has coached 15 additional golfers that are playing in the professional ranks. Ben Taylor won his first Web.com Tour event in 2018 at the Club Colombia Championship, and after a stellar season on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com Tour) in 2018-19, he earned his PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season. Zach Wright tore it up on the Mackenzie Tour during the 2018 campaign; he played at 11 stops on the tour and garnered seven top-10 finishes and that earned him a call up to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018-19.
Other professionals: John Peterson, Austin Gutgsell, Stewart Jolly, Myles Lewis, Ken Looper, Landon Lyons, Brandon Pierce, Eric Ricard, Curtis Thompson, Blake Caldwell, Jacob Bergeron, Nathan Jeansonne and Luis Gagne.
Prior to the National Title
The Tigers had a taste of the title a season before in 2014 while reaching the Final Four of match play for the first time. They finished the job a year later when five All-Americans took down SEC rivals Vanderbilt and Georgia in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds before taming the Trojans in the finals in one of the most comprehensive victories in NCAA Championship Match history.
The Tigers earned the No. 7 seed in match play after finishing stroke-play qualifying with a score of 17-over par in four rounds at Concession Golf Club.
LSU’s rise to the top of college golf was first felt at the 2011 NCAA Championships when John Peterson claimed the program’s first individual championship in 70 years with his winning performance at Oklahoma State’s Karsten Creek Golf Club. That’s when the former three-time All-American and emerging PGA TOUR standout fired a 5-under par 211 for three rounds of stroke play to win the national title and join former Tiger champions Fred Haas, Jr. (1937) and Earl Stewart (1941).
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 14 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 average was even more impressive the last four years at 287.3 in 2013-14, 285.8 in 2014-15, 286.9 in 2015-16 and 284.5 in 2016-17 for the lowest in Winstead’s tenure as head coach. The last two season have seen the Tigers average 285.11 (2017-18) and 285.61 (2018-19).
His instructional skills have been recognized by many of the leading golf publications nationally throughout his career, including the honor of being selected as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor in America since 2005.
Golf Digest has also recognized Winstead’s instructional prowess as one of the nation’s top golf teachers. He has appeared on Golf Channel, most recently as a featured guest on “School of Golf” with Martin Hall, and has also contributed to various golf publications including GOLF Magazine and GolfTips.
While the Tigers have excelled on the course, LSU’s student-athletes have also achieved great success in the classroom with a total of 71 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. Philip Barbaree was named to the 2017-18 Google Cloud Academic All-District Team.
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 country and will host an NCAA Men’s Golf Regional again in 2020 after already hosting the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional in 2013 and 2017.
Winstead’s credentials include an association with Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear Golf, Inc., in North Palm Beach, Florida, in the mid-to-late 1990s where he served as part of the senior management team developing, managing and initiating the launch of Golden Bear Golf Centers 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, Florida, 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 and David – and are active members of First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.