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Long before Tim Baldwin became the head golf coach at Louisiana-Monroe, the program’s founding father tried to recruit him to campus as a player.
Wallace Jones couldn’t convince Baldwin to flip from Southeastern Louisiana to then-Northeast Louisiana University. Jones did get the last laugh in a way, considering Baldwin cut the ribbon during Friday’s grand opening of the new golf facility bearing his name.
“It was very important that this facility be named after Wally and it was a no-brainer,” Baldwin said. “I spoke with the family and they were receptive to the idea and we got this thing rolling.
“We made this thing happen in about five and half months and that’s just a record pace for something like this.”
The Wallace Jones Golf Complex was funded entirely through private donations. An anonymous donor contributed $300,000 to the project and the $800,000 raised in total was funneled through the ULM Foundation’s SOAR Campaign.
The SOAR Campaign had nothing to do with the fundraising efforts.
“The building we dedicate today would not be a reality without the foresight, diligence and work ethic of Tim Baldwin,” said Paul Aron, a contributor and the 2018 Wallace Jones Award winner.
“Through Tim’s efforts and leadership, an anonymous donor, golf boosters and the public made significant donations to the ULM golf program. Tim’s involvement in the project should not go unnoticed. He is the heart and soul of ULM golf.”
The 5,000-square-foot building is located between Brown Stadium and Warhawk Field and includes locker rooms for the men’s and women’s teams, coach’s offices, a player’s lounge, kitchen area, teem meeting area and 1,000-square-feet of indoor training facilities.
The outdoor portion of the complex features a TrackMan Golf Simulator, a SAM PuttLab, a covered tee area, 6,000-foot tee area and five target greens ranging from 50-165 yards. Additional plans include a chipping and pitching green, bunker and putting green.
Formerly the head coach at Southeastern, Baldwin has transformed ULM into one of Louisiana’s best golf programs in four seasons. The men’s team broke seven team records and finished second at the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Golf Championships.
The women’s team broke two team records and improved 25 spots in the national rankings.
“We came here five years ago to take this program to a new level,” Baldwin said. “We still have more to do but this is part of that. We want to give these young people every possible recourse to continue to grow and we’re very fortunate to have these facilities.”
The original golf house was demolished to accommodate the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (VCOM) medical school under construction at ULM.
VCOM contributed financially to the new golf complex.
“When we first sat down and started talking about this facility, I had a vision and Coach Baldwin quickly got me to buy into his vision of what this could be for this program and our student-athletes,” ULM athletic director Scott McDonald said.
“Coach Baldwin was committed to it from Day 1 and to watch him work and get all the people involved was tremendous. I always say it takes vision, but it takes courage and the willingness to get out and make that vision a reality.”
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