You’ve heard of NCAA March Madness, well this is the GRAA March Practice. Similar to the USA Today Coaches Poll, we reached out to golf coaches representing the top 25 ranked universities in this month’s b-ball tournament and asked them to rank the premier collegiate golf practice facilities in the country.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 16
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 1
Practice Facility: Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex
The Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center is named in honor of a Purdue alumnus who made the lead donation toward the 11,400-square-foot training center. The state-of-the-art range and practice facility is open to the public and features indoor hitting bays that allow golfers to practice inside under gas heaters, hitting outside onto the range. In addition, the adjacent Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex has a full-service short game area that includes two putting greens. The on-campus facility boasts two 18-hole layouts: the Ackerman-Allen Course and Kampen Course, which have hosted both the NCAA Championships and NCAA Regionals in years past.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 14
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 2
Practice Facility: Duke University Golf Club
Having opened in 1957, it’s no denying that Duke University boasts one of the most historic facilities in the country. Even with all of that history, they still have a state-of-the-art practice facility that stretches across more than 20 acres and includes a 20,000 sq. ft. putting/chipping green.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 21
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 3
Practice Facility: University Ridge Golf Course
When the Wisconsin weather permits (aka rarely) the Badgers take their practice outside where they have two 9,000 sq. ft. teeing areas and a bent grass short game practice complex. But most days you can find them honing their skills indoors at the $2.8 million Golf Training Center also located University Ridge.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 5
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 4
Practice Facility: UNC Finley Golf Club
UNC Finley has a state-of-the-art practice facility with five target greens to shoot at from the 500-foot long grass practice tee or from 42 mats. The range is designed to emulate on-course play, with target green placements that allow golfers to visualize shot shapes. In addition, bunker placements around the greens give golfers the on-course feel.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 13
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 5
Practice Facility: Warren Golf Course
The Robert and Marilyn Rolfs Family All-Season Varsity Golf Facility, which is located at the Warren Golf Course on the northeast corner of the University of Notre Dame’s campus, opened in 2006. The $2.1 million, 10,333-square foot facility is used by both the Irish men’s and women’s golf programs. There are six hitting stations located within the building that lead out to the Warren Golf Course practice range as well as a 5,000 sq. foot short game area that allows players to work on their swings in all weather conditions and an Notre Dame branded simulator.
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 23
GRAA March PracticeRank: No. 6
Practice Facility: Birdwood Golf Course
A mature 18-hole golf course that meanders through tall oaks, ponds and scenic terrain, Birdwood Golf Course was ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top-10 collegiate courses in the country. It has a terrific practice facility to boot, featuring a three-tired practice range and the $850,000 Lew Oehmig Short Game Practice Facility.
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 6
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 7
Practice Facility: Emerald Valley Resort and Golf Club
The University of Oregon utilizes multiple championship courses to play and practice, including Eugene Country Club (host of multiple NCAA Championships) and Sunriver Resort (host of multiple PGA Professional Championships, with another slated for 2017). However, it’s Emerald Valley Resort and Golf Club that’s is home to Oregon Golf’s year-round highly-regarded practice facility that offers a private, covered grass practice range, a wedge area to practice every shot imaginable from 100 yards in, and a 75-yard wide putting green. The Oregon Golf Association ranked the par-73, 6,200-yard layout “Golf Course of the Year” in 2004.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 11
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 8
Practice Facility: Twin Rivers Golf Course
This year marked the opening of the Billy W. Williams Golf Practice Facility on the campus of Baylor University. The two-year construction project has resulted in a 16-acre space that includes a complete short game area, two practice greens, and a range with seven target greens and four teeing areas to allow golfers to practice in any wind direction. As a Baylor student, Billy Williams lettered in football in 1962 before going onto a lucrative career in finance, business and investing. The facility will serve as a complement to the Twin Rivers Golf Course, which Baylor will still use as its home course for tournaments.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 19
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 9
Practice Facility: Dallas Athletic Club
Not many college golf teams can claim that their home course was designed The Golden Bear and has hosted a major championship. But that’s the case with SMU and the renowned Dallas Athletic Club. The club has an 8-acre practice facility with all the plush amenities you’d expect from a top-tier private club in north Texas.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 17
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 10
Practice Facility: Don Veller Seminole Golf Course
The public-access Don Veller Seminole Golf Course in Tallahassee is home to the nationally ranked Florida State men’s and women’s golf teams. Among the amenities are an indoor teaching facility, one of the largest practice ranges in the southeast and a private facility for the team. The Dave Middleton Golf Center, located onsite at the course, features a private workout facility for the teams, meeting/team rooms and a indoor training area with state-of-theart technology. It opened in 2001.
