Construction crew members broke ground on the Davidson College Golf House at River Run Country Club on May 7, 2015.
Graeme Keith '54 and Ben Vernon '50, who also led the founding of the annual Tom Scott Memorial Golf Tournament, approaching its 21st year, have led the charge alongside LD Simmons '81 as part of a committee of golf alumni to move the approximately 3,400-square-feet, $500,000 project forward.
"Virtually all of the schools we compete against have this type of facility, and our lack of one has created a bit of a void in our recruitment efforts," said Keith. "River Run generously offered land for the Davidson team to develop a practice space if we could raise the funds for it, and our committee got together to discuss next steps right away."
The project was first discussed about 1.5 years ago.
"Our goal is to have it completed before the next season begins," said Head Golf Coach Tim Straub. "The generosity and outpouring of support really shows how dedicated our alumni and friends are to the program. This facility puts us on par with, or ahead of, almost all programs in the country."
The facility, which will be located on the short game practice area, features roll-up garage doors that open to heated hitting bays, allowing Davidson golfers to practice in inclement weather. The space also includes a locker room and lounge, video capabilities, an office for Coach Straub, meeting space, a club repair room and restrooms. Outside of Davidson use, only River Run's on-site golf pro will be allowed to teach in the facility.
Davidson golfers are looking forward to making the new facility part of their current routines.
"We practice mostly at River Run, but we have to keep most of our equipment in our cars as we go back and forth," said Andy Simmons '17. "With this new facility, we'll be able to keep all of our equipment at River Run. We can also get more practice time in because we don't have to work around bad weather."
More than $600,000 has been raised to date, and there are still opportunities to contribute to the facility and its maintenance.
"I hope the donors to this project know that the team is really excited about it," said Simmons. "We have fans-some whom are Davidson golf alumni and many who are not-who come out to watch us finish matches in 40-degree, freezing rain weather. Our supporters mean so much to us, and they help us in many ways, not just financially."
"We treasure the relationship with River Run," said Straub, "and we see this as a great bond between the college and the golf course. It's a phenomenal course and facility, and we feel lucky to have it as our home base."