ASU Karsten Golf Course History

ASU Karsten Golf Course opened September 15, 1989. No tax dollars or university funds were used to build the golf course, only private funds. The largest single contributor to the project was Karsten Solheim, founder of PING golf equipment. Over the last 20-plus years, more than 1 million rounds have been played on the Pete Dye designed course, including 52,000 by the ASU men’s and ladies golf teams. The golf course was built by the Sun Angel Foundation, is owned by Arizona State University and is managed by Lyon Golf.

Founded in 1947, the Sun Angel Foundation is dedicated to academics and excellence at Arizona State University. In January 1988, ground was broken for the ASU/Karsten Golf Course and the course opened for play in September 1989. Not only have the Sun Angels helped build the ASU/Karsten Golf Course, they were instrumental in building the Sun Angel Clubhouse and the Bob and Karen Hobb’s Player Facility. Designed by Jones Studio and constructed by Homes & Son Contractors, Inc., ASU/Karsten was entirely funded through the Sun Angel Foundation and private contributions. The Collegiate Golf Foundation leases the Karsten facilities from the Arizona Board of Regents and contracts a professional course management company for the day-to-day management activities. ASU/Karsten is self-sustaining with considerable monies reverting back to ASU in support of the golf program and other athletic sports.

One of the strongest collegiate golf programs in the country, the ASU Golf Team has a premier training facility on the ASU Karsten grounds. This facility serves two objectives- for the Sun Devils to sharpen their game and as a strong recruiting tool for top collegiate-entry players. The first college program to win both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA championships in the same season, the teams continue to have laudable success. They remain nationally ranked year after year, and continually produce All-American and future PGA and LPGA Tour stars. These players include LPGA Hall of Fame Joanne Carner, the late Heather Farr, tour event winner Grace Park, ASU All American Billy Mayfair and Masters Champion Phil Mickelson.

Historical Timeline

Mid 1970’s – Concept of a golf course at ASU conceived by then Athletic Director Fred Miller.

  • Miller convinced Sun Angel Foundation to build for the university.
  • Keith Turley, on behalf of Arizona Public Service, donated 100 acres of land for the course.
  • Maurice Tanner of the Tanner Companies donated 20 acres of land for the course.
  • Rusty Lyon, General Partner of Westcor, donated the proceeds from the sale of a luxury home to building a golf course at ASU.

January 1988 – Sun Angel Foundation contracts with Resort Management of America to manage and operate course.

Summer 1982 – Feasibility study conducted on building a course at proposed site.

Fall 1982 – Arizona Board of Regents approved the Sun Angel Foundation proposal to build golf course.

Fall 1982-1988 – Completed real estate transactions for land, resolved water issues and raised $7 million for course construction.

Spring 1985 – Pete Dye selected as course architect.

January 1988 – Sun Angel Foundation contracts with Resort Management of America to manage and operate course.

January 1988 – Karsten and Louise Solheim of PING Manufacturing donated $2 million to help fund course construction.

January 1988 – Ground breaking for ASU/Karsten Golf Course and temporary Clubhouse facility.

September 1989 – Course opens for play.

April 1993 – Jones Studio contracted as architect for permanent clubhouse and player’s practice and instructional facility.

April 1993 – Homes & Son Contractors, Inc. selected as design build contractor.

June 1993 – Sun Angel Foundation renews contract with Resort Management of America

December 1993 – Ground breaking on Clubhouse and player’s facility.

November 17, 1994 – Sun Angel Clubhouse and the Bob and Karen Hobbs ASU Golf Teams Instructional Facility grand opening.

January 1995 – Sun Angel Foundation turns financial and operational responsibility of golf course over to The Collegiate Golf Foundation.

January 1995 – The Collegiate Golf Foundation forms Operational Review Board for the golf course.

July 1995 – Arizona State University hires the National Golf Foundation to perform an operations review of the ASU Karsten Golf Course.

October 1995 – National Golf Foundation report completed, and sent to Arizona State University and Operations Review Board.

July 1997 – Course closed 90 days to convert greens to Tiff Dwarf from Bent.

October 1997 – Resort Management of America changes name to Lyon Golf adding Scott and Rusty Lyon to partnership.

July 2000 – Operations Review Board increases the annual donation to the ASU Golf programs from $60,000 to $100,000 annually.

July 2001 – Re-design and re-build 16th green complex; re-opened in October 2001.

April 2002 – Operations Review Board approved funds and selection of Irrigation Architect for renovation of irrigation system.

May 2002 – The Collegiate Golf Foundation renews management agreement with Lyon Golf.

September 2002PING learning center construction starts.

October 2002 – Operations Review Board approves timeline and funds to move forward on renovation of irrigation system.

November 2002 – PING Learning center opens.

April 2003 – Grand Opening of the PING Learning Center.

July 2003 – Renovation of the irrigation system on the practice facility begins.

August 2003 – Renovation of the irrigation system on the practice facility completed.

November 2003 – New pump station installed.

October 2004 – Irrigation Renovation completed.

October 2004 – Improvements to player’s practice facility completed.

October 2005 – Board of Regents and Arizona State University renews lease with the Collegiate Golf Foundation through June 30, 2009.

December 2005 – The Collegiate Golf Foundation renews management agreement with Lyon Golf through June 30, 2009.

October 2007 – Food & Beverage Kitchen Remodel Completed.

July 2008 – Redesign & Renovation of Tees # 2 & 7.

  • Redesign & Renovation “Players” Facility Putting Green

November 2008 – Construction starts for new golf teams Performance Center.

December 2008 – The Collegiate Golf Foundation renews lease with Arizona State University through June 30, 2012.

  • The Collegiate Golf Foundation renews management agreement with Lyon Golf through June 30, 2012

March 2009 – Golf Teams Performance Center completed

September 2009 – Golf course celebrates its 20th anniversary