Golfers are hitting the links at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. The Principal Charity Classic is underway with a special focus honoring those who serving our country.
The tournament will honor military members and their families with free admission this weekend. Soldiers will also enjoy a special hospitality tent that's powered by technology used by the military. It’s part of the tournament’s effort to lessen its impact on the environment.
Showing a tent at the tournament’s entrance, PowerFilm President Tim Neugent says, "We've got what we call a power shade, which is 1 KW of power."
The special tent welcomes visitors to the Principal Charity Classic. Neugent says, "They were designed for the military to actually cool the tents. They're a structure that goes over the tents and then provide power."
PowerFilm is a thin solar manufacturer based in Ames. The company started working on alternative energy projects for the military in 1988. Now, soldiers use products like these while serving overseas. Showing another tent, Neugent says, "This product is so light weight, it folds up into about the size of a sleeping bag, so it's easily deployable."
Neugent says the power films on top of the tent at the 18th hole will power part of the Patriots’ Outpost. It's the special new hospitality area for members of the military and their families. Neugent says, "Much of our work has been done years ago based on military needs, so having us here combined with military recognition is the main reason were here, as well as the reduction of power. "
You'll also find 10 solar powered golf carts. The tournament has solar trash compactors and several recycling stations. This is the second year the Principal Charity Classic is trying to “Shoot for Zero” when it comes to carbon emissions.
Principal Charity Classic Chairperson Mary O’Keefe says, "We decided, what is a golf tournament? It's green. It's all about being green."
O'Keefe says they partnered with MidAmerican Energy and Waste Management to be the first carbon neutral tournament on the Champions Tour last year. O’Keefe says, "We did get to that point. We needed some of the credits to offset, so we really want to keep moving it along, we can make the actual tournament as environmentally friendly as it can be."
MidAmerican Energy donated some of the company's renewable energy credits to offset what the tournament couldn't produce or save on its own. This year, organizers will also focus on education. Neugent says, "It's great to have the ability to show different usages, so the consumers and people attending the golf outing can see these in action."
The Principal Charity Classic runs through Sunday. The professional tournament starts Friday. Military members and their families can get in free Friday through Sunday. You just need to show your military ID.