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Bridges: When Will You Have the Time or Money to Do It Again?

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”

This practical adage has been quoted by John Wooden, Albert Einstein, and probably your dad. History doesn’t tell us who said it first or who expanded it to include both time and money, but this much is certain, the quote offers a bit of wisdom that could be written in calligraphy and hung above the desk of every golf course superintendent in the country.

Faced with tight budgets and big demands to fulfill, superintendents sometimes feel they have little choice but to opt for lower-cost solutions in the short term, well aware that these decisions may prove to be costly choices as the years go by. When updates and renovations at a golf course call for foot bridges or cart bridges, the team at Links Bridges understands the challenges confronting many golf course superintendents. Company founder and CEO Don Ferrar observed, “Informed buyers choose our bridges.”

Founded in 2013 and based in Ontario, Canada, with a sales office in Boca Raton, Florida, Links Bridges provides high-quality bridges for residential installations, resort properties, parks, public spaces and trails, including bridges that are purposefully designed to meet the unique needs of golf courses. Each bridge is custom designed by Professional Engineers (PEs) who average twenty-plus years of technical engineering experience.

Links Bridges are available in the distinctive HyBridge Series with geodesic-style, coated-steel frames and fiberglass decking and in the Composite Series, which is made entirely of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP). Although each bridge installation has specific requisites and conditions, FRP construction often provides the optimal solution for golf courses.

The Next Generation of Bridges Are Ready for Your Golf Course Today

Every fiberglass reinforced plastic Links Bridge is fabricated from a 100 percent composite material consisting of polymer matrix reinforced with glass fibers. Both strong and enduring, FRP bridges have an expected lifespan of fifty-plus years.

The strength to weight ratio of fiberglass reinforced plastic is greater than that of steel, aluminum or wood. Recognizing that durability alone, however, is not sufficient for golf course bridge needs, Links Bridges offers products designed with the visual appeal that golfers and club members expect as part of their on-course experience.

Wooden bridges match the style of many golf courses, but have a short life expectancy, with deterioration commencing almost as soon as they are installed. Bridges with all-steel or all-aluminum construction can feel too industrial to mesh with the aesthetics of many courses, and all of these traditional building materials are subject to rot, corrosion or rust.

As an alternative to high-maintenance wood, steel or aluminum, FRP bridges look remarkably like bridges constructed of actual wood or stone. Wood-look FRP bridges don’t rely on an interpretation of woodgrain and knots to give them authenticity. Instead, actual wood planking is used in creating original moulds for wood-look bridges, and real stones are used in creating moulds for a stone-look, resulting in final products that are so realistic most users will see the bridge and never realize that it is not of wood or stone construction. In fact, the only giveaway may happen when golfers walk or drive a cart over an FRP stone product, for it will not resonate with the same sounds as those created by traversing an actual stone bridge.

Easy Installation and the Maintenance You’ll Never Need to Do

One hundred percent fiberglass bridges can be used in spans of up to fifty feet and for vehicular traffic weight loads of 10,000 pounds or less. Although a functioning fiberglass bridge can be built for lengths greater than fifty feet, shipping limitations would create problems.

Remarkably lightweight, FRP weighs only fourteen percent as much as a comparably sized steel structure and only fifty percent as much as a comparable structure made of aluminum. Because each bridge arrives as a prebuilt unit, installation is a far simpler process than installing other types of bridges. Golf courses benefit by the limited interruption of play, for most FRP installations can be completed in under a day. Just as importantly, with lighter weight bridges, there is typically no need for heavy equipment that has the potential to cause turf damage.

FRP bridges require only occasional pressure washing, thereby eliminating the need to patch, paint or repair that is inevitable with bridges built from many other types of materials. Also, there is no leeching of toxins into the soil or the water table with fiberglass bridges, which makes fiberglass bridges compliant with most guidelines regarding materials use in wetlands or environmentally sensitive areas.

Leaving a Mark: Branding Your Bridge with Your Logo

Many companies promote themselves and their products through their brand’s logo, but for golf courses, logos can take on a special appeal. Whistling Straits, Kapalua and Bay Hill are a few golf courses that immediately spring to mind as having well-executed and visually engaging logos that have become iconic.

Links Bridges offers a way for golf courses to expand the use of their branding in a memorable way by laser etching their logo into bridge decking. The result is a relief image that essentially imprints the logo into the bridge, a process you could think of as “negative embossing.” Because the process permanently incorporates the logo into the bridge, the image will never fade or tarnish.

The Marshes Golf Club in Ottawa, Ontario, is the last course collaboratively designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr. A high-traffic, public course that includes hardwood forest, meadowland, and, of course, marshland, The Marshes is an Audubon Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary Course and ¬has hosted five PGA of Canada Senior Championships.

Having turned to Links Bridges to replace a deteriorating wooden bridge that had a rotting deck and rotting beams, decision makers at The Marshes elected not only to replace the wood bridge with a FRP bridge, but to use the bridge to further communicate the golf course’s brand. Although this urban golf course has a serene and natural ambiance, it sits adjacent to high-rise office and commercial buildings, making it a corporate-play facility. The Brookstreet Hotel, a luxury resort, is built on the edge of the golf course property and is now, literally and figuratively, linked to The Marshes via a bridge that bears the golf course’s logo on one end and the hotel’s logo on the other. Hotel guests are connected to the golf course just as golfers are linked to the services and amenities of the hotel.

Links Bridges: The Only Place You’ll Find “The Bridge Lady”

Regina Sosing is known as The Bridge Lady; she has been the Marketing Director at Links Bridges since 2014. When you visit a Links Bridges tradeshow booth, you’ll very likely run into Regina. Among her many responsibilities at the company is the blog she writes about Links Bridges’ successful projects and happy clients. As Regina explained, “There is a story behind every bridge we have ever made. We like to share these because we hope that you will find them interesting and will want to work with us to make your own bridge story.”

To read more bridge stories and to learn more about the company that builds bridges for golf course superintendents who don’t have the time or money to do the job twice, go to www.linksbridges.com.

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