SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Construction of Cal Poly's golf clubhouse at Dairy Creek Golf Course off Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay is expected to begin in early April.
The project, which should be completed by the opening of Fall Quarter this year, includes 2,400 square feet of floor space, two covered hitting bays, coaches offices, a team lounge and refueling station, club storage space and bathrooms.
"Our Dairy Creek Practice Facility is moving closer to completion as we are finalizing the plans for our clubhouse," said Mustang men's golf coach Scott Cartwright. "This facility will take our program to the next level for our players to prepare for many championships in the future.
"Having all of our technical training equipment available to our athletes in one place will help in time management and skill development for years to come," Cartwright added. "It will add another facet to our facility with an outstanding practice and learning center that will be the envy of our Big West schools."
With the clubhouse, Bill Swanson, supporter of the Cal Poly Golf Program and donor project manager for the clubhouse, provides Cal Poly men and women golfers with another tool to excel on the links.
"Cal Poly provides one the best education to our students," said Swanson. "It has been the goal of the Swanson Cal Poly Golf Program to provide the best tools we can to go with their education so that they can excel competitively. The program has come a long way with the support of alumni and supporters who have invested to fully endow scholarships for the men's and women's programs along with operational support.
"This clubhouse is the next phase of providing our student-athletes with a top-notch golf training facility just minutes from campus that our Mustangs can call home," Swanson added
The project is the finishing touch on what will be one of the finest golf practice centers anywhere. In 2018, Cal Poly reached an agreement with the County of San Luis Obispo to save three green complexes and a fairway on Dairy Creek Golf Course property, which more than a year ago closed nine holes due to water issues.
"I was very fortunate to be able to attend Cal Poly and play for their golf team back in 1974 and 1975," said Loren Roberts, who won eight PGA Tour events and 13 more on the Champions Tour (including four majors). "It was a different environment back then and I really appreciate all the effort and commitment that has been given to Cal Poly golf recently.
"When you think of golf, you think of an individual sport," said Roberts, nicknamed Boss of the Moss for his putting prowess. "But when you play it in the team aspect, now there is a lot more pressure on the player because his score adds so much more to the outcome than just one play.
"Being able to have your own practice facility and clubhouse allows players to really feel the team spirit and commitment to each other because that is their home, their field, their pride! I am so happy to know that the Mustangs practice facility and clubhouse will be there for them to draw inspiration from."
Austin Liu's 68 in the opening round and a 72 by Tanner Podres in the suspended second round helped the Cal Poly men's golf team to a 13th-place finish among 17 schools competing in the Orange County Collegiate Classic on Tuesday.
The Nos. 1, 7 and 8 greens have been maintained in order to provide an outstanding short game practice facility for the teams and general public. The seventh fairway has been regrassed out at 200 yards to enable approach shots from various distances to be practiced as well.
“As a proud father of a Cal Poly student-athlete who was a member of the golf program, I am truly grateful for the opportunity my son had to experience what he did while at Cal Poly," said Tom Lehman, the 1996 U.S. Open champion and the only golfer in history to have been awarded Player of the Year honors on all three PGA Tours: the regular PGA Tour, the Web.com Tour and the PGA Champions Tour.
"I especially appreciate the commitment Cal Poly is making to create a golf program that will become one of the best in the nation," added Lehman, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour along with 19 runner-up finishes as well as 12 victories (three majors) on the PGA Champions Tour. "A big part of seeing that vision come to fruition is having a practice facility which will make possible the ability of future golfers to achieve their potential as players.
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"Having a world class training facility dedicated to team members only, and located so close to campus, is a big step toward the goal of recruiting and developing champion golfers which leads to championship teams. I am personally excited for what the future holds for the golf programs at Cal Poly.”
A total of $1.2 million of the $1.5 million privately funded project has been secured.
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"With the help of the Mustang community, this 100 percent donor-funded project will change for the better how our men’s and women’s golf teams practice and prepare," said Cal Poly director of athletics Don Oberhelman. "Rather than going 20-plus miles to a practice facility, we will have one just a few minutes from university housing which will be a huge benefit for time management."
In all, there are five practice tees, four green-side bunkers, two fairway bunkers and three chipping/putting green areas. Reconstruction of the driving range tee to include Top Golf's Top Tracer Technology also was part of the project.
“We are all very excited about the addition of the clubhouse at Dairy Creek as the Cal Poly golf program will have one of the best college golf facilities on the west coast," said Mustang women's golf coach Sofie Aagaard. "There are countless ways this clubhouse will positively impact the daily lives of our student-athletes, being a “one-stop-shop” for practice, studying, and a place to hang out.
"In recruiting future Mustangs, this facility will really set us apart from other programs," Aagaard added. "One of the first things recruits ask about is facilities and the quality thereof. The close proximity to campus of the Dairy Creek golf course, seven days per week access, the size of the golf practice area, the teaching technology we will have use of in the hitting bays, and just the beauty of the area will inspire many great student-athletes to come here to pursue their college golf careers,” Aagaard added.
Caroline Cantlay, a junior on this year's women's squad, can't wait to utilize the new facility as a senior next fall.
“The new clubhouse will be a great addition to our practice facility at Dairy Creek," Cantlay said. "It will give us golfers a place we can call home out there. We are looking forward to using it not only as a golf facility for range sessions, coaching sessions and team practices but also as a place in which we can study and hang out. I believe this clubhouse will bring even more of a ‘family’ feel to Cal Poly Golf.”
Cal Poly has announced a $1 million gift from Bill Hoffman for the final phase of a four-year project to upgrade Baggett Stadium. The gift jump-starts a group of improvements at Baggett Stadium, including an improved entrance to Baggett Stadium and Bob Janssen Field, a new ticket booth, renovations to the baseball press box, chair back seating, batters eye and other cosmetic enhancements.
Those who wish to contribute to the project may contact Ashley Offermann, Cal Poly's associate athletics director for development, at (805) 440-9792 or by email at email@example.com.
"I want to thank all those who have been instrumental in making this happen and complete a vision I have been working toward for many years," said Cartwright, who announced in December his plans to retire after the current men's golf season.
About The Power of Doing: The Campaign for Learn by Doing
The second comprehensive philanthropic campaign in Cal Poly's history, The Power of Doing will focus on securing funding for the educational practice that has distinguished Cal Poly since its founding in 1901. Funds raised will support three primary campaign pillars: Empowering Students; Empowering Excellence; and Empowering Innovation.
These pillars will be used to fund a variety of university priorities, including state-of-the-art facilities, expansion of student-faculty research, and enhancement of project-based learning opportunities, among a host of other areas. Additionally, funds from this campaign will help increase scholarship opportunities, such as the Cal Poly Scholars Program, which seeks to recruit and retain high-achieving, low-income students from California high schools while providing support through financial, academic, and community resources.
For more information, visit giving.calpoly.edu.
- This report was contributed by Eric Burdick, Cal Poly Associate Director of Athletics for Communications