World-class facility built for ISU golf

Brian Freda

As the ISU athletic department cuts a check to use the new golf practice facility, the men’s team eagerly looks ahead to its grand opening. With a price tag of close to $2.2 million, golfers should be excited.

Iowa State is contracted to lease the facility from its designer and owner, Dickson Jensen, for about $200,000 per year. Jensen has provided quality experiences in the past for the ISU men’s golf team through his Harvester Golf Course.

“We really wanted him to build it if he could,” said Jamie Pollard, Iowa State’s athletic director. “We know what a top-shelf golf course looks like in this environment, [and] we felt he had the most expertise.”

The state-of-the-art, 3,500-square-foot facility is currently being built on the south side of Ames. This new addition to the program is expected to propel Cyclone golf toward a highly anticipated future. 

“Now with our new practice facility, it’s going to attract a lot of players around the Midwest, as well as continue to attract international players,” said coach Andrew Tank.

The versatile new facility will consist of indoor and outdoor practice areas.  Indoor, the Cyclones will be able to keep their game sharp all year long, despite rain or snow.

“Going forward now with our new facility … you’re going to be able to practice every day,” said assistant coach Patrick Datz. “[It’s] arguably the best facility in all of college golf.”

Practicing inside, players will have the advantage of using an indoor putting green large enough to allow for chip shots from the rough.

Within a circular “grain silo” structure, the green provides a realistic environment comparable to playing a course’s green.

“As soon as the building is done — and the indoor facility — we will be practicing in there,” said sophomore Scott Fernandez. “The whole team can’t wait.”

Not only will golfers be able to practice putting on a green through the winter, they will also have the chance to work on their approach. Four heated hitting bays are located in the heart of the building, overlooking a private driving range.

“It’s going to be [open] 365 days a year,” Tank said. “[It’s] just a great home base.”

The facility will not only help players become better golfers, but also help the coaching staff become better coaches. The building will include a video room for high-tech analysis of players’ swings and putting strokes.

In addition to a driving range, players can expect to practice every shot they could dream of outdoors.

Within the property lies 12 different putting greens along with practice fairways. The area includes everything from bunker shots to chips from the rough.

“The guys are going to be able to practice every shot they see in competition,” Tank said.

The outdoor greens is a great improvement for the team in terms of facilities: It is 400-yards long and 200-yards wide.

“It’s going to put us ahead of the pack,” said sophomore Sam Daley. “It’s going to be great for us.”

The indoor facility is scheduled to be open and ready for use this December, providing golfers with a substantial gift near the holidays.

“Seeing the grass grow and the amazing job that [they] have done — we’re incredibly excited about it,” said women’s golf coach Christie Martens.

ISU golfers will not be the only ones to benefit from the facility. While the new practice space will not be open to the public, ISU students will now have access to the current practice facilities.

Students will be able to practice their swing from heated hitting bays and putt on a small green at Veenker Memorial Golf Course.