Golf Plus: Whatever happened to ... Vic Loustalot?

Whatever Happened To ...

Vic Loustalot

Age: 67

Resides: Patzcuaro, Mexico

Family: Wife, Lynn; three grown stepsons; nine grandchildren; father, Ed, was the first head pro at Valley Hi and there 14 years; brother, Gary, was the first head pro at DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz and there 30 years; nephew/stepson Tim competed professionally and is the head pro at DeLaveaga.

Competitive golf: Didn’t lose a high school match while attending McClatchy and Burbank; twice was runner-up in the California Amateur; played four years at USC, the final two as captain; played from 1970 to 1973 on the PGA Tour, his best finish a tie for third in the 1971 Coral Springs Open.

Post-competitive golf: Head pro at Mira Vista in El Cerrito for 15 years; co-owned and/or managed Auburn Valley, Peach Tree, Rancho Murieta, Plumas Pines before retirement in 1999.

The Loustalot name was synonymous with Sacramento golf in the 1960s.

Ed was the highly regarded head pro at Valley Hi. Gary, his oldest son, was on the PGA Tour. Vic, Ed’s youngest son, was beating up on the region’s best amateurs and its next big thing. Vic’s pro career didn’t take off, as many expected, but he has fond memories and no regrets.

“I guess if I had been more disciplined, I might have been a better player,” he said. “But being more disciplined meant there were things I couldn’t do that I enjoyed doing.”

While attending Burbank High School, Loustalot shot a 63 at Bing Maloney, beating his opponent by 19 strokes. The Titans prevailed by two shots in the aggregate competition.

He knocked heads for years locally with Pete Gutierrez, Bob Eastwood, Bob E. Smith, Bob Lunn, Ray Arinno and Steve Taylor.

Loustalot qualified for the PGA Tour in 1970. In those days, when only the top 60 money winners were exempt, that distinction only gave him access to weekly Monday qualifying, from which the rest of that week’s field was determined. He was a “rabbit,” the term used to describe pros who hopped from city to city trying to gain traction as a touring pro.

He played in 24 PGA Tour events over four years. He tied for third with Lee Trevino in his second event, three places ahead of Arnold Palmer, and earned $7,350. His next-best finish was 19th.

Loustalot’s touring pro career ended after the 1973 season.

“What are you going to do when you have your father in the golf business, your brother in the golf business and have been around golf all of your life? You’re going to get into the golf business,” he said.

He married Gary’s ex-wife three years after they divorced and everything turned out amicably for all involved, he said.

Loustalot has lived in Mexico for 13 years, the past two in Patzcuaro. He appreciates the country’s history and art, and the congeniality of its citizens.

He began playing golf again two months ago after two years away from the game. It’s an hour to a nine-hole course in Morelia, the nearest city.

What’s his game like these days?

“Like I’m 67 years old and living in Mexico,” he said.

Why Mexico?

Graeagle was too cold, and it just seemed like a neat thing to do after all the hubbub we lived with all of our lives.

With your amateur accomplishments, players today would be licking their chops at the prospect of making millions of dollars. What were your expectations?

I really didn’t have any. My best friend at the qualifying school was Hubert Green. We used to room together a lot. I could tell that Hubert was going to be a good player because he was probably the cockiest player I met in my whole life. He had an attitude that I knew he was going to do it. I knew after my first year that I didn’t have that attitude.

Is that what held you back?

I definitely had the ability, but I didn’t have the desire. I really admired the guys at the top. There was such a demand that was put on them, they really didn’t have any time for themselves. I give the guys credit who stay up there because there’s something special about the way they’re able to handle it.

Any regrets?

I’m happy I did it, to get it out of my system, to see what it was like. It was a great experience, but it was something that I knew I wasn’t going to be successful at, so let’s get on with something else.

What does being a Loustalot mean to you?

I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud of my dad and my brother, what they accomplished. My dad was a gentleman. I never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. Both my mother and father did everything they could possibly do to help me succeed.

The PGA and LPGA tours were in Mexico last week. Was that a topic of interest there?

Not with the people I talk to. Golf down here is different. It’s only for the more affluent.

Do you think about golf in any global sense these days?

I’ve been away from it for so long, I’m not familiar with what’s going on with the game.

Do you make a good margarita?

The best.

– Steve Pajak