The Bennett Gymnasium was filled with chattering, formal-dressed students as they exhibited their projects. These projects were mini golf courses crafted by the students. The 14 golf holes varied in designs, which came to life with components like wooden structures, signs, lights and even a water system.
“The event is to showcase the work of our Intro to Engineering and Physics students,” said Dr. Lori Houghtalen, an assistant professor for the department of engineering and physics. She is also the director of the Engineering Senior Clinic. “They’ve been working on a project to design and build a mini golf hole since the beginning of the semester,” Houghtalen said. The nine judges present graded the students based on how well they tied into the safety, playability, aesthetics and presentation of their hole.
One of the judges was Bobby Garcia, a media consultant for KTXS. Garcia said he was invited by Houghtalen to judge the group presentations mainly on eye contact, gestures and overall presentation based off what he does for a living.
Samuel Lopez, a freshman engineering major from Abilene, was part of the creation of Hole 11. This golf hole was built with wooden gears and a bridge across the top level. Lopez said the inspiration came from the construction that the team saw as they looked around Abilene.
Thomas Light, a freshman engineering major from Abilene, helped to create Hole 7. Its unique features were an axe, two skulls and two pathways leading to either the hole or the “fire” made of red tissue paper. “We went towards the fact that Abilene yields towards supporting troops and veterans,” Light said. “We came up with the Punisher skull from Chris Kyle,” said Light. Kyle was a U.S. Navy SEAL veteran and sniper who was killed after returning to the states by a fellow veteran on a shooting range.
Winners were soon announced. Awards included the Judges’ Award, People’s Choice Award and Best Presentation.
A tie victory for Best Presentation went to Hole 8 and Hole 9. Hole 8, featuring a purple path with a water system raining down upon it, was created by Collin Valuk, sophomore engineering major from San Antonio; Jay Jones, freshman engineering major from Stephenville; and Aaron Smith, freshman undeclared major from Coppell.
Hole 9 featured a large structure with two rocky areas, wooden obstacles and a mini game for the ball to go through. The creators were David Hoyt, sophomore engineering major from Carrollton; Josh Murphy, sophomore physics from Abilene; and Keaton Brewster, freshman physics from Malibu, California.
The winning hole for both the Judges’ Award and People’s Choice Award was Hole 12. It featured an uphill ramp, a plastic tube and a curved metal ramp that led up to the hole, and was created by Beau Bunnell, sophomore engineering major from Abilene; Jessica Price, junior engineering major from Abilene; and Nathan Kranz, sophomore bible and ministry major from Austin.
Bunnell said his group wanted the hole to be a challenge for players and after many design ideas, they decided to put them together to create their current project. Bunnell said it was Price and Kranz who came up with the curved ramp.
“I am very proud,” said Bunnell. “We worked really hard on it and it paid off.”