Fuselier takes over Belle Terre course

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2001


LAPLACE – Wayne Fuselier feels he has come full circle. He was a member at Belle Terre Country Club during the early 1980s and now he is back, this time as the director of golf. In the intervening period, Fuselier became a member of the Professional Golfers Association and competed on the Nike Tour, playing in more than 20 tournaments. He qualified for several Gulf Region PGA sponsored events before turning his attention to the corporate side of golf. Now, as an employee of Marty Golf, Fuselier has been tasked with restoring Belle Terre to its former glory. Belle Terre was designed in the 1970s by Pete Dye, who had been commissioned by Landmark Golf. Dye is best known for being the driving force behind the PGA West and Oak Tree courses. In the late 1980s, Landmark Golf sold Belle Terre to Clubcorp. Marty Golf bought Belle Terre in mid-January of this year. Fuselier said while Clubcorp neglected the course in the few years the company owned it, the foundation of the course was excellent. The ripples and undulations of the fairways and elevated greens are still intact thanks to the effort that went into the initial construction of the course. Most of the improvements at Belle Terre concentrate on the aesthetic qualities of the property – minor improvements such as lighting the trees at night, adding mulch to the base of the trees and shrubs of the facility, and rebuilding some of the older bridges along the course. Other improvements are much more significant. The most intensive and noticeable construction project on the course is the improvements being made to the driving range. Dump trucks drove around the muddy range as a few golfers practiced chipping. Fuselier said the ponds around the driving range were being excavated and the mud from there was to be used to build a backdrop to the range. In addition to shielding the houses behind the range from errant 300-yard drives, some of the excess dirt will be used to create target greens at 150 and 175 yards. Projects currently underway to improve the course include the excavation of sand traps to improve drainage, and the spraying of the fairways and roughs with special herbicides that kill unwanted the weeds and grass yet leave the course playable while the chemicals are working. The only sign that something has been sprayed on the grass is a blue dye that covers the affected areas. Aside from the driving range project, the most ambitious project Marty Golf has embarked upon is the cleanup of the water hazard that borders the 16th and 17th holes. The hazard is choked with nuisance plants that affect drainage to the course and the houses that border the course. With the help of St. John Parish, Belle Terre and Marty Golf plan to bring in a specialist from Florida to scrape away the flowers and deal with the problem, once and for all. For Fuselier, working at Belle Terre has brought his golfing life full circle. “People think that all I do is play golf,” said Fuselier. “I probably play less golf than before.” Fuselier said his job includes managing the golf operations, giving lessons, being responsible for buying and pricing the merchandise the pro shop sells, organizing and running tournaments, maintaining the golf carts, and occasionally playing with members. The best aspect of the job are the different situations the pro finds himself in from day to day. Fuselier said he wakes up not knowing what to expect. The situation is fluid, and the pro is constantly challenged. Fuselier said 99 percent of all the people you meet on the course are good. With his son John studying business at the University of New Orleans on a golf scholarship, and his wife working at Belle Terre as the general manager, Wayne Fuselier is content with where he has been and where he is going. “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life,” he said.