All it took was 16 days after work began April 16 and now the college has a place to putt.
Newberry College’s own short game practice facility now sits beside the Smith Road baseball field ready for golfers to practice their “short game.”
The phrase refers the part of golf when players stand in short range of the hole. In their short game, golfers can sink the ball in the cup with non-full swing putts, chips or “bunker shots,” for example.
“Our short game facility looks phenomenal!” wrote Newberry College mens golf coach Brian McCants in a blog on the college Web site.
Though the physical labor for a field was short, planning, however, was a five year process.
In 2005, McCants and Rusty Casey, the school’s golf director at the time, dreamt of having a place on campus where golfers could practice their short game.
“For two-and-a-half years, we weren’t able to make much headway,” says McCants.
McCants thought they would have to build the field on a heavily wooded area behind the current baseball stadium, where there are government wetlands.
But in December of 2007, McCants met Bob James who “was very instrumental in getting the alumni of the college interested in the project and with the beginning of our Newberry College Golf Association,” says McCants.
Things began to turn around.
After a fundraiser in spring 2008, the college was a third of the way towards its fundraising goal for the project.
Then in August 2008, the Newberry College Golf Association formed and the project was on its way.
“In December 2009, after an awesome four months of alumni involvement and support, it became apparent that we were going to be able to build the facility in spring 2010,” says McCants.
A putting company from Georgia installed the 2,400 square foot green, two practice bunkers and four practice teeing areas.
Nine days after installation began April 14, irrigation work began.
Newberry College ’65 alumni Lloyd Brigman stepped in to “completely handle” the irrigation, going “above and beyond what could have been reasonably expected or asked,” says McCants.
Then sod was delivered, which college golfers and golf coaches helped install.
But the field is just the beginning of a bigger golf work on the Newberry campus.
Come 2014, there will be a chock-full indoor place to grow even better golfers.
“Now that the outdoor practice facility is complete, we are turning our attention to having an indoor facility built at the same site,” says McCants.
The indoor facility will contain an indoor hitting area with computer swing analysis, indoor putting, coaches offices, team meeting room, players lounge, a Study Hall area and club repair.
“The (Newberry College Golf Association) is being pretty ambitious about the timetable to get the indoor facility done, but we think we can get it done by Spring 2014,” says McCants. “We have a lot of people interested in both the men’s and women’s golf programs, and fortunately, they want to help.”