LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming golf program unveiled the Ron R. Richardson Golf Performance Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday morning at Jacoby Golf Course. The $1.3 million privately funded facility will be the indoor practice home for Cowboy and Cowgirl golf teams.
"Wyoming's student-athletes represent excellence on and off the field," said UW President Dick McGinity. "The UW Indoor Golf Facility--including the Ron R. Richardson Golf Performance Center--will give them the tools to better compete on a national stage, and tools to help overcome the unpredictability of Wyoming's weather. The facility is another wonderful example of the supporters of Wyoming's university coming together to give our students that extra edge, and for that I am very grateful."
The ceremony featured remarks by President McGinity, UW Director of Athletics Tom Burman, UW Trustee Dave Bostrom, UW Director of Golf Joe Jensen, and UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. The five speakers joined Cowgirl Golf Coach Josey Stender and donors Kris and Tracy Richardson and Blake Fisher for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"I tip my cap to Joe and Josey for cultivating the number of great donors we have for this university and the golf program," Burman said. "This facility is a great asset to the university and the golf program for training, recruiting and development."
The celebration included ceremonial first shots taken by student-athletes on the UW golf team, including Kamrin Allen of Sheridan; Samantha Stancato of Colorado Springs; Cameron Lindell of Sheridan; Emily Woodard of Cheyenne; Ryan Wallen of Blaine, Washington; and Kathleen Kershisnik of Highlands Ranch.
The facility includes four 8-foot-wide hitting bays; an 1,800-plus-square-foot indoor putting green with a high-tech synthetic surface; a state-of-the-art golf simulator; a centralized location for range balls with a washing station; and a team room with amenities, locker rooms, an office, study areas, a team lounge, a hall of fame, and recognition of donors.
The simulator is from the industry leader aboutGolf and is the same type the Golf Channel uses. Its 3D graphics let the golfer feel like they are really on a particular course--it's possible to golf in Florida in February without leaving Wyoming. The company spends more than a year reproducing every course so the golfer feels like they're really there.
The launch monitor is provided by Trackman, another industry leader in golf technology. It gives the golfer reliable swing and ball flight data, which are essential to game improvement.
These tools are the best in the industry, which is what UW golfers need to become top-notch players and to remain competitive. Cowboy and Cowgirl golf players will be able to improve every aspect of their game--from putting to driving to everything in between. This center gives them the opportunity to practice year-round in an environment that mimics actual playing surfaces.
"I can easily say we have greatly enhanced the overall student-athlete experience for Wyoming golf," Jensen said. "It is wonderful to see the pride the student-athletes and alumni have in this building. I have no doubts it is going to create an improved year-round training environment."
It will also be a place where the golf teams can host alumni events, allowing previous generations and current students to mingle and swap stories.
"I don't think it could have turned out any better, and it is just a great example of all the great people we have surrounding our student-athletes," Stender said.
It is the second building on campus to be funded completely by private donations, the first being the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The Fisher family--Blake and Julie Fisher and Donne and Sue Fisher--Pat Spieles and Carol McMurry, and donors who wish to remain anonymous made the lead donations for the golf facility. The facility is named in honor of the Fishers' family friend, Ron Richardson.
Donne and Sue Fisher's support of the University of Wyoming has been extraordinary. In addition to supporting athletics, they support academics and made the lead donation to the UW Literacy Center and Research Clinic. Their original intention was to name the literacy center after Ron. The Richardson family was incredibly flattered and taken aback by the Fishers' gesture but felt that naming the golf facility after Ron would be more appropriate.
"This building is a testament to what a great group of donors we have that support this university and Wyoming golf," Jensen said.
The Richardson family's ties to athletics and golf runs deep. Tracy Richardson, Ron's son, who works for the UW Foundation and helped raise funds for this project, is a former UW Cowboy golfer. Ron and his wife Kris created the Ronald R. Richardson Golf Excellence Fund to foster excellence and provide support to the UW men's and women's golf programs. Ron was also very involved with Cowboy Joe Club. It seemed only fitting to name the facility after someone so dedicated to UW golf.