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 8
GRAA March Practice Rank:No. 11
Practice Facility: Sewailo Golf Club
The University of Arizona recently extended its partnership with Sewailo Golf Club, making it the Home of Wildcat Golf through 2020. The Notah Begay-designed layout is a challenging course that measures 7,400 yards from the championship tees. In addition, the teams are afforded exclusive access to a separate practice range, which includes bunkering and a pristine short game complex.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 2
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 12
Practice Facility: “The Giff”
The lead donation from Jack and Rhodine Gifford made possible UCLA’s on-campus practice facility, known as “The Giff.” In addition, the Gifford Foundation has sponsored the Gifford Collegiate tournament, a staple on the men’s golf schedule. The late Mr. Gifford was a 1960- 61 UCLA baseball letterman. The views of the facility show the team room and tee boxes to the west, as players hit south toward Pauley Pavilion. The shrubbery in front of the facility spells out UCLA GOLF. Furthermore, the teams have access to some of the finest country clubs in the Los Angles area including Brentwood, Bel-Air, Hillcrest and Wilshire.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 12
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 13
Practice Facility: Melnyk Golf Practice Facility
The Melnyk Golf Practice Facility is adjacent to the 14th hole at Mark Bestick Golf Course on the University of Florida campus. The 680-square-foot facility is equipped with a computerized video system that analyzes the Gators’ swing from various angles and then uses the information for technique improvement. Two covered outdoor hitting stations protect golfers from the elements at the two-tiered hitting area. The facility also includes two bunkers and a 10,000-square-foot putting green. Steve Melnyk, the facility’s namesake, is a three-time collegiate golf All-American at UF, won the 1969 U.S. Amateur Championship, the 1971 British Amateur title and represented the United States in the 1969 and 1971 Walker Cup competitions.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No.1
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 14
Practice Facility: Alvamar Golf Club
The Kansas golf programs have called the Knapheide Family Practice Facility at Alvamar Golf Club home since 2008 and changes are in the works. The fund-raising process has began to make the facility nearly five times larger with even more all-weather amenities. The current practice facility includes four heated hitting bays, one with a V1 video system featuring a TrackMan launch monitor. The bays are part of a climate-controlled facility that allows the Kansas golfers to hit balls out into the driving range at Alvamar Golf Club, regardless of the season.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 24
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 15
Practice Facility: The Golf Performance Center
Anytime you have someone who was trusted to make changes to Augusta National as your chief designer, you’re in good hands. The Golf Performance Center, designed by renowned architect Keith Foster, is home for the Iowa State men’s and women’s golf programs and debuted in the fall of 2013. Located three miles from campus, the 16-acre home for Cyclone golf was built at a cost of $2 million and is used solely by the Iowa State golf teams. In addition to Augusta, Foster and his team have provided renovations to Southern Hills Country Club and Colonial Country Club.
