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ASU Golf: Sun Devils’ new home prepares for massive renovation

As Arizona State Golf says goodbye to Karsten Golf Course, it welcomes the soon-to-be renovated Papago Golf Course

J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Papago Golf Course is undergoing a massive renovation in preparation of becoming the new home for Sun Devil golf.

After the 2017-18 season, Arizona State will leave its current home, Karsten Golf Course and move to the Papago, located in eastern Phoenix.

“I am really excited for the renovation,” women's head golf coach Missy Farr-Kaye said. “These facilities will be the best in the country.”

Arizona State and the City of Phoenix announced updated plans in February for improvements at Papago that will be done to the main clubhouse and the practice facility — designed in part by former ASU golf star Phil Mickelson.

Starting this summer, the Arizona Golf Foundation along with Deputy Athletic Director Rocky Harris will begin construction on the clubhouse.

This comes a couple of years after ASU and Phoenix signed a contract to ensure the management of the course along with a home for the golf teams.

“The part we are working on right now is the club house,” Farr-Kaye said. “We are still finalizing the practice facility.”

The renovation project will also feature assistance from Mickelson who will design ASU’s short-game practice areas.

“Phil is helping utilize space,” Farr-Kaye said. “He has his own practice facility at his home in San Diego and he will be helping us set our (short-game) practice area up similarly. It is amazing that he is going to share his system with us.”

Farr-Kaye said that she and ASU men's golf head coach Matt Thurmond met with Mickelson in January.

“We walked the land to see the possibilities,” Farr-Kaye said.

Along with the short-game area, the new facilities will show off 6,750 square feet of indoor space, as well as a driving range.

The new renovation effort is the second Papago has had since its establishment in 1963. The course shut down on April 4, 2008 to undergo its first restoration a project that cost $5.8 million in total.

This project is the second between ASU and Phoenix for an athletic facility. ASU baseball is going into its third season at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which like Papago Golf Course, it is located close to the Tempe campus in the Papago Park area.

The 2008 renovation project included a new irrigation system and improved fairways, greens, bunkers and tee boxes.

“When I first started working at Papago, you could tell it was a muni(cipal) and a city run golf course,” said Kyle Maze who works in the course's cart barn. “But that’s what gave Papago its home-y feel."

He said the good condition of the course can be attributed to the grounds crew.

In addition to his job in the cart barn, Maze runs a popular Instagram account called Cartbarnguys. The account, which chronicles the on goings at the course, Maze said has thousands of followers and has been a positive platform to market the course.

"[It is] definitely one of the best public courses you will find,” Maze said of Papago.

There is still no timetable for the closure of Karsten Golf Course, which opened in 1989.

“It’s sad to see it go because it’s meant so much to this community,” Thurmond said. “I would be a little worried if people weren’t a little upset because it’s been a big part of a lot of peoples lives… It’s a little sad, but also great.”

General Manager of Papago Daryl Crawford said that as sad as it is to see the Karsten Golf Course be put to rest, he is excited for the team to move to the newly renovated course.

"I think in general, Papago has a long story. From people waiting in line, to hosting some cool championships, it's got a great base and some great locals — me included," Crawford said. "ASU is building a nice bridge for the (golf) teams to comer over and have something special. I think it's fantastic."