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The Memorial Bridges at Davenport Country Club

Davenport Country Club Superintendent Dean Sparks & Links Bridges’ Bridge Lady at Blair Bridge

In this first Q & A episode, our ‘bridge tale’ takes us to Davenport Country Club (DCC) to get insights from the superintendent, Dean Sparks on their memorial bridges.

Davenport Country Club is a private member-owned club offering elegance, relaxation, and exceptional recreational and social facilities within a magnificent setting. Founded in 1924, the club features one of the premier courses in the state of Iowa.

Links Bridges is proud to have been selected to supply bridges for the prestigious Davenport Country Club in Davenport, IA. DCC wanted something special – a memorial bridge for a departed member.

While most of our golf course buyers prefer our popular ‘Woody’ model, DCC chose an ‘Ashlar’ bridge. The Ashlar is a 100% fiberglass bridge that is prepared to look like a ‘stone’ finish bridge. Ashlar masonry involves rocks of varying sizes roughly cut into rectangular shapes.

We checked back with superintendent Dean Sparks 3 years after the installation to see how he and the membership were feeling about their Links Bridges purchase. We’re pleased to share Dean’s comments.

Regina Sosing, the bridge lady asked the following questions to Dean Sparks, DCC superintendent:

Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa
Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa

Bridge lady: What was the state of your bridges before you bought the fiberglass bridges?

Dean Sparks: Our bridges were just old and inadequate for today’s needs… they were small and hard for equipment to pass over… unsightly because of the deteriorating of the structures… and the rock bridge on 9 caused flooding because the footings were not wide enough to allow the creek to flow freely.

BL: What are the challenges in maintaining your previous bridges?

DS: Wood did need to be replaced every couple of years, but the structure just was starting to get unstable as it continued to rust.

BL: Davenport Country Club fiberglass bridges are memorial bridges. To whom each bridge is dedicated to and who are these people to the golf course community?

DS: The 18 green bridge is for Glenn Blair… a member who passed but was very respected and liked throughout the entire membership. The 9 bridge is the Kangaroo Kripples bridge… a group of members who played golf together for several years.

Memorial Blair Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa
Memorial Blair Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa

BL: What was the reaction of the family to whom the bridges were dedicated to?

DS: Blair’s family was happy and taken away by the fact the club admired Glenn enough to make the 18 bridge his memorial… just a great family who now has an honorary membership with the club. Kangaroo Kripples group had a bridge dedicated to them in 2002 but the bridge was in bad shape.

BL: Why did you decide to go for links bridges for your bridge needs?

DS: We decided to go with links bridges for the longevity and the style of bridges… the cost was more in our budget to replace both existing bridges… and the fact the 9 bridge was already built, and we had the opportunity to purchase from TPC Jasna Polana.

BL: How did you convince your management to have fiberglass bridges instead of wood bridges?

DS: Our membership has several members in the manufacturing/engineering fields, so they understand the movement for longevity and simplicity. But also, being able to put a quality product that aesthetically looks appealing as well.

Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa
Links Bridge at Davenport Country Club in Iowa

BL: What is your reaction, your members’ and management’s reaction to your decision to go for fiberglass bridges now that they have at least three years of having them in your golf course?

DS: The sound was different at first, but the overall feel of the bridges has been great… our ability to get the appropriate equipment to the 18 green now has made the greens complex more compatible with the other 17 greens complexes from an agronomic standpoint.

BL: How was the experience installing the two fiberglass bridges?

DS: The hardest thing about the installation was the building of the footing… once that process was completed the moving of the bridges to get into place on the course required a large excavator. Bolting and securing the bridges was easy and pouring the concrete to match the bridge floor was important to make sure the enter & exits were accurate and smooth.

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