University Club practice facility

The practice facility at the University Club of Milwaukee will be used by the Marquette University golf team as well as club members.

A new practice facility at University Club of Milwaukee, which will be used not only by club members but by the Marquette University golf team, has won a significant design award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

The practice facility, designed by Sussex native Andy Staples, is one of six winners in the ASGCA’s eighth annual Design Excellence Recognition Program.

“I’m honored to be acknowledged by my colleagues with this award, and thrilled for the U Club,” said Staples, whose company, Staples Golf Design, is based in Scottsdale, Ariz. “This is a testament to the members that put their trust in this project, and it’s great to see their foresight honored in this way. To have been able to involve Marquette as well makes it even more special.”

Staples turned 10 acres of undeveloped forest in the center of the course into a practice area that includes a full range, a competition wedge range, a four-hole practice course and short and long sand and grass bunker practice areas.

Previously, the University Club’s only practice area was a short and narrow range shoehorned into the southeast side of the property, along N. 43rd Street.

Staples also removed several hundred trees, modified the tees on Nos. 13 and 16 and completely rebuilt the par-3 12th hole, but left the green complexes untouched on the 1921 Tom Bendelow design.

“One of the great things about our golf course is we still have 16 of the 18 original Bendelow greens,” said Greg Dick, the PGA general manager at University Club.

The new practice facility will open in the spring of 2020. It will be the primary place for Marquette’s golf team to practice.

“What’s so great about the partnership is the times that Marquette is going to be using it are really spring and fall,” Dick said. “Their players are welcome 12 months a year to our facility but they are of such a caliber that they’re international players. When our members are there with their high demand time (in the summer months) the MU players will be playing in tournaments all over the country.”

Dick said the club’s members are excited about the changes.

“We definitely went through the process with town hall meetings with Andy,” he said. “Not only is he a great architect but he’s got great people skills. He did a great job explaining to our members and taking feedback from our members. Andy’s patience and his willingness to meet with members and bring them all in was a positive.”

Other courses honored with ASGCA Design Excellence awards were Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando; The Dunes at Diamante Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Maple Lane Golf Club in Sterling Heights, Mich.; McLemore Club in Rising Fawn, Ga.; and TPC Colorado in Berthoud, Colo.

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