As late as the 1960s and 1970s, college golf usually meant lugging a bag of mix-and-match clubs out to a modestly maintained public course, under the tutelage of a part-time coach, and shooting rounds in the mid-70s if you were the best on the team. These days, most elite college golf programs have their own courses or state-of-the-art practice facilities, full-time coaches plus strength coaches and psychologists, and alumni support that even the football teams might envy. If they play their cards right, golfers on the top college teams can leave school set for life.
College sports doesn't get much plusher than playing golf for Oklahoma State. The Karsten Creek golf facility, a few miles off campus, features a rolling, wooded, difficult, 7,407-yard Tom Fazio course, expansive practice grounds, both indoors and out, with all the latest technology, a $4.5 million clubhouse and luxurious, six-bedroom lodges where visiting alumni can stay. Most remarkable of all, the entire 650-acre complex is owned not by the university but in effect by the golf team. Karsten Creek, which opened in 1994, was built and is still owned by a charity whose sole purpose is to benefit the men's and women's golf teams.