After completing the four-acre short-game practice course, the second phase of construction began on the new golf facility.
Drew Long, deputy director of athletics-internal operations, said athletics completed the course earlier in the academic year, and it recovered well from winter break.
“The team has been really excited about that and so has the coach,” Long said.
Phase two, the clubhouse, will include offices, locker rooms and a training area for the team as well as hitting bays and swing training bays with virtual hitting, a team meeting space and patio that overlooks the short-game area.
“Everything right now is tracking well, we’re going to start having our weekly update construction meetings on Monday,” Long said.
Over the next six to eight months, in addition to building the facility, construction crews will work on moving the main entrance from Ambler to Judge Ely.
As athletics started considering what they would need for the facility, they wanted to consider the possibility of expanding to include a women’s golf program, Long said.
Long also said the golf facility is similar in size and scope to the $1.6 million tennis facility that was completed for this season.
Originally, the construction schedule started with the short-range course and then the driving range, finishing with the building, but the clubhouse construction was moved up in priority.
As more of an official driving range with hitting bays facing the freeway and Ambler, phase three has not picked up a lot of steam. Long said including more features in the facility would require more maintenance.
“A lot that goes into maintaining a golf course, when you start to add features, it’s more equipment that you have to factor into projects. It comes down to available funds, donor and coach preference,” Long said.
Jack Connor, redshirt junior, said practicing at the Jim has been great because it’s the best short-game facility in Abilene.
“It’s located right here on our campus, it is always in exceptional condition and we have the ability to hit just about any shot imaginable from 110 yards in,” Connor said. “The Jim along with our clubhouse will be huge for our program in the future. Recruits will be blown away when they come to Abilene for a visit and see that ACU Golf has facilities that very few other schools have to offer.
“The only potential downside I see to having the clubhouse is the fact that Coach Shaw may end up charging some of us rent for how much time we’ll be spending out there.”