This past week on July 15, representatives from the University of Wisconsin, the media and invited guests participated in an afternoon of golf in celebration of the Grand Reopening of University Ridge Golf Course. A photo gallery is now available below. Check out the terrific practice areas and new longer tee locations as well as the spirit and fun of this great event.
Construction took place this past year at 585-acre University Ridge Golf Course on a $3.1 million project to extend the length of the course and in order to remain competitive. Opened in 1991 with a championship distance of 6,888 yards, the course has to been lengthened to 7,259 yards to accommodate the longer hitting players and hopefully attract some major tournaments including NCAA national and regional tournaments.
The golf project, which was completed in July of 2008, includes a new 33-acre practice facility that will house a short-game practice area for the Badger golf teams; a redesign and expansion of the outdoor practice range and new tee boxes that will extend the length of 14 holes. New signage that blends in with the courses surroundings was also added. In addition, construction has begun on a new cross country course for UWs nationally ranked cross country teams to be completed in 2009.
Other improvements were added to the Ice Age Trail which extends for more than a mile through the University Ridge Golf Course from County Hwy M to Woods Road at the southwest edge of Madison. This section of the Ice Age Trail is the result of a partnership between the University of Wisconsin and the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation. It has been built and is maintained by volunteers from the Foundation's Dane County Chapter. New signage was added and materials for bridges and trail marking were provided by the University. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile footpath entirely within Wisconsin that celebrates the legacy of the Ice Age. Diverse geological features along the Trail rank among the finest examples of continental glaciation anywhere in the world. It is one of only eight National Scenic Trails in the United States. Currently, more than 600 miles are completed and open for public use by walkers, hikers and joggers.
The renovation was designed by the original golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., who attended the Legends Golf Outing June 30 and gave his approval of the changes. Over 10 years in the making, the initial course adjustments called for a $15 million plan which included a second 18-hole golf course, a nine-hole executive course and an indoor practice facility. That project was scaled back several times before the final plan was completed this year. There are still 250 undeveloped acres available for a second 18 holes should the athletic department elect to proceed that direction in the future.
2008 Improvements Include:
Course rating/slope becomes 74.9/144 from the back (black) tees. From the blue tees, the new setup measures 6,610 yards (72.0/139), up from 6,429 yards (71.2/139).
Four new tee boxes on par 3s create an additional 133 yards from back tees. The par-3 17th with a pond placed in front of the green, was increased to play 250 yards.
Lengthened back teeing grounds on a total of 14 holes
Expanded practice facility includes four practice greens for UW team-use only and an additional green for the public. That area will be the instructional center for the revamped University Ridge golf instruction program now administered by the UW mens and womens golf coaches with additional support from Ridge personnel.
Signage and improvements to the Ice Age Trail (one of eight National Scenic Trails) which extends for a mile through University Ridge
Check back later for photos of the improvements and the Grand Reopening festivities.