Oct. 22, 2004
By Joe Meginnes
Notre Dame men’s golf head coach John Jasinski knew the Warren Golf Course was special when he joined the Irish staff in 2001. He immediately recognized the course’s potential for hosting premiere collegiate tournaments. This spring he will see his vision become a reality as the Irish host the 2005 NCAA Central Regional from May 19th through the 21st.
“My very first day on campus I was impressed with the Warren facility because not many universities have a course like it,” Jasinski says. “I knew it would provide Notre Dame with the opportunity to host major collegiate championships.”
Before it was ready to put on a major tournament the course needed to undergo some modifications to make it more difficult for the high level of competition that it would be bringing in. Enter Notre Dame alum, William K. Warren, (’56), a major donor and the course namesake.
“As technology has advanced in the equipment side of the game we needed to add some length to the course,” Jasinski states. “Mr. Warren came forward with a substantial gift to lengthen the course and make it more difficult.”
What resulted from these changes was a challenging, if not overly lengthy course that played well in the regional preview that took place last month. The tournament gave the Irish team and Warren course officials a chance to gauge the progress of their preparation and see what they need to improve before the spring.
“The preview was a great trial run. We think we can get the course substantially tougher for the regional,” Jasinski says, “I don’t feel that I have to worry about the organizational aspect because we’ve got a great staff to handle the tournament.”
Among those playing a major role in the event is Warren Assistant Golf Professional Brady Wilson. He will serve as tournament manager of the regional-a tournament that looks to be as large as any his course has ever hosted.
“The operations will be more excessive than most of the tournaments we’ve had so far,” says Wilson. “My job is to take care of the on-site operations and make sure all of the little things get taken care of.”
Wilson and his staff actually began preparation for the regional two months ago and their work will continue throughout the fall and spring. They have high hopes that hosting a premiere event will benefit the golf course along with the golf team.
“First and foremost we are hosting the regional for the support of our golf team,” Wilson says. “It can also be beneficial to our goal of accommodating the public and it helps build up the reputation of the golf course.”
“Certainly hosting a regional is the first step if you want to go through the process of hosting a national championship,” he adds.
The Central Regional is one of only three regional meets in the country leading up to the 2005 NCAA Championship tournament hosted by Loyola (MD) College in Baltimore, Maryland, June 1st-4th. Obtaining the rights to the meet was an important step for the up-and-coming men’s golf program, as it benefits the team in a number of ways.
“It elevates the quality of our schedule and helps us develop relationships with other teams,” Jasinski says. “It opens the door for us to get some recognition and to show that we’re serious about golf.”
Furthermore, the distinctive design of the Warren course provides a significant home course advantage for the Notre Dame team. This could prove to be vital as the squad attempts to finish in the top ten teams and thus advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1966.
“Our golf course is a unique design. I can’t name another golf course that I’ve played that gives you a similar look into the greens from the fairway,” Jasinski comments. “It can be difficult to learn how to play right off the bat. If you’re not willing to be patient the Warren Golf Course can make you struggle.”
“We have a big advantage over the other teams in that we know our course well.”
Competing on one of the greatest golf courses in the country at one of the greatest universities in the world, the Fighting Irish men’s golf team will look add one more notch in the belt of one of Notre Dame’s rising sports programs.