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(Winter Springs, FL–April 19, 2005) High-tech renovation projects can stir debate regarding the appropriate approach to improve what is already nearly perfect. Such was the case at a Kentucky golf club when its weakest link became the entry point.
The Hurstbourne Country Club, a private golf club in Louisville, Kentucky, is a picturesque 18-hole golf course with rustling wildlife, a running creek, and a blend of memorable golf holes testing the ability of players at all levels. The fairways and greens were completed in 1966. The only historic relic remaining from the days when it was a country estate in the 1800s is a dramatic, gothic-revival style clubhouse.
In 1994 and 1995, the Hurstbourne Country Club played host to the Kentucky Open Championship. Golf Digest magazine has rated the private club as 9th Best in the State in 1995-1996 and again rated it 8th Best in State in 1997-1998.
Nestled nearby within the lovely sanctuary, is a residential area. Some residents are club members and some are not. This presented unexpected challenges to the Board of Directors. The issue was cut-through traffic along the one-mile scenic drive leading from the entrance of the club grounds to the clubhouse. Apparently, non-member residents took to cutting through the club drive, in order to save driving time. This situation became increasingly unacceptable to the board members. They began searching for a cost-effective solution for vehicle access control system. It needed to handle a high volume of continuous traffic, and would have to fit within their budget without compromising on quality, durability and performance.
Initially, the Board considered swipe cards because magnetic cards are durable and they ensure long-term use. The cost per card was estimated as low as $3.50 per card. Even if lost, cards could be deactivated; specific access privileges could be set. Looking further into access control, the Board investigated remote clickers. On the upside, if installed, remote clickers were relatively easy to use. The downside was that clickers cost between $15 and $25 each. Multiply that figure by 500 club members and their children, and it appeared to be cost prohibitive.
“If you look at having to buy 1,100 transmitters, it’s not cheap, and with codes not remaining secure, particularly with kids giving them out, it wouldn’t solve anything,” said Kevin Cunningham, of Cunningham Overhead Door, in Louisville, Kentucky.
When Cunningham arrived on the scene, he presented an entirely different concept; the BA-200 Barcode Reader manufactured by Barcode Automation, inc. (BAI), of Winter Springs, Florida. Initially, it was felt the Reader was expensive, but at the same time, BAI offered retro-reflective barcode decals to be attached on vehicle windows for identification. The decals cost approximately $2 each. In a situation with large volume traffic moving quickly through, it seemed the ideal “hands free,” drive through solution.
Additionally, a cost comparison study done by BAI found that over a five year period, two BA-200 Readers with mounting hardware and 1,000 decals at $2 each, totaled approximately $15,670. While two Radio Frequency identification units, the closest comparison to the BA-200, with 1,000 battery operating tags at $29 each totaled $29,000. It appeared there could be a nearly a 50 percent cost savings. Also, once adhered to a surface, the BAI decals could not be loaned, re-coded, or lost.
Additionally, the BA-200 is designed to read barcode identification of vehicles moving at up to 25 miles per hour and is UL certified. It is mounted on a post and curb, lifting it about 40 inches above the driveway. The operating unit can read a label up to 65 inches above the pavement. It can act as standalone or integrate with other known access control systems, communicating via Wiegand signal. In a computer security system environment, the Reader easily connects via RS232. As an added feature, the hard-shell, aluminum box houses the modular components in a humidity and temperature-controlled environment, which keeps parts operating smoothly even during extreme temperature changes.
After the presentation, half of the Board was sold on the cost savings, half still held out. In the end, Cunningham said the cost savings could not be ignored. Two units were delivered and installed in 1999. Some 2,200 barcode decals have also been distributed to club members and families since then. The bottom line was that the cut-through traffic problem was solved. The Board was satisfied with the results.
“Thirty-three days after the installation, I went to the site and looked at the counter. I was amazed because it showed 10,610 vehicles read in 33 days.”
Five years later, the Reader is still cycling vehicles in and out of the busy entry point. Cunningham reports the system has continued functioning, and the reading counter continues to show high usage. He reports that aside from some recent moisture build-up issues, the Reader shows no signs of quitting. It has had minimal maintenance.
“That baby continues spinning and spinning fast,” he said. “It’s also looking good, I’ve never had to replace a component, this in spite of some moisture problems. It keeps working. Yes, we solved the problem.”