Golf Team Practice Facility
Air Force Golf Team Coach George Koury recognizes the value of the experiences his cadets learn while at the Academy. “I’ve been around the Air Force Academy program for some time, and have seen how the program reinforces the ‘integrity’ and ‘excellence’ aspects of our Core Values in our cadets, and helps to instill the same character traits that are implemented in each of the mission areas of the Academy: Discipline, Integrity, and Teamwork.”
In recognition of the importance of the athletic excellence, and in attempt to elevate the program further, the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Air Force Academy Endowment have embarked on a new initiative to build a world-class golf practice range for the Falcon Golf Team. To date, the USAFA Golf Team has produced four NCAA All-Americans, six All American Scholars, numerous post graduate scholarship winners, 30 team titles and an impressive 16 straight Service Academy Classic championships.
The development concept is to construct a year-round practice range, dedicated for use by the Air Force Golf Team. This will allow the Golf Team practice in a controlled environment, and it will be dedicated to team and staff members. Currently, the existing driving range and course, used by all patrons of the Academy’s courses, is overcrowded, especially during peak practice times. The existing range is also “landlocked” and cannot be expanded beyond its current boundaries. While the team receives tremendous support from Eisenhower Golf Course, it shares range space with various local high school and collegiate teams in addition to the other eligible users, making course access during crucial practice time difficult.
The new range would provide much-needed additional space, conditions for practice, including narrower sight lines to properly-sized targets. As Head Golf Coach George Koury (USAFA Class of 1993) remarked, “Golf is a ‘lifetime’ sport and everybody’s hobby. While this creates an excellent learning opportunity for our cadets, it also makes it difficult for the team to get a closed practice with no distractions outside of the team dynamic, which substantially cuts down quality practice time and swallows extra time out of the cadets’ schedules.”
The new practice facility requires a $300,000 fundraising effort. Since much of the work will involve existing ground, a minimal amount of earthwork and tree clearing will be necessary, making the project more cost effective. Once underway, project construction is estimated to take fewer than 60 days to complete.
While much of the first few phases of the training center were funded with federal dollars, this next phase of the Golf Team Practice Facility will utilize private monies. The USAFA Golf Team will depend on donor support to provide the best quality practice range for Academy cadets. Coach Koury emphasized that, “this project relies completely on donor support, it truly will be a 100% donor funded project and final product.”
The creation of the Golf Team Practice Facility will incorporate 3 different hitting locations.
- A main tee that will allow players to work on their swing mechanics while hitting to targets positioned from 100 yards to 300 yards away. The elevated tee will give players a good view of the entire target area. The tee surface will be 50’ deep to allow for the tee line to be moved on a daily basis so that the turf can heal in. The tee will be 100’ long, providing enough room for at least 10-12 hitting stations. This area will also have a synthetic tee line for use during the winter months.
- An intended uneven and unlevel lie hitting area. This is positioned so that players can practice a variety of shot types from varying lie angles and slopes and flat areas as well. The long target green will have multiple holes in it so that players can work on an exact range of specific chipping yardages from 30-90 yards to improve their touch and accuracy. A “fairway” bunker will also be located here allowing players to practice longer bunker shots to the various target greens. This hitting station will be positioned slightly above the target greens and below the longer target poles. This area will give players a good view to the various targets.
- Lastly, an uneven lie hitting area will be positioned so that players can practice hitting uphill to their target. This hitting area is positioned below all of the target greens in a clearing between the trees. Players can practice hitting roughly 100-150 yard shots uphill. The hitting area will have some different slopes, angles and flat areas to give players the opportunity to practice a wide variety of shots and situations.
Coach Koury is appreciative of the support the USAFA Golf Team has received over these many years, stating, “There is tremendous value in having grads come to our events. It gets the cadets fired up to know they have the support of people who graduated ten, twenty and even thirty years ago.”
To learn more about how you can help, please contact Troy Danno’12 at Troy.Danno@USAFAEndowment.org.