Arizona State University unveiled its new state-of-the-art practice facility and the new home for Sun Devil Golf at Papago Golf Course late last year. It’s a special and unique project for multiple reasons. Most notably, ASU alum and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson designed the expansive practice area.
Mickelson is known for his short-game expertise, and his design reflects that. The four-acre practice area consists of five practice greens, four practice bunkers and a three-acre fairway and rough designed to practice every possible golf shot.
“Phil Mickelson Design and the coaches have thought of every possible shot and skill required to be a world-class player and put it into the ground and into the entire facility, creating a training environment unlike any in the world,” says ASU men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond. “This facility is the next piece to compliment Sun Devil Golf’s storied past, creating a surge of momentum for our golf programs into a very bright and sunny future.”
The involvement of Thunderbirds Charities – a non-profit organization that was formed in the 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open – also elevates the prestige of the new facility. The organization is committed to investing in areas that grow the game of golf in Arizona, and made a generous commitment. The facility has been named The Thunderbirds Golf Complex in its honor.
“As an organization, making a direct impact within the golf community and cultivating interest in the game of golf is always our passion,” says Carlos Sugich, Thunderbirds Big Chief. “When we were presented the opportunity to contribute to Arizona State’s new golf facility and to Papago Golf Course, there was no question we wanted to play a part in this exciting moment for golf in the state of Arizona.”
The 7,000-square foot facility features a grand entry lobby, national championship displays, a team gym, locker rooms for both men’s and women’s teams, a fueling station, study lounge, team lounge, indoor hitting bays and more.
“This premier facility will allow our golf programs to build on their strong tradition of winning while training at one of the most impressive facilities in the country,” says Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson. “It is evident so many intricate details were considered in order to create innovative practice areas and creatively maximize our footprint at this iconic setting.”
Papago Golf Course, which established a reputation for its scenic desert views, has a long-standing history with Sun Devil Golf as the course was the home of a number of standout local Sun Devil golf student-athletes, including Billy Mayfair, the late Heather Farr and current Sun Devil Women’s Golf Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye.
“We are so excited to be moving into our new home at Papago Golf Course,” says Farr-Kaye. “It is quite special for me to be coaching my alma mater back where I first learned to play golf. The training facility here has exceeded my expectations and I am confident my current team and future Sun Devils will enjoy practicing here for years to come.”