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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Players 'in awe' of new facility

New practice venue exclusively for teams boasts many features

Last Tuesday, the Hoosiers entered their new state-of-the-art practice facility at the IU Foundation for the first time. It remains to be seen how much of an impact the facility will have on the team, but the initial response has been encouraging. \n"When I walked in, I thought 'Wow,' in astonishment," sophomore Danah Ford said. "They really did a great job on the whole practice field, with the many greens and different shots. We walk into that facility and we get lost and lose track of time." \nThe course features a variety of different greens and bunkers with a multitude of different angles for shooting. \n"I was in awe, I was just so excited" junior Adrienne Graessle said of the facility. \nAdditionally, the facility's exclusiveness for only the 24 members of the men's and women's golf teams minimizes outside distractions while also keeping the site in prime condition.\n"We take very good care of it," Ford said. "Every time we hit into the greens we have to fix our grass spot. If we had hundreds of people using it, there wouldn't be any grass left. We know how to take care of it and really value it."\nHead coach Sam Carmichael has set up different stations around the facility to practice an array of different scenarios, such as long or short bunker shots or pitches onto the greens from varying lengths. \n"You name the shot, and we have the opportunity to practice it," Carmichael said. "We now have a short game area that is better than the majority of the schools in the Big Ten and nationally. It is an exceptional practice area."\nBut the addition of such a facility to the golf program of the school is nothing new in the Big Ten. Over the past several years, several of the premiere women's and men's golf teams have developed similar, state-of-the-art practice sites.\n"I think if a school wants to commit to a good golf program then they should provide a good facility," senior captain Tiffany Fisher said. "Most schools in the Big Ten have done that."\nMichigan State, figuring to be a strong contender, opened a similar facility in May of 1997. Its features include several acres of bent grass practice tee, a teaching tee, practice bunkers, target greens and a 20,000 square-foot putting green. \nLikewise, Northwestern invested $1.1 million in building the Gleacher Golf Center, a practice site the university boasts as "the finest indoor learning center in the collegiate golf world." That center includes a 2,056 square foot pitching and putting green, a 280 square-foot sand bunker, a hitting area with three stations and a teaching area complete with digital cameras for video assessment.\n"If you are to compete in the Big Ten and nationally, a facility like ours is a must," Carmichael said. "We are not the first in the Big Ten to have a short game area. In fact, 7 other schools have had facilities for 3 years or more. Nationally, most of the top ranked schools have had areas such as ours for some time."\nThe team will put their long hours logged in the facility to use this weekend, when they travel to East Lansing, Michigan for the Mary Fossum Invitational. \n"I think we can only be as good as how much time we put into our games," Ford said. "I just think it's a luxury. The practice facility will benefit us, but the team will have to continue to play rounds of golf to get better"

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