The Louisiana-Lafayette golf team has never had a facility that it could truly call home.
The Ragin’ Cajuns program has never had a locker room, a designated meeting place or even a course and practice facility that it didn’t have to share with everyday golfers.
That all changed Tuesday, with the announcement of plans for an $800,000 facility adjacent to the practice range at Oakbourne Country Club. The unusual partnership between the public university and the private club has been in the planning stages for more than a year.
“It’s an exciting day for Oakbourne, and it’s an exciting day for UL golf,” Oakbourne president Joe Giglio III said. “Our club is now the home of UL golf, and we’re very proud of that.”
Groundbreaking for the 5,000-square-foot facility is Monday, Oct. 24, and Giglio said construction will take approximately six months. Blueprints and architect renderings were on display Tuesday at the announcement held at the club.
UL-Lafayette athletics director Scott Farmer said all funds for the project were raised privately, including a lead gift from long-time local golf figure and Cajuns supporter Brad Mosing that was matched by his father, Don Mosing. The remainder came from the Vermilion Links Club, the UL-Lafayette golf booster club organized last spring with 56 founding members each pledging $5,000.
The facility will be adjacent to the club’s driving range and will have three technology-loaded hitting bays: two for use of Cajuns coach Theo Sliman and his team, and one for long-time Oakbourne head professional Cliff Wagner and his teaching and lessons.
“This building shows the support and respect that people have for Theo and Cliff,” Farmer said. “It took time to work out the details, but it’s happening because of those two. We’re excited about what it’s going to do in our golf program.”
The facility will have two 2,500-square-foot buildings connected by a porch and breezeway to match Oakbourne’s architectural style. One building will house offices, a locker room, team areas, restrooms and a lobby; the other will house the practice bays and equipment areas.
The Cajuns team will also benefit from a new classification of membership approved by the Oakbourne board and membership. Ten memberships will be dedicated to UL-Lafayette team members along with Sliman and Farmer, and UL players will have access to all club facilities.
UL-Lafayette’s golf team and Oakbourne have had a three-decade partnership, with the Cajuns using the course as one of its practice facilities and the club hosting the Louisiana Classics collegiate tournament each spring. The contract between the university and the club for the facility is for 40 years.
“This isn’t anything new for them or us,” Giglio said. “But now, we have a commitment, and we have the backing of our board and our members. We’ve supported the program in the past, and that’s not going to change.”
The building is a part of the athletic department’s facility “master plan” and was designated as a Tier 3 project, to be done when funds became available. The three projects in the plan’s Tier 1 have been completed, and the major project in Tier 2 is the in-progress construction of the M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field baseball facility.
“These generous donors allowed this to start ahead of schedule and be moved up on the project list,” Farmer said.
Sliman said the facility will be a boon to current players and future recruits.
“The Ryder Cup had a task force, and that was the reason the U.S. team brought home the Ryder Cup last weekend,” Sliman said. “I see Oakbourne and the Vermilion Links as our task force, and I’m excited about seeing where this task force can take us.”