By STEVEN SPEARS
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The University of Central Missouri is driving forward on the proposed construction of an indoor golf training facility.
The UCM Board of Governors unanimously approved to award contracts for the construction of an indoor golf training facility during a meeting Friday, Oct. 14. The facility will cost an estimated $354,000 and be paid for by an anonymous donor, according to a proposal presented at the board of governors meeting.
Jerry Hughes, UCM director for intercollegiate athletics, said discussions with the donor began nearly two years ago while the university was renovating Keth Memorial Golf Course.
“At about the same time we were working on doing the golf course, I had a donor come to me that was an avid golfer that was interested in providing an opportunity for the golf teams to have a practice facility during the winter, which is really popular around college campuses now,” Hughes said. “More and more places are doing facilities like that.”
Hughes said the new indoor facility would be built at the Mules National Golf Club where the current driving range is located. He said the structure will be 112 feet long by 35 feet wide, include four heated enclosed hitting bays, and a 2,100 square foot indoor putting green and chipping area.
The facility’s $354,000 price tag includes $211,895 awarded to Reasbeck Construction, Inc. for construction costs; a little more than $79,485 awarded to Summit Flooring & Turf for the purchase and installation of SYNLawn artificial golf grass; approximately $4,000 to Kruger Technology, Inc. for soil borings testing; and an estimated $23,000 for UCM facilities staff to build out tee lines, according to the proposal. A contingency fund of 10 percent or $35,000 was also approved as part of the funding.
Hughes said the anonymous donor provided $295,000 last December but, after the bids were in, the cost came in over budget. He said the donor agreed to provide the additional $59,000 between now and the end of the year.
Hughes said the facility would allow UCM golfers to practice in the winter and during adverse weather conditions.
“It will provide a tremendous opportunity going forward for our golf teams,” he said. “In the past they haven’t been able to work on their short game in winter… which is obviously the key to success in golf.”
Chris Port, head women’s golf coach, said the addition of an indoor facility is a huge step for the golf program.
“It gives us the ability to have year-round practice in the winter when, in years past, once the weather turned we could use the hitting barn but we had no ability to chip and putt,” Port said. “So it’s a huge asset for us.”
Port said the facility also gives the golf program a bigger competitive edge when recruiting athletes.
“There are a lot of Division I schools that don’t have the facilities we have,” he said. “To be successful at this level, whether it’s the men’s program or my program, we have to get Division I caliber athletes. A lot of the kids we recruit are taking visits to Division I schools and they’re seeing those facilities and then they come here and they see our facilities and in a lot of instances our facilities are better.”