Reaching a New Level

Rendering of USD's new Purcell Familyt Shoert-Game Practice Facility


What do managing a successful private equity portfolio and hitting a perfect 7-iron have in common? The way Paul Purcell ’97 (BA) sees it, both require focus, commitment and a touch of fearlessness.

“There’s lots of different ways to approach business, just like there are lots of different ways to approach the game of golf,” he says. “In both instances, preparation puts you in the position to succeed, but you still have to be willing to take the shot. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take in life, business and golf.”

It’s been 28 years since Purcell travelled the roughly 2,000 miles from his native Illinois to attend USD. He loved the idea of spending his winter mornings in shorts rather than snowshoes, and the self-proclaimed “golf nut” would have the chance to play his favorite game 12 months a year — studies permitting, of course.

“My brother and I played a bunch back then, and what I remember most is the social aspect of it; how much fun we had hanging out together, playing with our friends. Getting the chance to connect with people is one of my favorite things about the game.”

As a member of the USD Board of Trustees, Purcell is committed to providing future Toreros that same opportunity; a generous lead gift of $2 million has made that possible. In partnership with USD, and with the guidance and input of USD Men’s Golf Head Coach Chris Riley, Purcell’s gift establishes a new on-campus golf training resource. The Purcell Family Short-Game Practice Facility was designed by San Diego native and golfing icon Phil Mickelson.

“Having our own dedicated golf facility will be a game changer,” Riley says. “It will give us something that other top-25 collegiate programs have: an on-campus site that serves as an indoor and outdoor classroom for our players. Showing that we support our scholar-athletes in this way will give us an advantage in recruiting top talent and in helping them to succeed.”

The 1.4-acre facility will be located in the northeast quadrant of campus, centered in the hub of USD athletic facilities.

This will provide USD golfers with opportunities to strengthen what Purcell sees as the difference-making skills in modern-day golf. “These days, the equipment is so advanced it seems like everyone can hit the ball 300 yards. That’s great, but it
also shortens a lot of courses to the point where the major keys to success are how well you can chip and putt. This facility will give USD golfers the opportunity to really hone those skills.”

The facility will be comprised of a 3,000 square-foot clubhouse that includes a locker room, lounge, indoor/outdoor hospitality space, study/conference areas, a hitting bay and golf lab featuring cutting-edge technology and equipment.

“As a result of the generosity of the Purcell family, and a strong commitment from the University of San Diego, I could not be more thrilled to be designing a state-of-the-art on campus golf practice facility for the Toreros,” says Mickelson. “Every detail of this new facility will be designed to improve the scholar-athlete golfer, provide an environment to promote team unity, instill competition and position USD to compete for future West Coast Conference and national championships.”

In addition to the significant impact the facility will have on the Torero golf program, the university intends, through partnerships with Pro Kids, First Tee and other local organizations, to strengthen its commitment to serving anchor communities like Linda Vista, Logan Heights and City Heights. — Mike Sauer

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