Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What does a slug have to do with golf course construction?

How did I communicate complex ideas with our crew? I could draw a very, very detailed plans - which would have been impossible to replicate in the field. I could have flown everyone over to St. Andrews to check out the greens and fairways of The Old Course - because there is nothing like that within 500 miles of Houston.

One of my earlier attempts: one day I said out loud, create some irregular shapes in the 10th fairway, like a bunch of mating slugs. I think they did understand, but the jarring image sure created further discussions about my choice of words rather than the task at hand.

The best way to communicate with the crew is in a clear and practical manner that is easily understood by the crew. I can imagine how many "artists" would struggle to get the vision in their head out of someone else's paint brush. Setting up guidelines and some general rules and giving freedom to the talented ones to create was what worked best for us. Don was instrumental in this capacity - and often as my interpreter. At Wolf Point the guidelines were to make sure everything was practically maintainable -- the slug part was in response to having land-forms be longer - as opposed to the moundy blunt types more typical on golf courses across the US.

I will never forget the feeling of seeing one of our first fairways finished - the 4th - and having such a sense of accomplishment and joy that we had come so far and we had created exactly what we wanted in terms of our overall shaping.

We did have a lot of fun thinking about mating slugs on site - it was a good thing I didn't tell everyone that slugs are hermaphrodites.

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