MORGANTOWN — WVU golf coach Sean Covich will need a lot of time to wrap his brain around the amount of scenarios he can out his team through when a new practice complex becomes a reality.
Announced Thursday by WVU athletic director Shane Lyons, a “facilities master plan” will include an expected $5 million golf practice facility, including a five regulation green practice course.
Covich will have the luxury of switching tee and hole locations, so each green can coincide with another, allowing 27 different combinations across all six greens. Each green can also have multiple holes differentiated by a colored flag, which adds even more possibilities.
“Schools like Iowa State, Stanford, Tennessee and Oklahoma may not have exactly what we will, but they inspired us to do a similar setup,” Covich said. “They all have multiple greens, and you can come at them from different angles. We can set up any situation we wanted, and it also allows our guys to qualify and compete against each other.
“No, we’re not going to go out and build 18 holes, but we’re going to have different tee positions with shared fairways. You can create any type of golf course you want.”
The site of the facility, which doesn’t have an exact construction date, will be at the current location of White Day Golf Course, about 15 miles south of Morgantown on Smithtown Road neat Exit 146 off Interstate 79.
This will be a permanent home of the WVU golf program and will include a team clubhouse and locker room, as well as six indoor hitting bays, a driving range, and short game area and putting green. The hitting bays will be heated, so players can stay warm when practicing in the winter.
Building this for golf is something Lyons said needed to be done since the Big 12 “is the best conference for golf.”
Oklahoma State won the national championship last season, preceded by Oklahoma in 2017, while Texas was the runner-up in 2016.
“This gives coach Covich a chance to continue to build our program and move it in the right direction,” Lyons said.
Other Olympic upgrades
With the new aquatic center and track — Mountaineer Center — nearing completion at Mylan Park, the Shell Building, Natatorium and Cary Gym will get major facelifts once the swimming and diving teams move out to benefit all Olympic sports.
The project, including exterior and interior renovations to the Coliseum, will cost an estimated $40 million, is headlined by a new weight room to be shared by all teams, which consists of about 350 student-athletes.
There will also be new locker rooms, lounge areas and training rooms.
At Cary Gym, home of the gymnastics team, will use $5 million of the $40 million to complete its renovations. Improvements include a new training room, added gym space, upgraded locker room, lounge, study area, team meeting room, cardio/rehab space and storage space.
Outside, a new terrace will connect the Coliseum to Cary Gym. The baby blue outdoor track outside of the Shell Building will be removed and 500 parking space will be added, upping the total at the Coliseum Complex to 2,182.
Lyons said that all renovations are needs and not wants, necessary to keep up with not only other schools in the Big 12, but across other Power-5 conferences.
“If you want to call it an arms race, I think you can call it that, but we’re not doing anything exorbitant — we’re updated what we have,” he said. “It’s like updating your wardrobe. Our wardrobe is 20 years old and we need some new shoes and we need some new suits. We’re not tearing down walls and making new building. We’re taking what we have and making it better.”