College golf has experienced a level of competitiveness recently that was not present just a few years ago. Each year more schools are putting forth the resources necessary to compete on a national level. The most expensive and difficult resource for any college program to attain is an exclusive practice facility for the members of the team. Through the dedication and enthusiastic support of the University and its donors, Oklahoma has built and opened the Charlie Coe Center to fill this need. The Coe Center has been open less than three years and has gained a reputation as the model facility for college golf. Each year since its opening, several major Division I universities have inquired about copying the facility. Many have traveled to Norman for a first-hand look.

"It's fitting that the finest facility of its kind in the nation should be named for Charlie Coe," said OU President David Boren. "Coe is an OU alumnus respected not only as one of the greatest figures in the game of golf, but also as a person of strong character and personal generosity who is an inspiring role model for young people."

Coe attended OU from 1946 to 1948 and became one of the most celebrated amateur golfers in the game's history. A two-time U.S. Amateur winner, Coe never turned professional, instead choosing to spend time with his wife and family. He made 19 Masters appearances and owns almost every Masters amateur record, including top-25 finishes (9), top-10 finishes (3), eagles (6), rounds played (67) and most times low amateur (6).

The $700,000 center, funded by private donations, is located on the academy at the south end of the driving range at the Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course, which underwent a $5 million facelift in 1997.

The 7,000-square foot, indoor-outdoor facility allows golfers to hit balls onto the range at any time, including during inclement weather and after dark. One of the three practice bays is equipped with video cameras for teaching purposes. The computer equipment can send video images via the Internet anywhere in the world. OU players never leave the personal instructors at home

The 7,000-square foot, indoor-outdoor facility allows the players a place to practice everyday. There are three hitting bays that the players can use to practice with or without video. The video system is the most up to date equipment on the market. The video cameras are integrated into a computer system that provides consistent clear images and feedback.

"Obviously this facility is second to none throughout the country and I think that it's a big advantage for us," said junior J.D. Robertson. "I get a lot out of it personally, I don't know how you couldn't."

The building also houses locker rooms and offices for both the men and women's teams, as well as numerous items documenting the history of golf at the University of Oklahoma.

The center also includes an expansive outdoor practice area. Designed exclusively for the OU golf teams, this part of the complex is 225 yards wide and 90 yards deep. Opened in September of 1996, both the men's and women's golf teams have been training here with very positive results.

"The kind of support this facility presents for us is tremendous and it certainly give you every opportunity to succeed," said OU sophomore Chris Cureton.

The practice complex was developed by Tripp Davis, a former Sooner All-American and member of the 1989 national champion OU golf team, in conjunction with Bob Cupp and Gregg Grost. The south end complex has two satellite chipping greens, as well as a 12,000-quare foot bent grass chipping green with seven bunkers to cover a myriad of sand and stance possibilities. There is also a Bent grass and Bermuda grass putting green.

"I was very impressed during my recruiting trip to Oklahoma with this facility," said OU freshman Martin Flores, one of the most highly recruited players in the nation last year. "I figured that if I came here, there would be no way that I couldn't improve as a player. This place is perfect for working on any kind of shot that you want to improve on. It's helped my game out so far but it will definitely have an even bigger impact the longer I stay."