Karsten Golf Course
The Karsten Golf Course at ASU, open since 1989, not only has been a tremendous asset to the Tempe community, but also for the golf program at ASU. A perennial winner throughout the years, the golf program at ASU for both the men and women has benefited tremendously from the best training facilities possible for the golfers to hone their skills in order to compete with the very best teams the nation has to offer.
Among the amenities enjoyed by the ASU golf teams are a separate driving range, putting greens and chipping and sand practice areas set aside specifically for the ASU golf teams.
Since 1989, the men's and women's golf programs have combined for seven NCAA Championships, including a current string of five, four by the women (1993-95, 1997), and one by the men (1996). In addition, in 1990, ASU became the first school ever to have both the men's and women's teams win national championships in the same season.
Both golf coaches at ASU agree that The Karsten Golf Course at ASU has had a tremendous impact on the success of the golf teams.
"I have a tremendous appreciation for what the Sun Angels have done (building Karsten Golf Course) for the program," says women's head coach Linda Vollstedt. "It's been a great recruiting tool and it's been a first-class facility for our golf program." Randy Lein, head coach of the men's team agrees: "ASU had great golf programs before Karsten was built, but Karsten has helped us to enhance that reputation as one of the best golf programs in the nation."
The Karsten Golf Course at ASU, not only distinguishes ASU golf as the elite program in the nation, but also the ASU athletic program and its continuing drive to pursue excellence in athletics. The Clubhouse
The new clubhouse at Karsten was completed in the fall of 1994, along with new player practice and instructional facilities-already regarded as one of the nation's premier collegiate facilities.
The two-story clubhouse consists of a large pro shop, an inside dining area and an expansive outdoor patio overlooking the golf course. The upper level includes a permanent tribute to former ASU golfer Heather Farr, who succumbed to cancer in November 1993, and also features a glassed instructional studio. The lower level of the clubhouse contains a golf cart storage and maintenance area and men's and women's locker room facilities.
Located on the southwest corner of the player practice driving range on Rural Road, the player practice and instructional facility serves as the home of the ASU men's and women's golf teams. The building includes "Hobbs House", named after Bob and Karen Hobbs and family, who were major contributors to the clubhouse. Inside the facility is a large player facility room which has a state-of the-art video analysis system, a study area and a team meeting room. In addition, the building also has locker room facilities for both the men's and women's teams and small, satellite offices for both head coaches.
"The completion of these two facilities was a major contribution toward continuing the long and distinguished history of the ASU golf program," says ASU men's golf coach Randy Lein.
One of the most important steps of turning Fred Miller's dream of constructing an on-campus golf course into reality was finding a designer whose skill and know-how could turn the 156 acres of barren land, located on the corner of First and Rural in Tempe, into a championship golf course. However, in trying to carry out Miller's vision, the Sun Angel Foundation was looking for a "name" architect. They were also looking for an individual who could create a golf course that would be playable for players of all skill levels. After carefully analyzing the work of 15 golf course architects, the Sun Angel Foundation selected Pete Dye, whose international reputation of creating golf courses on four different continents, proved to be the quality which the Sun Angel Foundation was looking for.
However, when Dye was selected, not only was the Sun Angel foundation getting the services of an internationally known architect, but it was also getting the services of Dye's family-his wife Alice and their son Perry-as well. Together they formed the company of Pete Dye and Dye Designs, Inc.
In designing The Karsten Golf Course at ASU, vision was perhaps the most important tool in the beginning because it seemed hard to believe that a championship golf course could be molded from the 156 acres of wasteland that was chosen to be the site of The Karsten Golf Course at ASU. However, as Sun Angel Solly Sollenberger recalls, Dye was more than up to the challenge: "When I first started talking to Pete, I was so embarrassed about the sight, I was apologetic. But Pete quickly let me know that he preferred flat, lifeless land where he could move earth to his heart's content."
And in less than two years time, Dye and his family took that raw piece of earth and turned it into one of the most fascinating and picturesque sites in Tempe.
