Monday, October 12, 2009

Arnie, Wake golf make practice special

Arnold Palmer looked out at the new 17-acre golf practice facility on the edge of the Wake Forest campus Saturday and was impressed.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am,” Palmer said. “This may be one of the best practice facilities in the world, not just the United States.”

Palmer has a right to be proud. He’s both a Wake Forest alum and his company helped design the facility.

And if he’s exaggerating, it’s not by much.

The new facility, a portion of which may be in use later this month, is exceptional. It’s not just a practice tee, some target greens and practice green.

It has four separate tees scattered around the complex and covering 10,000 square feet. The different tees allow players to practice in varying wind conditions.

There are 12 target greens, each surrounded by bunkers, giving players the feel of hitting shots on a course.

It will be possible to shape fairways into the enormous landing area and, depending on the tee being used, players may be able to simulate hitting tee shots around tree-lined boundaries.

The four new putting greens have different functions. One is shaped in a classic Donald Ross style, another features sharper contours. All are planted with A1/A4 bentgrass.

The old practice green has been converted to Bermuda grass, allowing the Deacons to practice on the grasses they most often play upon.

A new learning center is being built that will feature, among other things, five covered hitting bays for inclement days. Each hitting bay has cameras mounted to monitor the swing from five angles.

After the learning center is complete, there are plans to build a small clubhouse on the property. Among its features will be several rooms with private baths where guests can stay during visits to Wake Forest.

Wake Forest coach Jerry Haas said he knows of no other on-campus facility that comes close to matching what Wake Forest will have. He already has four potential recruits planning to visit who heard about the new facility and decided to take a look at the Deacons.

Palmer had the honor of hitting the first practice shot at the facility Saturday, hitting a soft wedge shot in front of a few invited guests.

“To see this, it brings (Wake Forest golf) right upstairs,” Palmer said.


Mike Lebreck said...

I enjoyed reading your post and look forward to reading more in the future!

Anonymous said...

Very nice. Hope the facility is open to the public. Mr. Palmer should be the first Olympic coach.