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ASU's Polytechnic campus Golf Program Hits Stride, Thanks to $1 Million Worth of Gifts

October 01, 2004

SOURCE: Richard Grinage, 480/727-1017,

MESA, Ariz.-- Arizona State University's Morrison School of Agribusiness Professional Golf Management (PGM) and Golf & Facilities Management (G&FM) programs have witnessed tremendous growth and success since being established in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

Today, the PGM program boasts nearly 175 students enrolled compared to 11 in 1999, with 22 graduates. The G&FM has 29 students compared to 10 just a few years ago, with seven graduates.

"The success of the programs, in part, can be attributed to the more than $1 million worth of gifts from local and national individuals and companies in the construction and golf industries," said Richard Grinage, director of the PGM program.

A $300,000 gift from the Solheim family, owners of PING Golf, funded the PING Swing Analysis Lab, the Solheim Scholarship, and a Golf Club Fitting and Repair room. The PING Swing Analysis lab is an indoor facility where students learn to analyze and improve their swing and the Solheim Scholarship is used to honor the top student in the PGM program each year. The Club Fitting and Repair room and the PING Swing lab are located in the new Agribusiness Center at ASU's Polytechnic campus.

Another individual who has supported East's golf program is local golf superstar and ASU alumnus Phil Mickelson. Through PGA of America contributions, Mikelson has designated nearly $180,000 from the 1999 and 2002 U.S. Ryder Cups to establish the course "Golf for Business and Life," which is designed for students as a way to introduce them to all aspects of the game. Most recently, Mickelson designated another $50,000 through the PGA of America's 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup.

Another jewel in the program is a new 12-acre Driving Range and Pro Shop. The Golf Driving Range serves as a working laboratory where PGM students practice skills to pass the PGA-required Playing Ability Test and develop their teaching skills. G&FM students use the facility as a hands-on working lab to prepare for careers as golf course superintendents. The entire facility is maintained and operated by students from both programs.

"Students will use the range as a practice lab for pro shop and course management, improving their golf game, as well as for Golf and Facilities Management students for their studies in soils, turf management, irrigation, fertilization, maintenance, and other areas relating to golf," said Grinage.

The range features raised target greens, instead of just flags for players to aim at, and a total of 90 hitting stations, half reserved for PGM students and the other half will be open to the public to generate revenue to cover operating costs for the range.

Construction of the range was accomplished with the involvement of approximately 50 local and national companies who contributed more than $350,000 in service and materials toward the project.

"Once private funds, particularly a $200,000 gift from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, were secured and campus funds were identified to construct the range, Haydon Building Corp. came on board as the project manager, and kept the construction on time and within budget," said Rita Locke, development officer for the campus.

Other key contributors -- Jack Gilmore, of Gilmore Graves Golf, designed the driving range and recruited the Wood/Patel company to do the civil engineering and Wright Engineering to create the electrical drawings. Pennington Seed donated all the seed required for the fairway and the tees, and to secure sod for the practice green. And Ewing Irrigation donated the irrigation system and the computerized irrigation control boxes. Last year, DPA Architects, who have worked on several ASU projects, designed the pro shop building.

The Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness will celebrate the new facilities at a dedication planned for Oct. 22.

For more information about the range, the labs or the dedication, contact Richard Grinage or Stephen Hefner at (480) 727-1180.