For Andre Caldwell, a career in golf was just the next step in a lifelong love of the game. Since she was just a small child, golf has been a part of her family’s life, and she even married a man who loved the sport as much as she does.
Longtime club PGA Professional Bill Caldwell and Andre’s sons have followed in their parents’ footsteps – Blake, a golfer at LSU, and Justin, on the team at Ponchatoula High School. Even Andre’s stepsons David and Bill Jr. have a history in the game.
She played golf at LSU and was a four-year letterman, the Women’s Golf Team Captain, and became the first woman to win a college event for the university at the Memphis State University Invitational. After spending some time on the LPGA Futures Tour, Andre completed her PGA of America membership and began to dedicate her career to golf through growing the game and inviting others to enjoy the sport she loves so much.
She has twice won Merchandiser of the Year awards from the Gulf States Section of the PGA of America. And she now is a managing partner at Carter Plantation. And still, her favorite moments are those when she is watching her children play.
“It’s such a joy,” she says. “I just love watching them succeed. They are such good kids, and they work so hard at it.”
Her parents played golf, and Andre was lucky enough to play with them as she grew up. They moved to a golf community in Luling when she was a child. Having recently lost her mom, she appreciates the contributions her parents had to her career.
“I played with them when I was young,” she said. “And I was lucky enough to play with them for many years as an adult. My mom was a great golfer.”
Andre remembers her mom and a friend winning golf tournaments at Chateau Golf and Country Club, where her husband Bill was then the pro. “Bill wanted to tell them they couldn’t play anymore,” she said. “He was afraid people were going to start asking questions.”
Andre laughs as she remembers tender moments, but her heart still breaks as she misses those times with her mother dearly. She is healed only by the love of her own family as she pays forward that bond with her children.
And now she shares her office space with hubby Bill while supervising the food and beverage operation at Carter Plantation in Springfield, Louisiana.
Never getting tired of golf, Andre looks very much forward to every tournament at Carter and especially every tournament for her boys.
“She has been a great coach to me by teaching me more about the golf swing and to play this impossible game,” says her youngest son Justin. “Also, her being such a successful college and amateur golfer gives me a great deal of courage to do the same as her one day.”
Justin said Andre taught him just about all he knows about golf and still coaches him on his swing and other things in his game. “She also helps me keep a good head when I’m playing on the course to always stay positive and never give up,” he said. “I don’t think I’d be nearly as good a player if it wasn’t for her.”
Blake, her eldest thinks much the same. “Her biggest influence on me was that she never forced golf on me,” he said. “It was always my choice to go out and play or practice. She would give me a few tips on my swing every once in awhile, but for the most part, I would go out on my own. I think she just wanted me to be as much of a “feel” player as possible, instead of a player who is constantly thinking about mechanics in a golf swing.”
With the next generation of Caldwells playing college golf, it’s easy to see why Andre could never give up her love of purple and gold. Her favorite thing to do is see her boys succeed at the sport they all love so much. Bill also played at LSU.
And Carter Plantation is thriving under the Caldwells’ leadership. With a full calendar of tournaments and events, and always room for more, Carter Plantation is bustling with activity.
“I just want it to continue to grow,” Andre said. “It’s a beautiful facility, and we are getting a lot of play and activity. I’m very thankful for that and hope it continues and gets even better.”