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Library golf course no joke

Miniature golf course built for library as Eagle Scout project

Dec. 17, 2012

Grant Sadowski thought his dad was kidding him when he suggested that the Delafield library might be interested in Grant designing and building, as part of an Eagle Scout project, a miniature golf course that could be used at indoor and outdoor library events.

Grant's dad, Erv Sadowski, a former city alderman, has a well-earned reputation as a jokester.

"At first, I thought he was joking," explained Grant, "until I called the library, and the library director said they were interested in a miniature golf course that could be used in the library."

Grant, a 17-year-old junior at Kettle Moraine High School, had initially planned to somehow devote his Eagle Scout project to the library because he wanted to find a way to encourage kids to go to the library on their own and not just when their parents or teachers urged them.

"I love to read. I know some kids gloat about the fact they have never finished reading an entire book. They don't realize you can get into whole new worlds by reading. I wanted to find some way to encourage kids to read," he explained.

Library Director Terry Zignego said she had read in trade publications how other community libraries had successfully used indoor/outdoor miniature golf courses as part of their activities. She mentioned the idea to Erv Sadowski.

The nine-hole golf course that Grant built with family friends and fellow Scouts will be debuted at the library's noon Year's Eve Family Fun Day on Dec. 31. The event, from noon to 3 p.m., is designed to provide games and activities for the entire family.

In addition to the miniature golf course, crafts, face painting, balloon sculpturing and reading activities will be featured at the event.

Zignego said she anticipates using the golf course for special event days and other activities at the library throughout the year.

The golf course is composed of 18 lightweight plywood sections, each 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. Each of the nine holes is created by linking two of the sections in various golf fairway and green configurations.

There are also small wooden obstacles of various shapes that are added to some of the fairways and greens. Players will use plastic clubs and golf balls.

The course is designed so each of the holes can fit between the rows of library stacks. It is also designed so it can be easily carried, assembled and stored.

"It can almost fit in the trunk of my car," observed Zignego.

"I think at every meeting we had, Terry kept telling me that it had to be easy to carry," Sadowski said.

He explained that one of the design challenges was identifying a thickness of plywood that would be sturdy enough for child's play, survive the elements of the weather while being used outdoors, and still light enough to be easily assembled, carried and stored.

Sadowski spent nearly two years planning the project, designing and constructing the layout, identifying and acquiring the materials, and raising donations for the $820 in materials.

In addition to help from some of his fellow Scouts, Sadowski relied on his dad and family friend Paul Craig, former city mayor and a professional "handyman" with carpentry and crafting skills, to help him design and build the course.

Each of the plywood sections are connected by a series of dowels and configured in various shapes resembling a golf course.

"I am sure he learned a lot along the way. There were some bumps in the road. But Grant showed great perseverance and didn't give up," Zignego said.

One of those "bumps in the road" was having to redesign the project.

Initially, Sadowski had intended that the golf course would be used at library fundraising events by both adults and children. He had intended to add realism to the course by covering the plywood sections with green felt that would resemble the grass on fairways and greens.

Six months into the project, he discovered that the regulations of the Boy Scouts of America prohibited any product created as an Eagle Scout project from being used for fundraising purposes.

Grant had to redesign the project to make it more appropriate for children's use, including replacing the felt with coats of paint on the plywood. The paint not only made the course more durable, but it also made it lighter and easier to assemble and store.

Sadowski said some of the most difficult work on the project was when family and friends spent three days on the final design and sanding and painting of each of the 18 sections of plywood.

"It is fun to be challenged," said Sadowski.

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