In designing the course, each member of the Dye family had an important responsibility in the creation of what is now The Karsten Golf Course at ASU. For Pete, who was designing his second golf course in the valley (Red Mountain Ranch course in Mesa was the first), the task was to design a course that, in the words of former Arizona State President J. Russell Nelson, was to "be of superior design and construction." Pete's son Perry, who had a fascination for golf course design since the age of 12, was in charge of carrying out his father's design by supervising the construction, irrigation, growing of the greens and engineering done by the Dye Designs firm. Perry's most important responsibility in supervising the construction of the Karsten Golf Course was ensuring that his father's signature trademarks, like an abundant use of railroad ties were carried out. And Alice, who is the only female member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, contributed her knowledge of golf course design to help make Karsten Golf Course a competitive, yet enjoyable experience not just for men and players with low handicaps, but also for women and players of all skill levels.
The Karsten Golf Course at ASU further enhances the reputation of Pete Dye in showing the versatility of Dye's ability to create a golf course; whether it be a course aimed at the PGA's best, such as the extremely competitive "monster" at PGA West, or a golf course suited to the various golfers found in a university setting. Indeed, as any golfer could say, to play a golf course designed by Pete Dye is to truly appreciate the pleasures a competitive golf course can offer.
The Karsten Golf Course at ASU is a trendsetting facility in many ways. It is a Scottish style links course in the middle of the Sonoran desert. It is the only golf course on a collegiate campus. And, it has served as a laboratory site for scientific research.
Karsten, which opened in September of 1989 has utilized its ponds to study three rare species of nearly extinct Southwestern fish. The study was conducted to examine how these denizen of the deep interact with their environment.
Roughly 1,500 juvenile Colorado squawfish were stocked in the course's north pond, while 1,500 juvenile bonytail and 2,000 juvenile razorback suckers were stocked in the south pond. Adaptability tests were conducted biweekly and samplings were taken to assess their status to determine which types of fish had invaded the course watering system.
In addition, various low-water usage plants and alternate species for golf course management were tested to see how they would perform in the arid climate of the southwest. Other university research included turf and greens-disease diagnosis and a study of native vegetation in the course's non-groom areas
An automated weather station has been put on the course to constantly monitor air and soil temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, dew point, precipitation, soil measurement and solar energy. The information collected will be used to calculate evaportranspiration rates and climatic information. All of these figures will tell precisely how much water to use when irrigating the course, preventing wastage.
Pete Dye, world-renown for designing golf courses, took the Salt River bottom, which he described as a barren wasteland and turned it into one of the most appealing recreation facilities in the country. But, it is important to note that in this desert region the water conservation efforts taken and researched at Karsten have gone far beyond the minimum requirements of conserving water to advancing the state of environment research taking it into the 21st century.
Sun Angel Foundation
The ASU Karsten Golf Course could not be what it is today without the support of the Sun Angel Foundation. Founded in 1947, the Sun Angel Foundation has raised and contributed over $50 million dollars for Arizona State University.
The Sun Angels financial support is solely dedicated to achieving excellence for Arizona State University in academics and athletics in addition to continuing improvements to the finest intercollegiate athletic facilities in the country. The Karsten Golf Course has without a doubt been one of the major benefactors.
The original dream of Athletic Director Fred Miller in 1976, ASU President J. Russell Nelson set the wheels in motion to build a golf course in 1981. After a feasibility study, Nelson set guidelines for the project. 1) The course had to be close to campus. 2) The course had to be first-class in design and construction. 3) The University could not become financially liable for the course. The Sun Angels agreed to these guidelines and went about the task of acquiring the necessary land. The project was underway, and the rest is history. Not only have the Sun Angels helped to build and finance Karsten, they were instrumental in the building of the Sun Angel Clubhouse and the Bob and Karen Hobbs Varsity Players Facility.
Amongst the other notable Sun Angel contributions:
The SAF committed $1 million to a Minority Scholarship Endowment.
The SAF has contributed over 1,500 scholarships to 10 of the university's colleges.
The SAF contributed $1.3 million to the Excellence in Engineering program, providing the impetus for corporate funding.
The SAF contributed $1 million to Applied Sciences, Research in the Humanities and the Speech and Hearing Clinic.
The SAF contributed $4.3 million towards the expansion of Sun Devil Stadium, paving the way for bond clearance of the $11 million project.
The SAF has contributed $1.1 million and pledged another $5 million towards the indebtedness of the Intercollegiate Athletic (ICA) building.