The Husson University men’s golf team is one of the most respected NCAA Division III programs in the Northeast.
And now the Eagle men’s and women’s teams have something most or none of their New England counterparts possess.
Husson recently unveiled a new outdoor practice facility on its Bangor campus.
Husson head coach Mike Dugas, the club pro at J.W. Parks Golf Course in Pittsfield, said the facility has more than 3,000 square feet of putting surface, a chipping surface surrounded by a 2-foot fringe and a bunker that is 18 feet deep by 54 feet long.
Dugas said the bunker can accommodate as many as five golfers at one time.
He believes it is the only artificial turf outdoor facility in the state and one of only a few in the Northeast.
The facility, located across the street from Newman Gym on campus, cost in excess of $30,000. Dugas raised a lot of the money, but the university also chipped in a sizeable amount.
The idea came after Husson players had difficulty finding time to practice consistently at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, their home course, because of their class schedules.
“So I got to thinking, why are the golf teams the only teams that don’t have a place to practice on campus,” Dugas said.
Dugas and athletic director Frank Pergolizzi began discussing the idea three years ago.
“Everyone knows how important the short game is in golf,” Pergolizzi said. “This gives our golfers an opportunity to practice it when they aren’t able to get out to the Bangor Muni.”
After significant fundraising, including a golf tournament, Southwest Greens International LLC built the facility in approximately two weeks earlier this month.
“It took a lot of fundraising, but the school also stepped up large and gave us an extremely helpful donation,” said Gavin Dugas, one of two Dugas brothers on the squad.
The green and the fringe are composed of artificial turf, which means Husson can shovel snow off it, and use it during the winter and early spring months when Bangor Muni is closed.
“It is positioned so that the sun will hit it in the winter time, so I’m quite certain we’ll be able to get on it as early as February and March,” Mike Dugas said.
Players can chip from the artificial turf fringe to a pin placement as far as 33 yards away. There is also some natural grass beyond it, so golfers can try even longer chips off the grass onto the surface.
“It’s awesome,” said Eric Dugas, a sophomore who tied for 12th at the NCAA Division III nationals in North Carolina last spring. “This will be huge for us.”
Eric Dugas said the artificial surface is pretty realistic, comparing it to the grass on the greens at golf courses.
“The ball rolls smooth on it and there is also some break,” he said.
Eric Dugas said the facility will be particularly beneficial in the early spring as they prepare for the national tournament.
Gavin Dugas, Eric’s older brother, is a senior on the Husson team, and said developing a chipping touch is critical.
“Getting your short game back in spring is arguably the hardest thing to do. You have to get the feel back,” he said.
Mike Dugas and Pergolizzi also said the facility is available for student use when the golf teams aren’t using it.
“One of the things I really like is that when the players are there, some of the students will see them and come down and hang out with them and hit some shots with them,” the Husson coach said.
It will also serve as a valuable recruiting tool.
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