May 5 Marks Final Day of Play for ASU Karsten Golf Course

30-year era of public and collegiate golf comes to an end.

Tempe, Arizona May 5, 2019 marks the final day to play at ASU Karsten Golf Course before permanently closing after 30 years of public golf as well as serving as the home course for Arizona State University’s golf teams since opening in September 1989. The parcel of land where the Pete Dye-designed golf course currently sits is scheduled for future development, athletic fields and other university facilities.

“ASU Karsten was built in an era when high-end daily fee golf in the Valley really took off,” said Mike Conner, original general manager of the golf course and vice president of OB Sports, the facility’s management firm. “The golf course not only hosted ASU’s golf teams and phoenix-area residents, it also hosted hundreds of thousands of winter visitors looking for a quality golf experience.”

Anticipating the closure, the ASU golf teams already made the move to nearby Papago Golf Course where a unique public/private partnership between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and the Arizona Golf Community Foundation significantly upgraded the golf facility. Here, the golf teams will play and compete on the classic golf course as well as practice at the newly christened Thunderbirds Golf Complex, a golf training facility designed by Phil Mickelson, former Sun Devil standout and 44-time winner on tour.

“Decades ago, the golf community came together to create ASU Karsten in a very unique way,” said Conner. “We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to that community and honor their efforts in the time we have left by encouraging golfers to get out there to play the golf course one more time.”

The concept for the on-campus golf course was originally conceived in the 1970s by then Athletic Director Fred Miller who convinced the Sun Angel Foundation to spearhead construction. Along the way, the golf course, clubhouse and team facilities received collaborative financial support from a host of individuals and organizations including Louise and Karsten Solheim, Arizona Public Service, the Tanner Companies, Westcor, Bob and Karen Hobbs, The Thunderbirds, Jones Studios, Homes & Sons, G.M. “Solly” Sollenberger and the Collegiate Golf Foundation.

The 1989 opening soon sparked the “Decade of the Devils,” a 10-year stretch of success in the ‘90s when the men’s and women’s teams combined for eight NCAA Golf Championships – six women’s (’90, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’97, ’98), and two men’s (’90, ‘96). During that time, Phil Mickelson posted two NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championships (1990 and 1992), and Todd Demsey followed suit in 1993. On the women’s side, Emilee Klein won the NCAA individual title in 1994. Kristel Mourgue d’Algue took individual honors in 1995, and Grace Park did the same in 1999.

In 2003 Alejandro Canizares added one more NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship. Azahara Munoz won the NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship in 2008, and a year later, the women earned another team championship. More recently, 2017, Monica Vaughn led the women’s team to a record eighth NCAA Women’s Golf Championship en route to her individual title that same year. All told while playing out of ASU Karsten, the women have notched five individual titles and eight team titles, and the men posted four individual titles and two team titles.

“At the time, the golf course and those who made it happen, really set the standard for the type of collegiate golf facilities needed to recruit and compete for championships,” said director of golf, Derek Crawford. “Needless to say, it was a huge success. And it wasn’t just collegiate players who enjoyed the golf course. I would estimate it logged more than one million rounds of public golf during the 30-year span.”

In 1992 ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted both the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship and the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships, which it also went on to host two more times in 2001 and 2011. The Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championships were held at ASU Karsten three times (1990, 2000 and 2010). Other notable tournaments include the PING/ASU Women’s Invitational, Arizona State Thunderbirds Collegiate Invitational, PING Phoenix Junior at ASU Karsten, U.S. Open Qualifying and many other high-profile competitive championships.

Timeline:  ASU Karsten Golf Course Build and Competitive Results Rundown

Mid 1970s:

  • Concept of a golf course at ASU conceived by then Athletic Director Fred Miller.

1982: 

  • Arizona Board of Regents approves the Sun Angel Foundation’s proposal to build the golf course

1988:

  • Karsten and Louise Solheim donate $2 million to help fund construction

1989: 

  • ASU Karsten Golf Course, designed by renowned architect Pete Dye, opens for play
  • Phil Mickelson wins NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship

1990s: 

  • “Decade of the Devils” – ASU wins eight NCAA Golf Championships (six women’s, two men’s)

1990:

  • NCAA Men’s Golf Championship
  • Phil Mickelson wins NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship
  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championships

1992:

  • Phil Mickelson wins NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship
  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships

1993:

  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • Todd Demsey wins NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship

1994: 

  • Sun Angel Clubhouse and Bob and Karen Hobbs Golf Teams Instructional Facility opens
  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • Emilee Klein wins NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship

1995: 

  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • Kristel Mourgue d’Algue wins NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship

1996:

  • NCAA Men’s Golf Championship

1997: 

  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship

1998: 

  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship

1999: 

  • Grace Park wins NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship

2000:

  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championships

2001:

  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships

2002:

  • PING Learning Center opens

2003:

  • Alejandro Canizares wins NCAA Men’s Golf Individual Championship

2008:

  • Azahara Munoz wins NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship

2009:

  • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship
  • Golf Performance Center opens
  • Golf course celebrates 20th anniversary

2010:

  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championships

2011:

  • ASU Karsten Golf Course hosted Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships

2017:

  • Monica Vaughn wins NCAA Women’s Golf Individual Championship
  • NCAA Women’s Golf Champions

 

About OB Sports
ASU Karsten Golf Course and Papago Golf Course are professionally managed by OB Sports Golf Management, a diversified, golf-oriented company with a long history of success in the golf industry. OB Sports currently manages around 65 premier golf courses and country clubs throughout the United States, while expanding its international footprint to include Royal Blue Golf Club at Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas, and Dumbarnie Golf Links in Fife, Scotland. Known for its comprehensive and personalized services since 1972, OB Sports has become widely acclaimed as the leader in boutique-style golf course management. Named a Top 100 Business in Golf by the National Golf Foundation in 2018, visit obsports.com to get more information, or call (480) 948-1300. Become a Fan of OB Sports on Facebook, follow OB Sports on Twitter, or visit the OB Sports YouTube channel.

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