WEATHERFORD, Okla. — A large gathering of administrators and spectators were on hand Tuesday afternoon at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Athletic Complex for the official ribbon cutting for the brand new Everett Dobson Golf Training Facility.
The 3,000 square-foot facility was built by Jim Loomis Construction and funded by private gifts and donations. The building now houses SWOSU men’s and women’s golf programs and is located off Lawter Road, within the confines of the SWOSU Athletic Complex. Some of the features the facility offers include: a player’s lounge, indoor putting green, indoor-to-outdoor heated hitting area (complete with four bays), indoor nets, Flight Scope technology and a 65-inch display monitor, coaches’ offices, bathrooms, and storage. Outside of the facility sits a private driving range and a short-game area for players to utilize.
“I want to thank Mr. Dobson, this was his brainchild and his idea and vision,” SWOSU coach Brad Fleetwood said at the dedication. “I can’t even put into words what this facility has done for us. It’s changed the way we practice and prepare. There are few Division II programs in the country that have anything like this, and even if they do they don’t have the driving range to go along with it. Recruiting is now a new animal for us, we are able to recruit kids we never would have been able to years ago and recruiting against schools I would have never dreamed that we would be in the mix with. It’s changed how we do things and in such a short amount of time, and for the absolute betterment of the program.”
Everett Dobson was a four-year golf letterman at SWOSU where he played for the late Otis Delaporte. Dobson was a three-time All-Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference (OIC) selection and two-time All-District Nine honoree. He was a member of the 1980 SWOSU Golf team that won the NAIA District Nine championship and was SWOSU’s first squad to qualify for the NAIA national tourney. Dobson was inducted into the SWOSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
Dobson, who is a co-owner of Oak Tree National in Edmond, owns a stake in the Oklahoma Thunder and is a racehorse owner and enthusiast, was instrumental in turning a small company into one of the largest rural cellular telephone providers in the United States. He is one of one of SWOSU’s most generous supporters and contributors. He also was the founder and first chairman of the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame.
“Over the last few years, I’ve become amazed how much players work on the technology side of the game just as much as they do on the traditional side,” Dobson said. “If you’re not involved in the technology that goes into the game of golf nowadays you’re really taking a step back.
“I felt like over the years I needed to do something for the golf team, since it was so helpful to me as a student-athlete many years ago. I just want to say how much I appreciate Southwestern Oklahoma State University and if I’ve got anything to say to the students, it’s to never forget about the passion, enthusiasm, and the love that you have for not only golf but this institution, and hopefully things like this will give you inspiration down the road to give back. That’s what we’re all here for and always have been.”
Since the facility opened last spring, both the men’s and women’s golf teams have finished no worse than 10th place in a tournament, including multiple top-five finishes on both sides. To start the 2016-17 season, the women finished all five of their fall tournaments with second place or better finishes including tournament championships in the NSU Classic and GAC Preview. The men finished the fall schedule with three consecutive second-place finishes. Both squads will look to utilize the training facility in the upcoming months looking to prepare and improve for the second half of the 2016-17 season that will start up in the spring.