Phil Mickelson Evolves Papago Golf Course

Recognizing its role as a steward to the community, Arizona State University is working with the Arizona Golf Community Foundation and the City of Phoenix to revive a landmark Phoenix Valley golf course primed for resurgence. The investment in Papago Golf Course will have a resounding effect on both the local community and ASU’s golf programs.
“The City of Phoenix is proud to partner with ASU to enhance one of the city’s top recreational attractions,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Papago Park is a special place in our city — designated as one of Phoenix’s Points of Pride — and through the efforts Arizona Golf Community Foundation, Papago will reach even more people in our community with dedicated social spaces and by serving as a new home for ASU golf programs.”
The revitalization of Papago Park, through the Arizona Golf Community Foundation, will enhance the unique red-rocked recreational destination in the heart of the city. The Arizona Golf Community Foundation, created to serve the best interests of both the City of Phoenix and ASU, will develop community venues and spaces within the golf course, including a casual restaurant clubhouse intended to serve as a social hub and communal center and expected to break ground by June.
“There is no doubt iconic Papago Golf Course is exceedingly valuable to the City of Phoenix and Arizona State, and we’re excited to spearhead the evolution of the space,” said Gregg Tryhus, president and owner of Grayhawk Development, and the president of the Arizona Golf Community Foundation. “The enhancement of Papago also serves as an excellent opportunity for ASU to further build upon their championship golf programs. We’re not the first people to envision Papago should be the heartbeat of Arizona golf. We’re happy to be in a position to execute that vision.”
The enhancement of Papago Golf Course will turn the historic landmark into a strong civic asset for the Phoenix golf community, much like storied city-owned public courses Torrey Pines in San Diego and Beth Page in New York. One of the original Arizona Golf Association (AGA) golf courses, Papago Golf Course will be renovated to provide a top-tier playing experience while retaining the accessibility and price of a public city golf course. The Arizona Golf Community Foundation will spearhead a number of capital projects beginning with construction on the main clubhouse facility that will break ground this June.
“ASU believes in the revitalization of the Phoenix metropolitan area,” said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer, and chief financial officer. “We built a campus in downtown Phoenix, which included renovation of the Downtown Phoenix historic post office, and recently moved Sun Devil Baseball to the iconic Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Our reinvestment in the Papago Golf course and Papago Park will benefit student-athletes and the community for years to come and underscores the university’s commitment to social embeddedness; one of the tenets of the New American University.”
Starting with Phoenix Municipal Stadium and Sun Devil Baseball, Sun Devil Athletics has embraced the role of reviving iconic landmarks within the Phoenix metropolitan area for the use of the University and the local community. Much like the renovated 1960s era stadium, home for Sun Devil Baseball’s first three national championships, ASU will reinvest in Papago Golf course where ASU greats like Heather Farr and Billy Mayfair grew up playing the game of golf.
“Revitalizing Papago Golf Course is revitalizing the whole park while maintaining the tradition and legacy that is synonymous with Sun Devil Golf,” said Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics. “Papago Park is a Phoenix institution, and we see ourselves investing not only in our championship programs but the future of golf in Arizona.”
un Devil Golf plans to build a state-of-the-art facility to continue the programs’ championship legacy and create a world-class student-athlete experience. Construction manager Rummel, alongside Douglas Fredrikson Architects, will spearhead the ASU practice facility. Arizona State has secured Phil Mickelson Design to create an incomparable practice space for the Sun Devil golf teams to refine their games.
“Arizona State’s facility is going to be home to the single-greatest short game training space in the country,” said former Sun Devil golfer and PGA Professional Phil Mickelson. “It will give these college players the ability to harness the skills needed to develop their short game. Practice is to build a repertoire of skills you can refer to on the golf course, and this practice facility will give Arizona State a platform to be the best team in the country.”
Sun Devil coaches and staff dedicated several months to designing the private practice portion of Papago Golf Course to serve as the new home for Sun Devil Golf. The venue, designed to connect the student-athletes to the surrounding red buttes, features 6,750-sqft of air-conditioned space and 2,400 of exterior covered space as well as an unparalleled short-game practice area and a driving range. The technologically advanced and sustainable facility will also honor the long-standing tradition and success of Sun Devil Golf. Construction on the ASU facility will begin this calendar year.
“The key tenets of our program are to have the ultimate learning and training culture and to constantly improve and achieve,” said Matt Thurmond, Arizona State head men’s golf coach. “Our new practice facility won’t be like any other University’s practice facility. As the ‘Most Innovative University in the U.S.’, we must have an innovative and effective practice facility that will be specifically designed for elite players and will dramatically increase the velocity of learning and improvement. PGA Tour players will train here, and recruits will have a very hard time passing up the opportunity to make it their home.”
“I am excited to return to a golf course that became such a special place for my family,” said Missy Farr-Kaye, Arizona State head women’s golf coach. “[My sister] Heather and I started playing golf at Papago under the watchful eyes of our dad Jerry and long-time Papago golf pro Arch Watkins when we were just six and eight years old. Papago has so many great memories for me, and I look forward to helping shape the future of the classic Phoenix golf course. I am very excited to see the Papago project come to life. We have spent a great deal of time designing a complex to allow our student-athletes to have a place where they can train to become the best golfers in the world.”
With the support of passionate members of the golf community, supporters of Sun Devil Golf and ASU golf alumni, ASU can hit the ground running on the next chapter of the storied programs championship success.
“ASU was unique to win championships in the same season (in 1990) and the teams in such a remarkable fashion,” said former Sun Devil and LPGA golfer Wendy Ward. “Working together as teams, rather than independently, really sets the program apart. This program has never been mediocre and always raises the bar, and the development of Papago will attract the top talent. I’m looking forward to coming back and testing out my skills next to these young golfers.”
“The development of Papago and the space it provides for the student-athletes has been a long time coming, especially with the help of Gregg Tryhus,” said former Sun Devil golfer Jim Strickland. “The evolution of the property will be something special. To recruit world-class talent and an international mix of players, you need world-class facilities, and we see that with the opportunities at Papago.”