'It's a game-changer': Oakland unveils plans for $3M, privately funded golf training center
The Oakland men's golf team is coming off its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
And the program's momentum continues to grow, with this week's announcement that the university is planning to build a state-of-the-art indoor training facility.
The training facility, to be located at the university's two esteemed golf courses, will cost about $3 million, and be privately funded. About $2 million already has been raised, according to athletic director Steve Waterfield, with ground expected to be broken in the spring.
"It's a game-changer for us," Oakland men's golf coach Nick Pumford said. "I've told people it's always been the missing link for us, because we have two beautiful golf courses right on campus.
"Unfortunately, it snows in Michigan, and we don't really have a home in the winter."
The facility, to be located off the putting green at Katke-Cousins and R&S Sharf, will be used by the men's and women's programs, and be 5,000 square feet. It will include an indoor putting and chipping green with slope, and made of synthetic turf; men's and women's locker rooms; coaches' offices; a team conference room; a nutrition station; and six garage-door bays with heaters, for practicing in the winter.
Previously, the Division I golf teams had to work out at Carl's Golfland in the winter.
The facility also will be equipped with TrackMan and a putting-viewing system.
The facility, in the works for at least six years, will help put Oakland's resources more on par with state-of-the-art golf facilities at other state Division I schools, like Michigan State and Michigan.
"The first question recruits ask is, 'What do you guys do in the winter time,'" Pumford said. "Right now, it's not bad, going out to Carl's. But it's gonna be nice to have everything centralized."
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The Oakland women's team, coached by Alyssa Gaudio Guss, made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2016, while the men's team made it this year for the first time.
A private reception recently was held for donors, who were shown renderings of the facility.
The donors are, as of now, unnamed.
Waterfield said the future facility "will be among the finest collegiate indoor golf facilities in the country."
"I think people realize the program is moving in the right direction," Pumford said. "Then they also realize to get us to that next level, this is what it's gonna take."