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 25
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 16
Practice Facility: The Biltmore Golf Course
University of Miami golf teams practice with one of Florida’s, and the nation’s, most historic hotels serving as its backdrop – the 100-year-old Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. It’s posh amenities and classic Donald Ross design has attracted dignitaries, celebrities and sports industry leaders for years. The Biltmore Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 71, which reopened in November of 2007 following a $5 million renovation. Its full feature practice area has everything you’d expect from a luxury resort, including a massive double-sided range, inclusive short game areas and private lesson/practice tees. It was not only enough to attract The U, but also the Golf Channel – as they chose the Biltmore as the site for a Golf Channel Academy.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 22
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 17
Practice Facility: Hartman Golf Practice Facility
The team has access to eight different golf clubs within 30 minutes of the university. However, most of their work is done on campus at the Hartman Golf Practice Facility at Braeburn Golf Course. There they have an 18-hole course, two-sided driving range (one side with Bermuda and the other with Bent grass), a 120-yard wedge range, three undulating practice greens, and a heated indoor facility with V1 Pro technology and retractable doors that open onto the range.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 7
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 18
Practice Facility: University of Louisville Golf Club
A perennial GRAA Top 50 Practice Facility, U of L Golf Club features a 22-acre practice facility with a putting green, two chipping greens with bunkers and a multitiered driving range with seven target greens.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 4
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 19
Practice Facility: The Stevens Center
Having opened in January of 2014, this state-of-the-art indoor training facility features a 40,000 sq. ft. golf area, four TrackMan launch monitors, a massive chipping and putting green, and team lounge.
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 9 GRAA
March Practice Rank: No. 20
Practice Facility: University Club of Kentucky
The 36-Hole University Club of Kentucky features two large putting greens, an expansive practice tee with a huge assortment of target greens, and a full short game practice area with sculpted bunkers.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 18 GRAA
March Practice Rank: No. 21
Practice Facility: Moraga Country Club
St. Mary’s is currently in the fourth year of a 20-year partnership with Moraga Country Club. The plush private facility is located two miles from campus and boasts one of the finest practice ranges in the area. The grass-surface teeing grounds were recently renovated and the entire practice facility was given a facelift. There are four defined target greens, a practice fairway bunker, greenside practice bunker and a turf strip on the backside of the range for rainy days.
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 3 GRAA
March Practice Rank: No. 22
Practice Facility: White Manor Country Club and GolfTEC
After a redesign in 2003, White Manor Country Club was met with rave reviews that included being ranked No. 3 in “Modern Design” and No. 14 in the state of Pennsylvania by Golfweek. An all-weather driving range with heated bays and covers offers six target greens ranging from 60 to 240 yards. The coolest element is a two-hole short game area with seven bunkers, which allows Villanova players to work on their bunker game from as far as 90 yards. The university also arranged a deal with a local GolfTEC so players can have access to high-speed cameras and launch monitors.
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 10
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 23
Practice Facility: Eight different locations
The Mountaineers practice and compete at eight different home courses: Lakeview Golf Course, Mountainview Golf Course, The Links at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Mystic Rock, Nemacolin Golf Academy, Pete Dye Golf Club, The Pines Country Club and the Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Stonewall Resort. The practice facility at Nemacolin Golf Academy features TrackMan indoor hitting bays, large putting greens, a short game area and a double-ended driving range.
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 20
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 24
Practice Facility:Traditions Golf Club
Located about 30 minutes off campus in Hebron, Kentucky, Traditions Golf Club serves as the home base for the University of Cincinnati golf team. While it’s rare for a school’s home course to be in a different state, it works out perfectly for the Bearcats. The private course has been perennially ranked among the top in the state of Kentucky and the team’s head coach, Doug Martin, has been a member there for years. The club offers two full practice ranges, pristine on-course conditions and an expansive short game area.
UNIVERSITY NCAA Basketball Ranking: No. 19
GRAA March Practice Rank: No. 25
Practice Facility: Highland Golf & Country Club
Located just north of Indiana’s capital city, Highland Golf & Country Club is one of the most historic and prestigious clubs in Indianapolis. It’s tradition of immaculate conditions have drawn the Butler University golf teams to call it their home course, where they practice near club members on the expansive practice range and short game areas.