The Fighting Bees men's and women's golf squads hit the golf course during last week's annual spring trips with a little less rust in their putting strokes.
Despite a snowy and cold Midwest winter, St. Ambrose golfers got in some pre-break work on their strokes as well as their chipping games, thanks to a state-of-the-art synthetic putting surface newly installed at the Ambrose Dome.
The green was manufactured by Southwest Greens and installed under the watchful eye of local sales representative Mike Long '78, who said the surface installed in the southwest corner of the dome represents the newest technology in synthetic practice golf turf.
The key is that it is top-dressed with fine silica sand, which allows the surface to be compressed in order to mimic the quicker speeds Bees golfers found in California and Florida last week. The sand-filled surface also gave players the ability to practice short-game shots and have them spin and react as they would on a natural surface.
"It is so similar to actually chipping onto a real green outside, I hardly notice I am inside," said Stephen Wilson, a first-year men's golfer from St. Louis. "Your ball can check and you can have it release the way you would have it do on a real green. It's incredible."
Unlike many synthetic surfaces, the new turf also gave his golfers the feel for putting speeds they can expect to encounter outdoors, said men's coach Jeff Griebel '76.
Griebel said the improved winter practice area already has helped to recruit five Quad City area high school seniors to St. Ambrose next year, and Wilson certainly understands why.
Wilson also said the team should be a few steps ahead of regional competitors this spring. "It is an invaluable asset for us," he said. "To be able to practice when in the northern Midwest when there is snow and cold is a significant advantage. "
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