Engineering Penguins putt for Golf Dome

YSU engineering students design mini-golf layout

By Denise Dick


They incor- porated sand traps and funnels, tunnels and ramps. All demonstrated the skills and concepts learned in the first-year engineering class at Youngstown State University to develop a mini-golf design.

Kerry Meyers, director of YSU’s first-year engineering program, told students to design one hole for a mini-golf facility. It had to include an elevation change, obstacles and incorporate a theme.

To add a twist to the project, though, Meyers called Creekside Golf Dome in Girard and asked co-owner Tony Latell and Jim St. George, general manager, to evaluate the projects from a business-owner’s perspective.

Latell and St. George decided to take the best nine projects and develop them into an indoor mini-course at the dome.

St. George said Creekside has an 18-hole outdoor course, but during inclement weather, people often call wanting to use the facility for indoor parties.

When Meyers called, they thought it sounded like a good way to add a mini-course inside the dome.

The criteria St. George and Latell use will come from the perspective of business people.

“It has to be user-friendly for everyone from 5 to 75,” St. George said.

It has to strike a balance between being challenging enough to keep people interested — but not so challenging that people can’t do it, he said.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Latell said.

Creekside Golf Dome gets ideas for its facility, and students get some real-life

experience seeing how their concepts have to meet the needs of businesses, he said.

Students grouped into teams of four that collaborated on their projects for about three weeks.

Andy Morgan, an electrical-engineering major from Vienna, and his team created Whirly Birdie. They wanted to include a cone and a ramp and decided on a storm theme.

Everyone was given a 25-foot by 6-foot roll of turf and some bricks. The hole had to be three feet from the end of the green and three feet in from the side. Other than meeting the directives of the project, the rest was left to the teams.

“Your imagination is pretty much the limit — whatever you want to do,” Morgan said.

The team that included Libby Urig of Canfield, a chemical-engineering major, and Tyler Richardson of New Castle, Pa., a mechanical-engineering major, went all out with a YSU theme, laying the bricks to form “YSU.”

“We’re all about the school spirit,” said Urig, who donned a penguin suit for the presentation.

Teams had to try their designs, logging the data into a laptop.

Meyers said projects such as the mini-golf designs allow students to use their knowledge in creative ways.

“When they sit and just listen to a lecture, it’s boring,” she said.

Projects allow them to apply what they’ve learned.

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