UW Breaks Ground on Indoor Golf Facility

September 17, 2012
Woman golfing
Freshman Tyler Barker of Caldwell, Idaho, and her teammates on the UW golf team will be able to hone their skills year-round at the Cowboy and Cowgirl Indoor Golf Practice Facility. The First Tee Junior Golf Program, the high school’s golf program and the community members also will make use of the facility. (UW Photo)

University of Wyoming officials have broken ground on a new $1.2 million state-of-the-art Cowboy and Cowgirl Indoor Golf Practice Facility that will give UW athletes and community players the opportunity to work on their game year-round.

“I’m pleased that we’re adding this new facility to campus,” says UW President Tom Buchanan. “UW’s men’s and women’s golf teams have been at a disadvantage over the years by not having a location to practice and hone their skills during the winter months.”

“This facility is another exciting project that will benefit our wonderful golf teams, but also will serve our community,” says UW Athletics Director Tom Burman. “I thank all the donors as this facility will be 100 percent funded by donations.”

The facility is part of the university’s commitment to enhancing the UW experience by providing the highest quality learning environments and will extend the golf practice and playing season, which will help UW golfers become even more competitive.

“This project represents such a tremendous opportunity to train in a first-class facility,” says UW Golf Coach Joe Jensen. “It will benefit not only the golf team, but also our First Tee Program, our high school golf kids, and the entire golf community. It will allow us to have programming on a year-round basis.”

The facility will include four eight-foot-wide hitting bays; a more-than-1,800-square-foot indoor putting green with a high-tech synthetic surface that can easily be converted to host university events; a state-of-the-art golf simulator; a centralized location for range balls with washing station; a team room with amenities, locker rooms, an office, study areas; a team lounge, a hall of fame and recognition of donors.

The facility is being designed by Casper architect Hein|Bond. Formerly Randall W. Hein Architects, Hein|Bond provides community-focused architectural design and planning.

It will be the second building on campus funded entirely by private gifts. The first is the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

The facility also will be available for those outside of UW -- those in the Laramie golf community and beyond.

“The Indoor Golf Facility will give our teams the opportunities they need to become even stronger competitors,” Buchanan says. “But one of the biggest advantages of this facility is the support it provides to the Laramie community -- to the First Tee Junior Golf Program, the high school’s golf program and the community members who play at Jacoby. It’s a win-win for everyone, and we have a number of generous donors to thank for it.”

The Cowboy and Cowgirl Golf program has a long and proud tradition. The men’s team began in 1941 and the women’s in 1986. Since then, Wyoming golfers have made their mark on the collegiate game, both on the fairway and in the classroom.

UW golf has won 26 individual tournament titles and two Mountain West Conference individual championships, plus 20 all-conference honors. David Hearn, one of the most accomplished UW golfers to ever don the brown and gold, recently reached the pinnacle of golf by earning his PGA Tour card.

UW golfers excel academically as well, with 28 selected as All-American scholars. Each of the past two seasons, the Cowboy team has been named All-Academic. In 1999, Jessica Mellinger was one of 32 college students nationwide to be named a Rhodes Scholar, a prestigious honor few can claim.

The team has been recognized off the course by twice winning the Athletics Director Award, awarded annually based on excellence in athletics, team GPA and community service.

Since 2002, Jensen has been the Cowboy and Cowgirl golf’s coach. He was named director in 2005. A native of Lander and a former member of the UW golf team, Jensen earned his bachelor's degree in 1998 and MBA in 2006.

He also manages and is the head golf professional at the Jacoby Golf Club, the team’s home course. Bearing the name of legendary UW Athletics Director Glenn "Red" Jacoby (1946-73), the course is located on the east side of the UW Laramie campus at 7,220 feet elevation. It measures 6,855 yards in play and is maintained by the UW Physical Plant.

“I so much appreciate that it was built on private gifts,” Jensen adds. “I cannot thank the donors and contributors of this building enough for their support and the impact they have made on the golfing community in Laramie.”

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