OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 18, 2015) – An innovative use of space in one of Oklahoma Christian’s most prominent buildings, made possible by a generous gift from an Ardmore man, will benefit the university’s golf teams.
Construction on an indoor practice facility in the building that once housed Enterprise Square USA is underway and should be finished by the end of October, OC Director of Golf David Lynn said. The facility is being built just as OC’s athletic program is starting its first academic year of competition in NCAA Division II.
Junior Lorentz, who is the father of an OC alumnus and the grandfather of two current OC students, made the $250,000 gift that will pay for the facility, which is being built in space once occupied by Enterprise Square’s Hall of Giants. Lynn said it will be the only indoor facility of its kind on a college campus in Oklahoma and that it will be named in honor of Lorentz.
"We appreciate the generosity of Junior Lorentz and his willingness to help provide this facility for our OC student-athletes," Lynn said. "This facility will benefit our golf teams in so many different ways. We really think it will have a very positive effect on future recruiting because of the advantages it will provide."
The facility will have a 3,000-square-foot putting and chipping green with another 1,000 square feet of rough and fringe surrounding the green. It will include two golf simulator bays, with launch monitors, screens and computers and projectors, which will allow OC’s teams to play full rounds of golf on many different courses and practice on the range.
Also to be included in the facility will be coaches’ offices and a storage area. The entire cost of the facility will be covered by the donation made by Lorentz.
"This facility will give us a place to practice when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside," Lynn said. "It will finally give us a place on campus to use as a team. We have never had any facilities on campus for our golf teams. It will allow our entire teams to practice all together at the same time, which is something that due to course limitations of space, we often don’t get the opportunity to do.
"It is allowing us to purchase equipment that will enable us to take advantage of the latest technology in order to better help our players improve and reach their potential. It will allow our golfers the opportunity to work on their individual games, day or night, when it will be convenient for them on their own time. It gives us so much flexibility we have never had, because we have always relied on outside facilities, not owned by us, for practice."
OC long has had one of the nation’s best small-college men’s golf programs, having posted a top-four finish in either the NAIA or National Christian College Athletic Association in each of the past 16 academic years. The Eagles won NAIA titles in 2009 and 2011 and the NCCAA crown in 2012. The program has produced a handful of professional golfers, including Rhein Gibson, who currently plays on the PGA’s Web.com Tour.
OC began a women’s golf program with the 2011-12 academic year and the program already has enjoyed much success, capturing an unofficial Heartland Conference title last spring at the Division II level and finishing in the top three in the NCCAA each of the past three academic years. A recent OC graduate, Anna Arrese Cortadellas, plans to begin play as a professional next month.
OC’s advancement, church relations and alumni offices will continue to be housed in the Enterprise Square building.
Enterprise Square USA opened in 1982 as the only major museum in the U.S. devoted entirely to the interpretation of the American economic system. After the museum closed in 1999, the university has used the space in many ways, including as the site of the American Citizenship Center, as an art gallery and for classroom space and storage.