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Glulam in Golf Resort Construction

As new golf resorts spring up around the world, resort developers increasingly rely on the design flexibility of glulam to give their clubhouses and grounds a signature look. In large clubhouse spaces and light vehicular bridges out on the course, glulam meets both the structural requirements and the design goals for long spans and large, open spaces. Exposed glulam provides the warmth of wood and reflects the natural environment that is common to most golf courses.

Long-span Glulam Adds Drama

Iono Golf Clubhouse

The Iono Gold Clubhouse was the first major structure to use southern yellow pine (SYP) glulam in Japan. Resort owners favored pine because they liked its clean look and the fact that it had fewer edge knots. It also provided higher tension values, needed for the long spans in the structure, than Japanese cedar could offer. With a total floor area of 107,600 square feet, Iono was the largest wood roofed facility of its type in Japan when it was completed in 1996.

Iono is located in a mountainous area north of Tokyo. Architect Yuji Noga of Issiki Architects used wood and glulam to create a dramatic setting in the spacious, three-story lobby.

Glulam Adds Style and Functionality to Bridges

Riverwalk Golf Club Bridges

When the Riverwalk Golf Club's fairways were reconfigured to accommodate a new community light rail line, club owners found that they needed to add two bridges that would allow golfers and maintenance workers to cross the San Diego River.

"It was an environmentally sensitive area," remembers William Steen, P.E., principal of William A. Steen and Associates of San Diego. "Permitting agencies would not allow piers in the river, so we studied structural options that included concrete, steel and other wood systems. We quickly determined that glulam was our best design choice."

Steen provided engineering for the site improvements and riverbank flood protection and worked closely with Western Wood Structures, which provided the structural design and treated glulam for two pinned arch bridges. The glulam bridges were designed to carry golf carts as well as the Club's 10,000 lb. maintenance vehicles.

Glulam Replaces Steel Design

Birdies and Buckets Golf and Driving Range

Birdies and Buckets is a golf practice and driving range located outside Vancouver, British Columbia. Owners spent CAN$3 million to create the 30,140 square-foot facility. More than 72,000 mbf of Douglas-fir glulam beams were used to support the patio and tee line, visually connecting the different areas of the facility and providing what they call "flow and continuity."

But it's what you can't see that tells the story for this unique golf facility. According to Mark Rufiange from Structurlam Products, the original engineer had overdesigned the facility. By working with the contractor and a new structural engineering firm, Structurlam saved the owner CAN$100,000 in steel costs and eliminated many of the clunky steel connectors originally specified.

Glulam Sets Resort Apart From Others

Ocotillo Golf Resort

In a crowded resort community like Chandler, Arizona, a golf club needs distinguishing characteristics, something to help set it apart from its competitors. On its fairway, Ocotillo features water and lush landscaping, which makes it unique among the surrounding desert-style golf resorts. In turn, architects used glulam and other natural materials to distinguish the resort's structures.

The project featured straight and curved Douglas-fir glulam for the skeleton of the main clubhouse. Curved glulam was also used in the resort's covered walkways. George Melara is with Nelsen Architects in Scottsdale, Arizona. Whenever Melara's firm designs hospitality-type structures, the warmth provided by glulam makes it an obvious choice over steel. "Many buildings lack integrity between the outside and the inside; we wanted a building with integrity, with real structure," said Melara.

Open Trusses Deliver Unpretentious Comfort and Design

Eagle Point Golf Club

Architects often look to their surroundings for inspiration, and that's what led to the unpretentious comfort of the glulam trusses used in the clubhouse for Eagle Point Golf Club, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Henry Johnston, AIA and Ian Johnston, AIA, of Johnston Architecture LLP used glulam to give the clubhouse broad eaves, which protect golfers from the hot Southern sun. "Early on, we knew we had to use solid-sawn timbers. We immediately turned to glulam, because it is so easy to work with. I have been designing with glulam since the 1960s, and am very comfortable using it as a structural building element," said Henry Johnston.

Glulam Carries All the Weight

Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club

The beauty of the glulam in Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, can easily overshadow its other function – that of providing structural support for the 36,000-square-foot clubhouse.

The structure is unique in that all seismic loads, including lateral loads applied to the building are carried in the glulam frame. There are no concrete shear walls or other structural components carrying lateral loads.

Roger Bayley, P.E., with Paul Merrick architects, Ltd., said his firm wanted to do a project with a high level of structural expression, and glulam gave them the flexibility to do just that. "We developed a design that allowed the building to frame itself in both directions by using glulam cross-bracing elements," he said. "Other materials would not have worked, or would not have provided the visual impact of the exposed wood."

Chinese Course Features 98-foot Bridge

Sheshan Golf Course Bridge

Sheshan Golf Course, in Shanghai, China, needed a bridge that would allow golfers to easily move around the course, while preserving the area's natural habitat and enhancing its aesthetic appeal. According to Xu Fang with American Softwoods in Shanghai, a fast-track schedule (the new course was preparing for a golf tournament) solidified the decision to use glulam. "This bridge was completed within four months of the original contact date," he said. "Once material arrived in Shanghai, it took just 18 days to install the bridge."

The 98-foot bridge accommodates vehicle traffic ranging from golf carts to 5-ton maintenance vehicles. Fang said the owner chose glulam primarily out of architectural consideration. "This bridge connects the golf course with the residential community, a luxury Tuscan-style single-family housing complex designed by an architectural firm from California. The beauty of the glulam made it an ideal choice for the bridge."

Glulam Offers a Big Impact Within Budget

Fairview Mountain Golf Club

Smart architects turn to glulam when they need big visual impact on a tight budget. Such was the case with the Fairview Mountain Golf Club, located in British Columbia's wine country.

Cal Meiklejohn is a principal of Meiklejohn Architects of Penticton, British Columbia. He said the Fairview Mountain did not have the budget for an opulent facility, so the design team recommended spending money on an exposed glulam structure instead. The 11,000-square-foot clubhouse was built at a cost of CAN$1.25 million and features high, open-beamed ceilings and wood roof decking.

Meicklejohn's firm chose a simple glulam design requiring little fabrication. Glulam was provided by Structurlam Products, which fabricated and applied the stain in the company's shop, to save money. "We were able to meet Fairview Mountain's goals and their budget by using glulam," Meicklejohn said.

Oregon Club Draws on Japanese Design

Persimmon Country Club

When the Japanese owners of a new golf club in Oregon chose a design theme for their clubhouse, they turned to a familiar form – wood.

"We wanted to blend traditional Japanese architecture with a classic Northwest style, and the obvious place to start was to use glulam," said Hal Ayotte, principal of Fletcher Farr Ayotte architects. "Our client wanted the same attention to detail used in traditional Japanese architecture. So, we used glulam to create a design with delicate proportions, intricate details and exposed connections. You see the structure of the building as part of the ambience of the space, and that's what the owners wanted."