End of an era: Arizona State's Karsten Golf Course to close in May

Nick Oza/USA TODAY Network

End of an era: Arizona State's Karsten Golf Course to close in May

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End of an era: Arizona State's Karsten Golf Course to close in May

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by Jeff Metcalfe/The Arizona Republic, USA TODAY Network

Arizona State’s long-planned closing of Karsten Golf Course will occur in early May with the first development on the property to be multi-purpose fields for student and athletic use.

The 18-hole course, designed by Pete Dye, opened in September 1989, and sits about seven miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, just east of ASU’s Tempe campus.

The golf course is part of the 330-acre ASU athletic facilities district, created in 2010 by the Arizona Legislature, that is now called the Novus Innovation Corridor and being master planned by ASU and Catellus Development Corporation.

The ASU golf teams have already moved to their new home at the Papago Golf Course, a City of Phoenix municipal course, allowing for development to begin on the Karsten course. In 2014, ASU signed a 30-year agreement with the city of Phoenix to manage the Papago course and last year completed construction of The Thunderbirds Golf Complex practice facility.

ASU is planning some commemorative events around Karsten’s closing, including a final-round golf outing and dinner for those who helped to create the course.

Phil Mickelson plays ASU’s Karsten Golf Course on Dec. 12, 2011, during an annual pro-am and alumni event. (Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic, USA TODAY Network)

The Heather Farr statue on the 10th hole at Karsten now is at Papago and will stand next to a wall with the history of Karsten. The 52nd Street entrance to Papago is renamed Karsten Way. A new entrance off McDowell Road allows more direct access to Papago and includes an adjacent walking trail.

ASU memorabilia in the Karsten dining room, including NCAA championship trophies, will be relocated to Papago or the Sun Devil Athletic Hall of Fame at the Carson Center.

“We’ve been privileged to be associated with the ASU Karsten Golf Course for the last 30 years,” said John A. Solheim, PING chairman/CEO and son of Karsten Solheim, the course’s namesake. “Together with some of the other contributors, including Solly Sollenberger, Bob and Karen Hobbs and Keith Turley, our family wanted to help provide the ASU men’s and women’s golf teams a premier facility to attract top collegiate players.

“That goal was far exceeded as both programs have prospered and continued to produce some of the greatest players in the game. While we’re saddened the course will no longer be enjoyed by golfers from around the world, it remains important to Karsten’s legacy and we’re excited to be part of ASU’s commitment to the amazing new facility at Papago. They’ve done an incredible job with The Thunderbirds Golf Complex that will elevate the ASU golf programs even higher.”

ASU Karsten Golf

The 2017 NCAA women’s golf national championship trophy and ASU team photo is on display during the ASU alumni golf tournament at ASU Karsten Golf Course. (USA TODAY Network)

Hobbs House, the former practice facility for the golf teams, could be remodeled for use by other athletic teams.

ASU has won eight NCAA women’s golf titles, most recently in 2017 and the most in NCAA history. ASU has also won two men’s crowns.

NCAA Championships for men and women will be held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale from 2020-22.

ASU last hosted NCAA Championships in 1992 when the women competed at ASU Karsten Golf Course. The NCAA Men’s Championships were held in 1971 in Tucson.

Grayhawk previously has hosted the PGA Tour Frys.com Open (2007-09), pro-ams for the Waste Management Phoenix Open (1996-2012), the Tommy Bahama Challenge (2004-05) and the Thunderbird International Junior (2000-present).

Tour pros who played for the Sun Devils and competed on ASU Karsten Golf Course include Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Chez Reavie, Pat Perez, Matt Jones, as well as Anna Nordqvist.

Golfweek contributed to this article.

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