UTM golf center will fill dual role
Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 12:02 am
If you’ve noticed irrigation efforts north of University Street behind the Dunagan Alumni Center at UT Martin, it’s not a new crop irrigation system.
Drive north on Derryberry Drive and you will see a new golf practice center for the UTM golf team in its final stages of construction.
While the center will be used by the Skyhawk golf team, it will be maintained by and serve as a learning laboratory for UTM golf course and landscape management students.
“A gift of $250,000 from Bill and Amy Rhodes made this project possible financially, and the Board of Trustees recently recognized their contribution by agreeing to name the facility The Rhodes Golf Center,” UT Martin director of athletics Phil Dane said. “In addition to the Rhodes gift, funding from athletics budgets, agriculture, geosciences and natural resources budgets, physical plant budgets, and gifts-in-kind will bring the total project cost to almost $500,000.”
It was Dr. Wes Totten who had the vision and dedication to develop the project into a turf management learning laboratory that will add another touch of class to UT Martin’s agriculture, geosciences and natural resources program.
“This is a place where my vision for our students is to get more hands on experience,” Totten said. “Our students will get more of an idea if golf course and landscape management is what they want to do.”
The new facility includes a 6,000-square foot putting and chipping green with a ‘Tif-Eagle’ Bermuda grass surface; an 8,000-square foot tee box; a 1,600-square foot elevated tee box with ‘Meyer’ and ‘Palisades’ zoysia grass; an auxiliary tee box next to a 4,500-square foot putting green with ‘Mini-Verde’ Bermuda grass; mini target greens with flags at 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and 250 yards; two sand bunkers (one 1,200-square feet and the other 400-square feet); and a state-of-art programmable irrigation system.
“The mowing equipment to maintain the greens and fairways will also give our students a chance to get top-notch experience,” Totten said.
The almost 3,000-square foot building will include three hitting bays (covered and climate controlled)with complete camera equipment for video and swing analysis; a 600-square foot putting green; a student lounge for golfers; office space; a kitchenette; and restrooms.
Carpenter and the Skyhawks finished second in this year’s OVC Golf Tournament, their best finish in the league tournament since 1995.
Two golfers, John Michael Sisinni and Jonathan Martin, finished among the top 10 in the tournament.
Sisinni was fifth and named to the all-tournament team.
Carpenter will have to replace two seniors from this year’s team, but he returns three sophomores, one junior and four seniors.
“This will be a true practice facility,” Carpenter said. “It gives our guys an opportunity to practice every aspect of the game, anytime, without leaving campus.”
The new facility also does three other things for Skyhawk golfers.
“We will shoot better scores and finish better in tournaments throughout the season,” Carpenter said. “It will raise the status of golf at UT Martin and it will help recruiting.”
The building connected to this project will temporarily serve as a rehearsal area for the UT Martin band program during the renovation of the Fine Arts Building.
“The university needed to provide temporary space for the band program, and athletics was glad to partner with that need in order to have a top-notch facility in the long run,” Dane said.
Because of the band program’s temporary use, the new building will not be fully renovated to its golf practice center function until summer of 2012. The Rhodes Golf Center will be formally dedicated after the final renovation next summer.
“Coach Carpenter’s dedication to the project epitomizes his concern for the welfare of his student-athletes and his desire to give them the best possible chance to compete in the Ohio Valley Conference,” Dane said.