The North Texas board of regents will consider a proposal to build an on-campus golf practice facility during its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.
The proposal for the venue includes a clubhouse, hitting bays, a putting green and offices for UNT’s coaches.
UNT officials estimate the facility will cost up to $3 million. The venue is slated to be built on an open tract of land near Apogee Stadium and will be named after longtime UNT booster Jerome Max “Bruzzy” Westheimer.
Westheinmer contributed $1.5 million toward construction of the venue in September. UNT does not currently have an on-campus golf practice facility. Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton is the home course for both the UNT men’s and women’s teams.
UNT plans to name the venue “Bruzzy’s UNT Golf Practice Facility.” Westheinmer was inducted into the UNT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016 as a Fred McCain Award recipient.
The Fred McCain Award is presented to special contributors to UNT’s athletic department.
The Denton Record-Chronicle first reported the proposal on Tuesday afternoon. Multiple sources said UNT is expected to officially announce the project late this week after regents vote on the plan.
UNT athletic director Wren Baker acknowledged the school is set to build the facility that is slated to open in August of 2021 on Tuesday evening.
“The best scenario for the long-term future of the program is to have an on-campus facility and relationships with courses in the area, specifically Maridoe,” Baker said. “There is no question this facility will make an impact. Our golf athletes are used to traveling, but this will give them a place they can work out on campus.”
UNT’s men’s and women’s golf teams have excelled the last few years under men’s coach Brad Stracke and women’s coach Michael Akers, despite not having an on-campus venue.
Ian Snyman represented the UNT men’s team in an NCAA regional in 2018.
Stracke and Akers did not return messages seeking comment.
UNT won four straight NCAA men’s golf national titles beginning in 1949 and has produced several notable professional golfers, including Don January. January won the 1967 PGA Championship and is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
“We have a proud tradition and a lot of donor interest in golf,” Baker said. “The facility will be a great addition because it gives our teams everything they need from a facilities perspective.”
UNT had an on-campus golf course but shut the venue down in 2003 so that the land could be used as the school built other athletic facilities, including the North Texas Athletic Center. The athletic center houses the school’s training facilities as well as offices for its football coaches and administrative staff.
Parts of the old course remain around Apogee and are used by UNT fans for tailgating at football games. UNT’s golf offices are currently located in a building near the Ernie Kuehne Basketball Practice Facility, the UNT men’s and women’s basketball teams’ practice venue.
UNT has dramatically upgraded its athletic facilities over the last 15 years under Baker and his predecessor Rick Villarreal.
The school has added multiple venues during that time that combine to serve every athlete involved in the school’s athletic program. UNT opened the Lovelace & McNatt Families Practice Facility, a $16 million indoor practice venue with a full-length football field, earlier this fall.
UNT is expecting the addition of a golf practice facility to make a significant impact on the program.
Baker credited Westheimer for playing a key role in the growth of UNT’s golf program. The Oklahoma businessman has contributed more than $5 million to UNT to support its academic and athletic programs and is a longtime supporter of the school’s golf program.
“Bruzzy is incredible and shows great generosity,” Baker said. “When you ask what he wants in return, all he says is that he wants the players to have a great experience. The impact he has made is hard to put into words. No one has had a bigger impact on any sports program we have than he has had on golf.”