Buried at the end of the athletic department’s Facilities Master Plan Q&A session was an interesting announcement concerning changes to the Penn State golf courses.
While renderings of what Beaver Stadium renovations could look like obviously took center stage Monday at the Hintz Alumni Center, Deputy Director of Athletics and COO Phil Esten also confirmed that the historic Willie Park, Jr. holes (6-14) on the White Course will be restored.
“The plan with the golf course does take a look at both the Blue and the White Course and what we can do, first of all, to restore the Willie Park, Jr. [holes]to their original design,” Esten said. “Then, taking the Blue Course and really rerouting some of the holes…but making it into a true championship course for our team but also for this community.”
Park, Jr., a renowned course architect, posthumously joined his father as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013. His famed White Course design was completed in 1922 and two decades later would serve as the location of Arnold Palmer’s PIAA Championship victory in high school. More recent renovations to the White were finished in 2005, while the Blue followed suit the year after.
Esten and Penn State Athletics mentioned that upgrades to the practice facilities are on the table, as is the possibility of a “pitch and putt” course for learning and leisure.
“It also takes a look at what we need to do from an irrigation standpoint, greens, bunkering, and so the entire course is really impacted in some way, shape, or form,” he added. “The clubhouse [will be]renovated, if not demolished and rebuilt, to take advantage of some of the things that we can do at the course right now, so we can operate a full food and beverage program. And we’ve got a proposed indoor practice facility for our two golf teams.”
The timetable for when these renovations are expected to break ground over the next 20 years is still up in the air, but Monday’s announcement is certainly exciting news for the local golf community.