Golf course path blends into surroundings Hills and native look key challenges thanks to Cat® AP300
- 31 May 2011
- Company & Industry News
Italian paving contractor SIES routinely takes on street and road work that involves thousands of tonnes of asphalt. But the challenges were quite different during the paving of a cart and service path at Tuscany’s first world-class golf course. The path for the 18-hole championship course needed to blend perfectly with the Tuscan countryside. This led the course developer to specify a surface course that included native aggregate. It was combined with a resin that made the path look as if it was simply cut out of the hills.
“We had to achieve a natural, environmentally pleasing look,” said Claudio Sanchi, operator of the paver.
“The result is a pale ocher, which resembles the clay earth that has formed great gashes in the countryside.” There is another environmental element to the Tuscan countryside: hills.
“It was a job that required going up and down many hills during the paving process,” Sanchi said.
Designed by world-renowned golfer and British Open winner Tom Weiskopf, Drago Golf Club rests within one of Italy’s largest contiguous estates, the Castiglion del Bosco. It is located 97km (60 miles) south of Florence, and 201km (125 miles) north of Rome, in the province of Siena. The vast estate spans nearly 10km (6 miles), comprising nearly 1,821 hectares (4,500 acres) of protected nature preserve.
The golf club is the vision of Massimo Ferragamo and Fred Green. It covers an area of 10,000m˛ (11,960 yd˛). A provincial dirt road separates it from a handful of original landowners’ villas perched atop hills. SIES, an Italian contractor headquartered in Siena, was chosen to handle the work at the prestigious course. Specifically, SIES handled paving the golf cart path that winds through the hilly course.
The path covers a length of 10km (6 miles) at a width of 2.4m (7’ 10”). SIES was responsible for building the sub-base as well as placing the surface lift of gravel and resin mix. Time was an issue, as the path had to be completed before other course improvements could be made. SIES started the job with another manufacturer’s machine, but it wasn’t productive enough to hit the deadlines. The company turned to the Cat® AP300 asphalt paver and quickly got back on schedule.
On the Job
The rolling hills of the region are one of the most beautiful features of the new course. Those same hills also were challenges when laying the sub-base and surface materials.
“The machine can climb hills very easily,” Sanchi said.
Work began with a Cat excavator digging a trench at a depth of 20cm (7.8”). The paver actually placed the sub-base, which included aggregate of 30mm (1.2”) or smaller. The depth of the stabilised lift was 20cm (7.8”). A small dump truck delivered the materials to the paver, which placed it as it would a normal asphalt surface. It was compacted by a Bitelli roller.
The AP300 then made a second pass, placing a 3cm (1.2”) lift on the sub-base. The surface material included a mix of small native stone and a transparent resin that provided the look of a natural color and grain, but with long-term durability.
“The machine can place any type of material without problems: asphalt, cement, gravel, sand, polymers,” said Sanchi. The plant providing the materials was about 35km (22 miles) away. A large truck delivered the materials to the jobsite. The surface materials than were loaded to a mini-dump, which transported them directly to the paver.
“The haul truck delivered the materials to different locations so the mini-dump would only have to travel a maximum of 500m (1,640’),” Sanchi said.
Material segregation wasn’t a concern because of the independent augers on the machine, Sanchi said. There were no specifications for density, given the use of the path. Still, the mat had to be compacted.
“The sub-base and surface were built to handle some fairly heavy weights,” he said.
“The path can be traveled on by vehicles exceeding 9tonnes (10 US short tons) without a problem.”
The compaction process started with the Cat AS3173 Screed.
“The screed lays material to the desired width and depth while providing a smooth finish with initial compaction,” Sanchi said.
A Bitelli mini-roller, in vibratory mode, completed the compaction process with two or three passes, depending on the conditions. Production was good, with the paver placing the surface course at a pace of better than 1km (0.6 miles) per day.
“It was a great job,” Sanchi said.
“It’s a beautiful, prestigious course that we’re honoured to be part of. We’re also thrilled to do our part to contribute to the course: to create a path that fits so naturally into its surroundings.
“The hills and curves were a challenge, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome.”