UNLV men’s golf coach Dwaine Knight used oversized scissors Thursday to cut a ribbon and officially open the state-of-the-art Dwaine Knight Center for Golf Management located within Hospitality Hall, the crown jewel of the Harrah College of Hospitality.
The center, which unofficially opened this year, has become the place for men’s and women’s players and professional golf management students to collaborate. High-tech swing areas, a putting green and other technology are helping to improve performance, and recruiting also should get a boost.
A retail store, research lab and student lessons also are available at the center, which is open to the public with reservations.
Knight is one of UNLV’s most successful coaches and has led the Rebels to three NCAA national championships (one team and two individual), eight regional titles and nine conference championships, and players have earned on-course and/or academic All-America status more than 50 times.
About 12 former Rebels have played the PGA Tour or other major pro tours, including Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Chris Riley, Chad Campbell, Andres Gonzales, Ryan Moore and Kurt Kitayama, who on Sunday won the Mauritius Open on the European Tour.
When Knight first visited Las Vegas in 1987, he didn’t believe what local power brokers, including Tom Hartley and Ted Quirk, told him about the potential that awaited if he became the coach. Hartley and Quirk attended the opening, as did Christina Hixson, the first to fund the men’s golf foundation upon Knight’s arrival.
“Everything they told me came true,” Knight said.
Among those attending was Stowe Shoemaker, Harrah College of Hospitality dean.
“Only a very few individuals leave a lasting impact on a program and the many lives they change,” Shoemaker said. “Dwaine Knight is a true role model and champion and embodies what it means to be an inspirational leader.”
Senior Harry Hall, an All-America candidate from England, now totes his clubs on campus.
“The indoor simulator measures everything from club speed to ball speed to trajectory and launch,” Hall said. “It’s a great resource to have in between classes, and it will be utilized by a lot of top-class players.”
Southern Nevada PGA wins
A team from the Southwest Section, Southern Nevada Chapter, PGA defeated an amateur team from the Southern Nevada Golf Association 8½-3½ in the annual Southern Nevada Cup at Las Vegas Country Club and Anthem Country Club.
Leading the PGA team in the Ryder Cup-style event were Jason Edmiston, Darren Stanek and Wes Weston, who each went 2-0.
Colorado’s Billy Howenstein and Arizona’s Jonathan Curran and Julie Ju won divisions at the American Junior Golf Association senior showcase hosted by Danielle Kang at Angel Park and Club at Sunrise.
Bali Hai local rate is $89, including lunch, from Sunday through Thursday.
Stars on, off course
At the Knight Center opening were UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez and athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois, who earlier in the day announced that Sanchez would return for a fifth year.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.
Thursday: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day event, Chimera
Friday-Sunday: Rebel Junior Golf Camp, Las Vegas National
Saturday, Sunday: SNJGA Holiday Classic, Desert Pines
Dec. 15, 16: SNGA Championship, Cascata
Dec. 17: SNJGA Santa Scramble Benefit, Reflection Bay
Jan. 19-21: Rebel Junior Golf Camp, Las Vegas National
What: QBE Shootout.
When: Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (KSNV-3). Sunday, 10-11 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (KSNV-3).
Where: Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla.
Defending champions: Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker.