Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night is going to stop Knox College men's and women's varsity golf teams from improving their game, thanks to Knox's new state-of-the-art Schmid Golf Performance Center.
Dedicated at Knox's Homecoming in October, the 1,500 square-foot facility below Memorial Gymnasium features a huge, contoured putting green, a high-tech aboutGolf course simulator, custom lockers, and a 70-inch video screen. It's the only facility of its kind in the Midwest Conference.
Paired with the team's home course—Soangetaha Country Club—already the best in the conference, the Schmid Golf Performance Center completes an unbeatable package for aspiring varsity golfers.
"It looked unusual at first, but rollout feels real," says men's team member Jason White '21, after using the putting green.
"The simulator is helping me get my distances and dial in my clubs," White says. The aboutGolf simulator—the only simulator endorsed by the PGA—includes high-speed cameras and more than 60 championship courses.
"I'm in the middle of a swing change and the cameras are reading my swing and telling me what I need to do," White says.
"A lot of teams have to travel to use something like this. We've got it right here on campus, five minutes from everywhere," White says. "It'll be an advantage for us going into competition."
While the simulator allows Knox golfers to work on their swings, when the weather is nice, Knox's home course at Soangetaha Country Club is as good as they come. "It's really comfortable," White says. "I love how the greens roll—always in good shape."
The Schmid Golf Performance Center was made possible by gifts from Robert K. '62 and Barbara Cady Schmid '62. Other lead donors were Robert '65 and Judy Boynton, Chad '97 and Donna Campanelli, Lowell '65 and Mariclarie Dixon, Joseph '95f and Rachelle Heinen, Andrew '99 and Holly Engelhart Isaacson '99, William '55 and Virginia Ives, William Silver '77, Robert '56 and Katherine Sparks, and Richard '57 and Joan Whitney Whitcomb '56.
"The opening of this facility is an extraordinary vote of confidence in our golfers, our athletic program, and our College. "We're grateful to Bob and Barb and all the leadership donors. This gives our golfers the tools they need to compete and succeed at the highest level," said Knox President Teresa Amott at the dedication.
A star golfer at Knox, Schmid is retired following a long and successful career in the food brokerage business in the Chicago area as owner and president of R.K. Schmid & Associates. He received a 2016 Knox Service Award in recognition of his extensive volunteer work for and support of Knox's athletics and alumni programs.
Coached by KC Harding, the men's and women's golf teams are among the most successful athletic programs at Knox. The men's team has won 20 conferences championships since 1982, qualifying for the NCAA Div III national tournament in 2008. The women's team was one of the leaders in getting conference status for the sport since 1996, has claimed four conference titles, and qualified once for the NCAA Division III National Championship.
Above, golf team members and guests in the new Schmid Golf Performance Center; below, in the new center and on the teams' home course at Soangetaha Country Club.