Calgary Goes for 36 – And a Mini Power Plant (May 15, 2002)

Continuing a tradition of orchestrating complex landfill and reclamation golf projects, Phoenix-based golf architect Forrest Richardson has recently put forth a plan to transform an active landfill Alberta, Canada into a large golf campus. The project, called Spyhill, will be a City-sanctioned public facility on approximately 350 acres. Planning is underway with the City of Calgary’s Departments of Solid Waste and its Golf Division. The joint venture, if it proves to be feasible, calls for 36 holes of regulation golf, a full-length practice range, and a 9-hole golf course for use by youth and the disabled. This short course would consist of pitching-length holes.

“The Spyhill landfill represents elevated land ideally suited for golf,” says Richardson. “There is virtually no limitation to our imagination, especially in the fantastic views looking west to the Rockies.” Richardson has been brought in by SCS Engineers, a specialized landfill engineering and consulting firm with offices throughout North America. SCS has a contract to study the landfill and provide methods of transforming already closed portions for use by the Golf Division.

One of the unique aspects of the project is the continual production of natural methane gas produced by the landfill. According to Richardson, a concept being discussed would harvest that gas for use in generating electric power to recharge carts used on the large golf facility. “It is the greatest of win-win situations.” he says. “The landfill is producing natural gas as it decomposes and ordinarily this is wasted by burning the excess gas off by way of a perpetual flame. If it proves efficient, we would capture this gas instead of wasting it and operate turbines to generate electricity.”

The City of Calgary is an acclaimed golf operator with several courses under their belt. If found to be feasible and beneficial to the community, the Spyhill site could add to the availability of public access golf in the seasonal market. No specific timetable has been set for a decision by the City. It is expected, according to schedules approved by the City, that the study period will end this Summer and City review will continue through 2002.