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ASU's Polytechnic campus seeks private support for new golf facility that teaches the business of the game


September 27, 2002

Golf.

What passions this single word evokes, especially in Arizona where the sport has almost become a trademark for the state. Excitement, enthusiasm, the thrill of a challenge -- along with a fair degree of frustration -- characterize avid and novice golfers alike as they unsheathe their drivers and head for the first tee.

For another group of people, however, the word denotes a different meaning: business. The September 24, 2002, edition of the Arizona Republic reported that Maricopa has the greatest number of golf courses of any other county in the country: 206. And we're not stopping there. Golf courses are the geographic center of nearly every new luxury housing development in the Valley.

Managing, promoting and maintaining these multi-million dollar ventures requires well-trained personnel -- inside and outside the clubhouse. Supplying this workforce is the mission of ASU's Polytechnic campus's golf management programs.

Accredited by the PGA of America, the Professional Golf Management program prepares students to manage golf course operations, including marketing, pro-shop management, and customer relations. It also requires students to complete PGA-delivered course work and pass a playing ability test.

The Golf and Facilities Management program prepares future golf course superintendents, knowledgeable in soils, turf grass management, landscaping, irrigation and equipment maintenance. Both courses are business based and require hands-on experience, which, currently, students must get off-site. Soon, however, they will be able to hone their skills on campus.

On the verge of construction is a practice facility/driving range that will serve as a working laboratory for both programs, expected to total 270 students by fall 2003. Professional Golf Management students who now pay fees at local golf courses to develop their playing and teaching skills will be able to use the range on campus. Likewise, Golf and Facilities Management students will test their grounds-maintenance abilities by maintaining the tees, fairways, bunkers and greens.

Progress has been made to make this facility a reality: construction plans have been drawn, building permits secured, and land dedicated to build the 17-acre driving range and two complete golf holes. The only obstacle left is securing project funding, which is not available with state funds. This is where private donors come in.

People interested in golf, either for the exhilaration of play or for the business of the game, have the opportunity to promote a sport they love, and simultaneously help students become the golf professionals of the future. Naming opportunities for the individual holes, the driving range, or the entire practice facility, are wide open. Donations of construction materials, irrigation systems, mowers and trimming equipment also are needed.

To learn more about the construction of the driving range and the many ways donors can help make it a reality, call the Polytechnic campus development office at (480) 727-1843. Oh yes, donors will have the first opportunity to tee off.