The 20,800-square foot Jane and Walt Dennis Golf Performance Center opened for practice in January when the short game area was finished and became accessible for use by the OSU men's and women's golf teams.
While construction equipment still lines the facilities and workers can be seen roaming the halls, the facility is almost fully completed. Golfers and coaches currently have access to locker rooms, offices, a weight room, the short game area, a putting lab and heated hitting bays.
On a recent tour of the facility, OSU showed off the $6 million facility that coaches have described as a one-of-a-kind building for a college golf team.
An OSU spokesman described the building as being nice enough for the golfers to live in, and that statement may not be hyperbole. The team room contains plush furniture, while each golfer has a code-protected wooden locker with room for clothes and clubs.
The coaches offices aren't too shabby, either, as both women's coach Therese Hession and men's coach Donnie Darr can look out onto the short game area from their office windows.
The short game area, of course, is the centerpiece of the facility. The room measures 50 yards long and 25 yards wide with a 45-foot ceiling. It contains a massive chipping green surrounded by undulating terrain and bunkers designed to give players practice opportunities for every shot in the game.
With a hitting area in the very front, a net can be dropped in the middle so players can hit full shots while golfers on the other half continue to practice their short game.
"The main thing was to get that short game area, and the rest was a vision of Walt and Jane Dennis, our sponsors," Hession told BuckeyeSports.com. "A lot of the different donors had gifts in mind for particular parts of it and contributed to the cause. The ability to add all of those things really separates us from the rest of the country by far."
The putting lab had some help from a particularly famous alum, as former Ohio State golfer and four-time LPGA major winner Meg Mallon's donation helped provide the video equipment used to analyze putts.
When discussing speed with the company that provided the putting surface, OSU's coaches were weighing a decision when they thought to ask if the room could be split into two different surfaces. The result is room split between the left side that runs as a 9.5 on the stimpmeter and the right side that measures at a quicker 11.
Depending on where they're playing in any given week, golfers can choose the side that more closely resembles the greens they're preparing for. The OSU women, for example, practiced on the slower surface for February's Westbrook Spring Invitaitonal in Peoria, Ariz., but have since moved to the faster side to prep for the upcoming Lady Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., which will be held this weekend.
The raised surface next to the computer monitor can be tilted to mimic uphill or downhill putts, and TVs will be added on the back wall so players can get instant data feedback.
Perhaps the most integral area of the facility is still waiting to be completed. The mental performance lab was initially going to be something along the lines of a room with a pool table until Hession found a (much) better use for it.
Golfers will be able to see how their heart rate and temperatures change based on how they respond to certain situations – tournament-clinching putts, for example – and receive feedback on what they can do to reduce nerves when putting or swinging.
If there remained any doubt as to the necessity of the facility, a trip outside to the the Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet and Gray courses told the tale. In the middle of March, more than a month into the spring season, bunkers remained covered in snow.