Wright State golf: Raiders’ new team headquarters a ‘game-changer’

FAIRBORN — Shane Ochs believes the Wright State golf facility unveiled this week might help him and his fellow players whittle their averages down a bit.

He knows it’s also sure to make a difference in the team chemistry department, enabling the Raiders to build even stronger bonds.

The Tobey Family Golf Studio is a 2,700-square foot locker room and practice area located in a second-floor wing of the Nutter Center.

It’s equipped with two state-of-the-art simulators that allow players to work on their swings year-round. It has an 1,100-square-foot putting green — with enough break in places for testy side-hillers. And it has a lounge with a big-screen TV and stereo system to watch games and socialize.

The Raiders also have their own regripping station, which comes in handy with the maintenance their clubs require.

“You can come in here and lose track of time because there’s so much to do. You can hit all kinds of different shots. You can hit for hours and hours and not get bored,” said Ochs (pronounced Oaks), a sophomore from Carroll High School.

“Coming in here, it makes us more of a family. Last year, we had a closet-sized space where we kind of got sick of each other.”

The team facility was made possible by a $200,000 gift from longtime Wright State supporters Diane Tobey and her late husband, Terry.

The donation was originally targeted for new tennis courts but was repurposed when the school dropped tennis in 2020.

“It’ll be a game-changer for the golf team,” Athletic director Bob Grant said. “We’ve had one of the best golf teams in Ohio the last four or five years. But they had no place indoor to train. They had no place to show to recruits.

“It gives them 24/7 access to a place to hang out, get better and build some camaraderie. It was uber-important.”

The Raiders have had two firsts and two seconds in the last four Horizon League tournaments. They were named preseason favorites for the fifth straight year and will kick off the spring season Monday and Tuesday at the University of Houston’s Border Olympics.

“It’s miles better than what we had last year. I think it’s already helping us,” third-year coach Conner Lash said.

“It’s expensive, but you have to keep up with the Joneses. Everybody has something indoors.”

Wright State and other schools in cold-weather climates are at a disadvantage compared to those in the South and West.

The Raiders did take a January trip to play the HL tourney course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., but the players were stuck inside like casual golfers during the long stretch of sub-freezing temperatures in the area earlier this winter.

“You can have a few weeks of not going outside and not have much rust because you’re doing so much inside,” Ochs said.

The Raiders had to replace three of five starters after two-time HL golfer of the year Tyler Goecke transferred to Illinois and two other stalwarts graduated.

But Mikkel Mathiesen, a former HL tourney champ, is back. And Ochs was named the 2022-23 league freshman of the year.

“I feel like I’ve proved myself playing against some tough competition. And the last tournament of the year, playing against our best competition, we were right there with them step by step, shot by shot,” Och said.

The Raiders had a rousing finish to their fall schedule, coming in third at the Dayton Flyer Invitational. They were one stroke behind Illinois, which has won 14 straight Big Ten titles, and two behind champion Marquette, which has won four of the last eight Big East crowns.

They had a team score of 10-under over three rounds on the NCR South Course.

“I think it gave the whole team confidence that we can compete with some of the better teams in the country when we play well,” Ochs said.

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