“It also gives us the ability to tailor our practices to the things we need,” said South Carolina women’s golf coach Kalen Anderson. “It’s going to be a phenomenal facility. If we want to work on our short game, play some holes, or do whatever we need to prepare ourselves for competition. To have something that is just for us where we’re not dealing with outside member play, it’s going to be such a convenience.
“It also helps us as a recruiting tool with a facility that’s right there. Our men’s and women’s golf teams have been successful. It just shows the commitment that South Carolina Athletics has to all of its athletics programs, and shows how important the golf programs are to the University of South Carolina.”
With coaches’ offices also on site, the close proximity to the main campus will allow student-athletes more efficient use of practice time while also having more time to spend on campus for their academic pursuits.
“The convenience of having something there on campus, readily available, is going to be huge for our student-athletes in terms of their time management,” Anderson said. “They are going to have everything they need to get things done on campus, including their studies and on the athletics field as well. There are a lot of student-athletes who don’t have access to vehicles, so this brings a lot of convenience into play.”
“There’s no denying the fact that it can take 25 or 30 minutes for our student-athletes to get out to one of our (current) main practice facilities at Cobblestone Park or elsewhere,” McDonald said. “You’re asking student-athletes to spend an hour in the car just to practice for a little while. That’s not good time management. When you are asking student-athletes to sacrifice that much, and have high standards, not only with how we’re trying to compete, but with what we’re trying to do in the classroom, a facility like what we are building will help immensely.
“Our team GPA last year was over a 3.5, and a majority of our kids are in the business school. We often have to adjust our playing schedule around their classes, so it’s not fair for me to ask them to drive 30 minutes to practice and then have to come back here and run to class.”
The South Carolina coaches are also excited about the versatility the facility will offer.
“We’ve built a hybrid of a driving range for a really good player,” McDonald said. “They can hit shots, and that’s in conjunction with a practice hole concept with three distinct putting green complexes so you can play from different angles and create a par 3, par 4 or maybe a par 5 scenario. It’s primarily designed so the kids can hit balls or practice specific shots on different greens from different angles.”
“We need to work on different shots, we can use different areas of the practice facility to work on totally different things,” Anderson said. “We can change directions and work on dealing with winds. It’s going to be everything we need it to be to prepare us for our matches. They’ve also hired someone full time to maintain it and make sure it’s always at a tip-top level so we’ll see the same conditions that we would see in a tournament.”