Former SAIT team scores provincial honour by going green with golf course design

27, Apr, 2021

EDMONTON, April 27, 2021 – We all associate golfing with the colour green in terms of golf greens and putting greens and it costing a lot of green, but what about actually going green? A former team of SAIT engineering design and drafting technology (EDDT) students have answered that question with an award-nominated design project: Alberta’s first environmentally friendly golf course.

For their globally minded innovation, the team of Kyle Shave, David Weisbrot, Jiayu Wang and Craig Nelson have achieved provincial recognition, recently honoured as a finalist for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) Capstone Project of the Year Award.

Their Capstone Project is a conceptual design of the National Golf and Country Club at Golden Royale Springs seated in the scenic heart of Kananaskis. The site off Highway 1A near the Francis Regional Resource Recovery Centre was strategically chosen for its desirable terrain and naturally existing drainage basins.

Golf courses are sometimes considered ostentatious and lavish in their design and environmental footprint. Water usage to maintain the greens and fairways can be excessive, and the energy and fuel consumption involved in running carts and landscaping equipment each season is often high. The team’s goal was to create a golf course that utilises environmentally friendly and locally available materials, reduces water use, and generates solar electricity to lessen its impact on the environment.

In order to decrease water usage, the nine-hole golf course is laid out to allow for drainage to be directed into existing ponds where the water can then be repurposed for course maintenance, establishing a water recapture system. All fairways and greens are sloped for this reason.

To assist with drainage and ensure the course remains playable, the team designed sublayers of the course in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for construction. They applied these standards in direct relation to building the root zone (the depth within soil from which roots can effectively extract water and nutrients) for the playing surface. By choosing materials that help retain water in the root zone during long, dry Alberta summers, they lowered the amount of water required for the season along with the overall operational costs of the course.

The course was designed using Civil 3D civil engineering design software, then exported into InfraWorks and Twinmotion software to create an interactive 3D model.

To further minimise environmental impacts, the course uses solar-powered golf carts complete with a charging building that doubles as a storage area for carts and maintenance equipment. The south-facing side of the building’s roof holds solar panels - the energy source for charging the golf carts. Due to the golf course being situated in the northern hemisphere, positioning the panels to face south increases the amount of light the panels are able to absorb.

Because there is no official data set for the actual course area, nearby Canmore’s snow and rain data is used in its place. The charging building incorporates National Building Code of Canada standards and Canmore data, and features columns, beams and a roof system capable of supporting the solar panels. The structure was drawn using Revit software and added into the team’s 3D model.

Former team member Shave said this project allowed his team to showcase what they learned over their two years at SAIT as well as pushed them to improve research, communication and project management skills. Their final concept package consisted of a full set of civil drawings for the golf course, a set of structural drawings for the storage building (including all design calculations), and a video of the 3D model of the project.

“The design of an environmentally friendly golf course is a complicated process,” said Shave. “While the elements laid out in the project scope were successfully completed, the project was limited by time constraints imposed by the school term and COVID-19. The features we proposed serve as the first steps towards instilling greener practices and facilities in golf course design.”

“This Capstone Project of the Year Award-nominated team recognised that, while it’s not easy being green, it’s imperative given climate change,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “One might assume that a golf course is environmentally friendly when, in actuality, it isn’t. The team admirably developed a design that addresses this handicap to a tee,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh.

About ASET
In addition to handing out the Capstone Project of the Year Award to deserving engineering technology students, the ASET Education and Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships, bursaries and educational funding to enhance and support the education of students pursuing engineering technology studies.

ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 16,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET


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