Sign of the golf times: On May 5, 2019, ASU Karsten Golf Course – named after Ping Golf Founder and Phoenix resident Karsten Solheim – will permanently close after 30 years of public golf, as well as serving as the home course for Arizona State University’s golf teams since opening in September 1989. The parcel of land where the Pete Dye-designed golf course currently sits is scheduled for future development, athletic fields and other university facilities.
“ASU Karsten was built in an era when high-end daily fee golf in the Valley really took off,” said Mike Conner, original general manager of the golf course and vice president of OB Sports, the facility’s management firm. “The golf course not only hosted ASU’s golf teams and Phoenix-area residents. It also hosted hundreds of thousands of winter visitors looking for a quality golf experience.”
Anticipating the closure, the ASU golf teams already made the move to nearby Papago Golf Course where a public/private partnership between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and the Arizona Golf Community Foundation significantly upgraded the golf facility.
“Decades ago, the golf community came together to create ASU Karsten in a very unique way,” said Conner. “We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to that community and honor their efforts in the time we have left by encouraging golfers to get out there to play the golf course one more time.”
The concept for the on-campus golf course was originally conceived in the 1970s by then Athletic Director Fred Miller, who convinced the Sun Angel Foundation to spearhead construction. Along the way, the golf course, clubhouse and team facilities received collaborative financial support from a host of individuals and organizations including Louise and Karsten Solheim, Arizona Public Service, the Tanner Companies, Westcor, Bob and Karen Hobbs, The Thunderbirds, Jones Studios, Homes & Sons, G.M. “Solly” Sollenberger and the Collegiate Golf Foundation.
Photo: ASU Karsten Golf Course