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LED Lighting: Can You Trump This on Your Driving Range?

When Donald Trump took over as the new owner of Trump National Doral (formerly Doral Golf and Tennis Resort) in Miami, Florida, he poured some $250 million into the property, revamping the hotel, its golf courses, the resort’s infrastructure and other amenities of the property. Some of this investment was earmarked for the existing golf range, allowing the range to be lengthened and expanded, making it longer by 100 yards and more than twice its original width.

The result of the renovation is that today the range at Trump National Doral can accommodate approximately twice the number of golfers it previously served. A new short game practice area was also constructed along with the expansion and refurbishment of the practice stations. The practice area offers an 8500 square foot green, specifically designed for chipping, pitching and bunker practice. With this expansion came the need for new lighting that would illuminate a greater area and that could be controlled in very specific ways.

Musco Lighting was tasked with installing a state-of-the-art lighting system. Their work would make Trump National Doral the first driving range in the United States to be illuminated with LED (light emitting diodes) combined with a custom reflector system.

Musco, a company headquartered in Oskaloosa, Iowa, is no stranger to shining light on big spaces. Musco Lighting is responsible for updating the exterior lighting of the White House and the Washington Monument, the relighting project at Mt. Rushmore and the illumination of dozens of other widely recognized monuments, stadiums, arenas, ski slopes and other locales where lighting demands are tough and often very precise.

Having already provided lighting for golf courses and driving ranges in 21 countries, including other Trump Golf courses, Musco Lighting was well prepared to take on the challenge of lighting the range and practice areas at Trump National Doral, turning it into the first U.S. driving range to use LED lighting technology.

“We’ve had the privilege of working with the Trump Organization to provide state-of-the-art lighting systems at several of their resorts,” said Jeff McNulty, Executive Director of Sales and Service, Musco Lighting. “Our system’s patented optics built around the LED light source provide incredible light control for a truly unique experience for golfers with minimal glare and the ability to track the full travel of the ball.”

Home on the Range, Where It’s Light and Bright

The custom designed system on the golf range at Trump National Doral lights an area that is 300 yards in length, 170 yards in width and 50 yards in vertical height illumination. The design of the system includes 16 berm-mounted structures that are 2-feet tall each, 11 poles that are 50 feet tall each, 134 custom fixtures and over 14,000 LEDs.

The lighting fixtures are custom designed luminaries in which reflectors create high levels of lighting control, resulting in an environment that is both functional despite the darkness of nightfall and aesthetically striking. Dimming controls make it possible to regulate the light output by lighting select sections of the golf range at full power, while providing lower lighting on other areas that are not in use at the time. The capability to fine-tune the lighting adds additional energy savings to a system that is already energy efficient when compared to many other types of driving range and sports area lighting.

At a theoretical energy rate of 10 cents per kilowatt, the LED lights that illuminate the driving range at Trump National Doral Golf Resort consume 55 kilowatts per hour for an operating cost of only $5.50 per hour. When compared to typical metal halide lights, Musco’s LED lighting system reduces energy consumptions by 65 percent.
Challenges Unique to Doral’s Urban Setting

In Musco Lighting’s call to relight Mt. Rushmore (see callout box “More than flipping a switch…” on page 12), you recognize the challenge the company faced in ensuring that light did not spill beyond the monument faces. Despite the vast differences in the two locales, Musco lighting engineers faced similar problems in lighting both Mt. Rushmore and the Trump National Doral golf range.

First, the team needed to analyze the flight trajectories of various golf club loft angles to ensure proper illumination at a variety of elevations. They looked at the flight path of balls hit with wedges, medium irons, long irons and drivers. Golfers on the range needed to track their ball’s flight path visually as well as see where it landed. Because this range is double ended, the illumination and the reduction of shadows had to be equally effective, no matter which direction golfers where hitting their shots. Each of the more than 14,500 LEDs was mounted within the custom fixture that housed it and was positioned to allow precise aiming of angles, thereby helping to reduce light spillage while optimizing the controllability and efficiency of the lights.

Adding to the need to control the lighting overflow from the golf range was the range’s proximity to residential neighborhoods and to the Miami International Airport, less than five miles away. Musco lighting engineers had to carefully analyze light levels so that no matter what the flight pattern or elevation of inbound or outgoing air traffic, pilots would not be affected by glare or disorienting lights from the range. LED lighting is a particularly good choice for achieving the light cut off needed when a large range is this close to a busy airport.

Making Life Easier for the Golf Superintendent and Crew

Control-Link® is a proprietary Musco system that adds convenience, security and cost savings to outdoor lighting. Using Control-Link, a driving range operator or golf course superintendent can control, monitor and manage the facility’s recreational lighting along with controlling other electrically operated equipment. Control-Link can be installed as part of a new lighting system or as an upgrade to an existing lighting system.

Through Control-Link Central™, Control-Link users have access to a round-the-clock staff for scheduling and reporting needs. Golf course superintendents, range operators or other designated maintenance personnel can access a password-protected account on the easy-to-use website. From this website (also available via smart phone), they can enter, edit and update lighting use schedules , make last minute changes or contact a member of the Control-Link Central™ team for “real person” assistance.

Leading the Way with LED

Range environments vary greatly. Your needs will be unique from those of other facilities. Nevertheless, LED illumination is clearly an option to consider for its controllability, long-term energy savings and the potential it offers for you to expand the use-time on your range.

The project at Trump National Doral required roughly two weeks for the design phase with installation happening over a period of six to eight weeks during which time other work was concurrently underway on the range. Clearly, LEDs can quickly lead to brighter days for your golf range.

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