Arizona golf finds a new home
All athletes on the UA campus understand the struggles of balancing their practice schedules with their class schedules.
But the men’s and women’s golf teams now have an easier time of doing that — and at a world-class facility.
In December 2013, the Sewailo Golf Club opened to the public and became the home of the Arizona golf teams.
Sewailo Golf Club is located at the Casino Del Sol, on Valencia Road, and features separate training areas for the teams to work on every aspect of their game.
CASINO DEL SOL’S SEWAILO Golf Club hosted the Arizona Intercollegiate golf tournament from Jan. 27-28. Both Arizona golf teams moved to Sewailo this academic year and now are able to set their own practice schedules. The Sewailo course was designed by Notah Begay III.
The Wildcats’ previous home, Arizona National Golf Club, is about 27 minutes from the UA, while Sewailo is around 22 minutes.
“It is well worth the drive because we have such a great facility to practice at,” said UA men’s golf head coach Jim Anderson. “Our home course is one of the very best in the Southwest.”
Assistant women’s golf coach Derek Radley said the facilities at Sewailo are phenomenal.
“We are so lucky to be out at Sewailo,” Radley said. “The 15 acres that we have just for the men’s and women’s teams, to be able to run private practices on it — I can’t tell you the progress that I’ve seen in our girls.”
One of the benefits of having their own facility means the players can go on their own at any time and practice what they want, when they need to.
“Over on the practice facility area, which we call the ‘Wildcat Academy,’ they have free reign over there,” Anderson said. “It is a private facility and there is a range, chipping area, putting area and driving area. Every part of their game they want to work on in a practice setting, they can go over and use any time they want.”
Notah Begay III, Native American former PGA tour golfer and current Golf Channel analyst, designed Sewailo Golf Club.
“Anytime you can just go out, show up and have a driving range and putting facility waiting for you, it’s a huge advantage,” said sophomore Kolton Lapa of the men’s team.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have seen results in their play since Sewailo Golf Club was opened. The men’s team has not finished lower than seventh place and has four top-five finishes. The women have not finished lower than sixth place and have three top-five finishes.
Beyond the immediate results that the new home has helped produce for the teams, the future benefits it could produce for recruiting could be even bigger.
“Golf programs across the country are really bulking up on the facilities they provide their athletes,” Anderson said. “I think it is evidence that the University of Arizona and its athletic departments are behind our team. For us to have a golf course that’s going to host the U.S. Open local qualifier next May … to have that as a home is certainly an attractive sell to prospective student athletes.”
Junior Alex McMahon, a member of the men’s team, said facilities are one of the main things recruits consider picking a school.
“When you come on your recruiting trip as a high school kid, that’s one of the main things you look at,” McMahon said. “How good are the facilities? Because you’re going to spend four, five, six hours a day at these places, so you want to be at nice spots.”
—Follow Fernando Galvan @fgalvan35