Project Information

Saddlebrook Golf Club
Indianapolis, IN

Product: AB Classic

Size:2,000 ft2 (186 m2)

Wall Builder:
Robertson Construction
Franklin, IN

Wall Designer:
Civil Design Professionals
Bloomington, MN

Allan Block Manufacturer:
Reading Rock
Fishers, IN

Golf Course Re-Opened with Brand New Walls

Previous Timber Wall

Saddlebrook Golf Club was an anchor for the neighborhood until it closed in 2015. The neighborhood started a capitol campaign that allowed for Green Golf Partners, a golf course management group, to purchase Saddlebrook and bring it back to its former glory. During its closure, the greens, fairways and grounds were subject to extensive damage, requiring a lot of construction. One such feature was a tunnel that passed below 56th street and connected the 2 different sections of the course.

Green Golf coordinated with the city as 56th street runs above the tunnel to make the “unusable” tunnel functional again. The entrances to the tunnel consisted of old railroad tie timber walls that were in desperate need of repair.


Green Golf hired United Consulting to create engineered documents for a public bid for the project. United Consulting specified that the retaining walls be replaced with a longer lasting and more economical material than timber for this project. Therefore, modular blocks were specified. The retaining wall plans mimicked the original layout of the timber walls except the mitered corners were changed into curves for cleaner lines, additional strength, and faster install.

Drawing of Golf Course Plan

Another feature to be considered was the fence/guardrail above the walls. Since 56th street crosses over the tunnel, vehicular traffic and the potential for accidents had to be considered. To ensure that any loading from the fence/guardrail did not negatively affect the retaining walls, United placed the fence 3 ft (1 m) from the wall.

Details of Golf Course Walls


New AB Wall Tunnel

Duncan Robertson Inc, one of the contractors bidding on the project, reached out to Jill Fouts with Reading Rock, Allan Block’s local production partner, because of a past working relationship for a comprehensive quote and preliminary design. Jill brought in Civil Design Professionals (CDP) for an Allan Block design as they are an experienced engineering firm that does multiple retaining wall designs a year.

The final design was made up of a mix of designs, such as gravity walls above the tunnels, geogrid reinforced walls leading towards the tunnels, and terraced walls at the tallest grade changes for visual appeal.

Typical Wall Section


Robertson Construction won the bid with Allan Block due to the design and comprehensive quote, provided by Jill Fouts. Construction on the tunnel took a whole season before they could start on the walls. The contractors had to shore up the walls while they tore out and replaced the leaking tunnel and all the electrical for the signal lights.

Once they were able to start on the retaining walls, it took them approximately 4 weeks to install 11 walls. Jill Fouts visited the site early in the construction phase, offering advice and information on proper installation of block and grid. The contractors could ensure they were installing the walls correctly. One of the tricks and tips that Allan Block products have is to allow for the installation of curves without the need for cutting. By knocking off the wings with a hammer from the back of the block, it allocates the installer to be able to create any curve they need fast and efficiently. The contractors were very appreciative of Jill’s knowledge and were able to complete the project without a hitch.

After speaking with Marcus Robertson, with Robertson Construction, the only thing he would have liked to have done differently would be to start the project sooner.

The versatility and adaptability of Allan Block made it the best choice to replace the old, failing railroad tie wall for a clean, long lasting retaining wall for years to come.

Angle of New Tunnel with AB
Tunnel with Fence