SOURCE: Westside Community Schools
Westside High School leaders, donors and students will officially dedicate the new Merrill ‘Swede’ Carlson Westside Golf Training Center on Monday, February 15. This first of its kind venue in a public high school in the United States offers 1,800 feet of dedicated golf space, including a Foresight Sports golf simulator, Southwest Greens putting and chipping surfaces, U.S. Kids Golf clubs and equipment, and various tributes to the history of golf in Omaha and at Westside High School.
Paid for entirely by donors (no taxpayer dollars or school funds), the Swede Center honors Omaha’s Merrill Carlson, an avid Field Club member who dreamed of sharing his love of golf with others. The Swede Center will be the indoor training headquarters for Westside Boys and Girls Golf Teams, but will also be made available at times for Westside students and staff at no charge to them. Plans are in the works for a “Growing the Game of Golf” program that will connect the district’s elementary students with current high school players in The Swede Center.
“It’s to introduce the game of golf to as many kids as possible,” said Terry Hanna, Development Director with the Westside Foundation who garnered support from 61 donors to make the project reality. “It’s a game that you can play your whole life. Not only are we growing the game of golf, but we’re going to educate everyone that walks through that door about the rich history of Westside golf.”
A recent open house at The Swede Center allowed participants to play Pebble Beach’s hole 7, drawing more than 150 students and staff members to visit the facility and try golf for free. Scott Carlson, representing the Carlson family, says that is exactly what his father Merrill ‘Swede’ Carlson would have wanted.
“People are going to get both access and an introduction to the game of golf,” said Carlson, who has also had the ability to practice and train with the sport, "and it’s going to give students and stakeholders all throughout District 66 and the Warrior Community a chance to really further the game of golf.”
Members of the media are welcome to attend the official dedication of the Westside Swede Center on Monday, February 15 at 1:00pm. This will take place at Westside High School; please sign in when you arrive at the front entrance and you will be assisted. The Carlson family, Westside leaders, and Westside students will be available for interviews upon request.