TAMPA — Starting this fall, members of the University of South Florida golf teams will finally be able to shower between practice and class.
For the first time, they will have their own locker rooms — part of a new, 5,000-square-foot training facility made possible by a $1.3 million donation from the parents of a member of the men's team.
The building also will include a fitness center, indoor hitting bays, coach offices, a team lounge and a conference room with a flat-screen television, kitchenette and patio.
USF is celebrating the project, which unofficially broke ground a few weeks ago, at a ceremony today. It is adjacent to the driving range at the popular university course on N 46th Street, across from campus on Fletcher Avenue.
"We'll certainly have all the bells and whistles, and those are nice things, but the simple part of it is that our men and women, they have a home now," said Chris Malloy, coach of the men's golf team.
Having a place to gather together will be great for team development, said Marci Kornegay, coach of the women's team. And the workout space and a state-of-the-art video analysis center will help golfers improve.
All that makes it an "invaluable recruiting tool," Kornegay said.
The donor for the project, Dr. Shaukat Chowdhari, who owns the University Pain Management Clinic near campus, said giving to USF was an easy decision. A member of the USF Foundation Board of Directors, Chowdhari and his family have given to USF several times before.
Their interest in golf — with son Adam on the men's team — led them to this project.
When Adam, a serious golfer in high school, was considering where to go to college, USF was not his top choice. He wanted to go to the Northeast or maybe Oklahoma. But then his dad reminded him, "In Tampa, you can play year-round."
"Now," Chowdhari said, when golf students consider USF, "they don't have to think twice."
The inauguration of the student facility begins at 11 a.m. at the driving range at the USF golf course, called the Claw.
(If you're wondering, the course, which serves more than 50,000 golfers a year, was named for a tree on the 14th hole with a big branch.)
Kim Wilmath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3337.