July 9, 2007

Arnold Palmer Tees Off Ceremony for New NC State Golf Course

Golf legend Arnold Palmer teed off construction of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at North Carolina State University in an invitation-only ceremony Monday, July 9, on NC State's Centennial Campus.

The Palmer Course Design Company designed the 18-hole, 7,025-yard, par-71 public course. NC State alumni Erik Larsen '77, executive vice president of the Palmer Course Design Company, and Brandon Johnson '97, golf course architect for the firm, were instrumental in the course's design.

"This course will bring a broad range of benefits to NC State, our students and the community," said Chancellor James Oblinger. "The golf course will support teaching and learning, research, economic development and recreation in many ways."

The Poole family donated $3 million for the course's construction. The $11.6 million golf course project is being funded entirely by private donations.

In addition to serving as a recreational amenity, NC State's golf course will enhance the academic and programmatic mission of the university, provide a critical research and teaching tool, serve as a living laboratory for the university's nationally recognized turfgrass program, provide a home for the university's PGA-sanctioned Professional Golf Management program and serve as a venue for the NC State golf teams.

The course is particularly important to the teaching of golf course professionals and will be a boost to the turfgrass program. The university is one of only 18 schools in the nation accredited by the PGA of America to offer a Bachelor of Science in professional golf management (PGM). PGM students learn how to combine the best practices for managing the business of golf with the best stewardship of natural resources. The turfgrass program is one of the largest and best known in the country.

The environmentally friendly course and facilities will cover about 200 acres in the southern portion of Centennial Campus. Eventually, the facility will include a clubhouse and a 12,000-square-foot building that will house classrooms, working labs, meeting and conference rooms, and offices.

The golf course is slated to open in spring 2009.