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Eisenhower Golf Course Gets Back in the Swing with Some Helical Help!


There are approximately 34,000 golf courses around the world and over 15,000 in the United States.  The sport gained popularity in the U.S. in the late 19th century and, by the middle of the 20th century it had grown exponentially with the U.S. sporting more courses than Britain, the birthplace of golf. During the past seventy years, due to an increase in leisure time and disposable income, America has embraced the game. The PGA, television, and celebrity have each played big roles in golf’s exploding popularity.  PRO-AM golf tournaments combined all three elements: beginning in the 1950’s, TV viewership captured the attention of millions.  Movie stars, professional athletes, corporate titans, and even U.S. Presidents got the bug.  Dwight D. Eisenhower was not the first president to play golf, but his devotion to the game as his primary form of escapism captured the imagination of the country.  It did not go unnoticed by the media or the comedians… a trend that continues to this day.

The Eisenhower Golf Club in Crownsville, Maryland has seen a great increase in play and competition since it first opened in 1977. It now features two 18-hole courses and all the amenities one would expect, including the championship Blue Course. While the game remains the same, the play of the game has changed dramatically over the years with more sophisticated tools and equipment (clubs, balls, golf carts).  Likewise, the design of the courses has become more complex to challenge increasingly proficient and demanding players.  In 2018, the owners of Eisenhower Golf Course began work to refurbish both courses and ultimately decided to use the Covid-19 shutdown in 2020 to close the courses and accelerate the revamp.  Helicals played a starring role. Click Here to Access Eisenhower Golf Club Website

Dissen & Juhn was the General Contractor on this project and they installed the helicals.  Ray McMaster, their engineer, stated that “helical piles were chosen because many of the sites were in wetlands, and you could install helical piles with smaller equipment, which was less disruptive to the sensitive environment.  They also did not want chemically treated piles in the wetlands.  Helical piles are just galvanized steel.”  Small equipment and the ease of mobilization were also major factors for Dissen & Juhn.  “Some of the sites would be very difficult to get a conventional crane and hammer into in order to install 30’ - 45’ long timber or steel full length piles.  The helicals made sense on many levels,” McMaster concluded. Click Here to Access Dissen & Juhn Website

IDEAL Foundation Systems furnished the helicals through Danbro, and this turned out to make sense and cents. A competitor quoted more than twice the cost for their steel for the 120-pile job. In addition, the manufacturer’s Covid-19-altered lead time was two months versus IDEAL’s three weeks.  Furthermore, IDEAL also fabricated specialty brackets for the Permatrak concrete boardwalk system and bridges, easing the sometimes-troubling connection from the support beam to the beam-seat bracket to the helicals. The tolerance for the bracket connection was tight, so this accommodation saved time, headaches, and money.  2.875” pipe piles were used on the pedestrian walkways, while 3.50” pipe piles were used on the bridge abutments where heavier transportation and maintenance vehicles required higher-capacity piles.

Helicals are IDEAL (pun intended) for walkways, boardwalks, and porches.  Danbro has supplied and/or supported, and our installers have installed, more helical piles for these applications than any other distributor/installer team in the world.  Danbro provided input on the preliminary design, suggesting different piles for varying loads to save money.  Danbro’s Steve Gencorelli, P.E. worked with Ray McMaster, P.E. on the final design and Dissen & Juhn distinguished themselves while tackling a difficult job in a challenging environment.  They pulled it off as a matter of course… of course! Click Here to Access Danbro’s Boardwalk Project Histories


by Pat Haffert

Danbro Vice President

September, 2020

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