Indoor facility to be built for University golf teams

By Se Young Lee

The University’s golf teams will have a brand new indoor training building by November 2005.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the J. Gerald Demirjian Indoor Golf Facility will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The building will be located on St. Mary’s Road, across from the Atkins Tennis Center.

Derrick Burson, a spokesman for the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, said the costs of construction – estimated at $3 million – will be funded entirely by the money raised by the department from donors such as the Demirjian family, whose patriarch was honored by having the facility bear his name.

Burson said the facility will have an indoor area where players can practice their putting, chipping and pitching. Six heated hitting bays will allow the golfers to stay warm as they hit balls out into an open area.

Paula Smith, head varsity coach of the women’s golf team, said the new facilities will be a big help for the players in correcting and adjusting their swings. Smith said two of the hitting bays will be equipped with swing analysis machines.

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    Smith said the team will continue to practice in the basements of Huff Hall until the new facility is complete. Three racquetball courts at Huff Hall were modified into hitting rooms by setting up nets on the wall to catch balls.

    Megan Godfrey, junior in business and golfer for the varsity squad, said the hitting rooms in Huff Hall provide some help when it’s too cold for the golfers to practice outdoors.

    “It’s doable,” she said. “It’s not ideal, but it works.”

    But, Godfrey said the hitting rooms do not allow the golfers to train as well as they would like to.

    “You don’t know the flight of the ball,” she said. “It’s all feel and contact. That’s all you can do.”

    Godfrey also said the environment around the hitting rooms is not very accommodating.

    “It’s extremely hot,” she said. “They’re right by the boiler.”

    Smith said the new facility will definitely improve the training process for the golfers.

    “(The building will) enhance what they can do on colder days when they can’t go outside,” she said. “This will definitely be a plus.”

    Godfrey said the building will help the University stand out among the college golf programs throughout the country.

    “I’m a little disappointed that I’ll only have a year and a half to work with it,” Godfrey said. “But I’m just lucky to have it.”