Stono Ferry center boon for C of C golf
HOLLYWOOD — The Stono Ferry Golf Learning Center is a serious upgrade in facilities for the College of Charleston's men's and women's golf programs, which also means a serious upgrade in expectations.
"This is a no excuse facility," Cougars men's coach Mark McEntire said Wednesday at the Learning Center's grand opening. "We can hit balls 365 days a year and there are no excuses now, other than to say, 'I just hit a bad shot.' "
There should be considerably fewer bad shots, thanks to the new facilities.
Now at the Cougars' disposal are a double-ended driving range, a 15,000-square-foot putting green that also allows for work on the short game and bunker play, and two hitting bays that include the K-Vest and the V-1 Pro video, two high-tech systems for swing analysis.
"The V-1 system allows you to take a player's swing and break it down frame-by-frame," McEntire said. "We can then compare it to anybody on the PGA Tour. We have players we're recruiting who want to play on the PGA Tour, and they want to see where they stand against those guys. I can tell a player, 'Hey your swing is close to that of Tiger Woods, but when I can split up the screen and show them frame-by-frame that their golf swing is almost as good as Tiger Woods, it's encouraging."
McEntire estimates that the facility, which also includes locker rooms, coaches offices and a team meeting room and lounge area, is one of the top 10 college facilities in the nation.
"This definitely puts us at the top of the Southern Conference and probably in the top 10 nationally," he said. "We looked at facilities at Oklahoma State, Texas, Arizona, as well as some in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and kind of picked some things we liked."
The facility will be available for use for Stono Ferry members when not being used by the Cougars.
"What we wanted to do here is have a place our players wouldn't leave," McEntire said. "We can get better every day and make it feel like it's home."
Women's coach Jamie Futrell notes that the recruiting advantages of the facility are tremendous.
"I had a recruit here a few weeks ago before the facility was even complete, and her eyes were popping," Futrell said. "I've been here 11 years and we've been talking about this for 11 years. It's a culmination of everything we've been looking for. Pat Barber (Managing Partner for the Links at Stono Ferry) has done an amazing job of putting more than we can have ever imagined into this facility."
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