18 things I learned while building a golf course this summer

Four summer photos from Overton Park in Memphis.

Dessie Isaacson

Ed’s Note: GOLF Contributor and Architect Daisy Isaacson cuts tooth for King Collins Golf as an apprentice in the design of the nine-hole Muni in Opinton Park in Memphis, Tenn. How exactly are courses built? What activities are behind the scenes? Here, in Dirty notebooks, We pull back the curtain on how design decisions come to life. Here, to re-evaluate the past summer, is his last piece.

Previous installments: How to Install Drainage Pipes | What is a graveyard? | Genetic tool for green space | Some changes must be made in flight when building golf courses | 9 Steps to Completing New Green | 6 things to learn to build a golf course in the city center

1. I learned not to be fooled by green tricks again

Being a beginner comes with the right amount of tricks, and good natural ribs. Maybe I didn’t understand that I was the “son of that writer.” Some of the details I learned along the way were: “Throw your pocket!” If he shouted, he would not look down. This is not a real thing you can do if everyone falls for the first time. There is no such thing as a plumbing fixture and you do not need to contact the boss to get it.

2. I learned how to communicate (and live together) with a group of interesting individuals

The staff at Everton Park come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences (at least). And most of us lived in the same house. They learn a lot about the people they work with and live with. We had many characters that I will never forget. I want to thank Bruce and Lucas (who like to go as a pop) for being patient and not picking me too much. I know they can do a lot worse.

Author’s house (left) Bruce, Zene and Lucas.

Dessie Isaacson

3. I learned how to get a bird out of my room after Lucas grabbed one

It is a long story.

4. I understand that people have different opinions about golf and its importance

– A woman with a dog said, “Please tell me you are tearing up the golf course and turning everything into a dog park?” She said. She was upset by our response.

-A lady asked what the whole building was like. I told her we were redesigning the golf course. “Was there a golf course before?” She replied.

-Someone asked if the green would stay in place. I told him it was two to three times more. He asked, “Could the hole be two to three times larger?” He replied. I thought that was very clever.

5. I woke up earlier and learned to sleep the first chance I had

When my alarm goes off at 6:00 am, I promise you, I will lie down on my bed and consider every choice of life that will lead me to that moment. It was the same every morning. Why did I sign up for this? Why did I think this would be fun or exciting? Is any of these worthwhile? Am I ready to spend another day in a very cold or very hot place? Can my body (which hurts from the previous day) handle all this for another day?

To be clear, I’m happy to do this once – but I won’t do it again. These people are holy.

6. I learned that big changes do not happen overnight

Almost every task took longer than I expected and required more effort or hard work than I expected. At first I could not see how many months the project would take. It looked like very few steps. And over time, things take longer, there are delays, or the machine stops working and we have to wait on the user. There was always more variability than you might think. I’m not saying we were slow; I just thought everything was moving fast. Rocky error.

Aerial panoramic view of Overton Park where you can see many golf courses during construction.

Dessie Isaacson

7. What I have learned is that not everyone knows every detail of the plan

It was a difficult realization that I did not understand every architectural discussion. In my absence, I did not like ideas being exchanged and plans being made. I always wanted to know how things came together and how they changed. But there are many people and they have a lot of work to do. Not all of us can stand up and talk three times a day. Not everything can stop every time you start talking about a ticket box. And so I learned to live with limited information.

8. I learned to hate rain

I have never done a weather-based job before. I’m not lying, I woke up in the rain for several days and maybe I can sleep happily and stay in bed. I learned that although it would eventually rain down, it would not stop working, but it would stop growing for days. Mud is hard to mold. I can see how just a little bad weather can ruin a whole project and delay everything. Sand delivery should be rescheduled because the waste does not dry out on time, but you cannot arrive until next week. Things will be better if we do golf courses inside.

Rain, rain, go.

Dessie Isaacson

9. I learned scammers on projects They often try to hide in their sleep while sleeping in warehouses

I have never tried this (I swear!) And I have not caught anyone else. But it seems, at least sometimes. There were days when I thought about it.

10. I learned how amazing people who think about Overton Park are

Some unscrupulous people spend a lot of time and energy every day trying to make Everton Park a fun place for the people of Memphis. Anyone who ends up playing in the 9 holes we have built is indebted to Parks and Melanie. They sat in countless meetings, appeared to test progress, brought us donuts (very important) and made us all feel like family. Such small projects do not happen without the initiative of their community.

11. I have learned many skills that are not related to building a golf course

I spent a lot of time installing and repairing the sludge fence. Some days it seemed that our sloping fence could move about five times the full length of Baal Street. I also spent days cleaning up after the hurricanes, clearing the streets, working on the sidewalks, oil and gas engines, and dozens of other random small jobs. I learned how to use a laser that always fascinated me. Maybe one day some of these will be useful.

It may be helpful to learn how to use a laser level and install a sludge fence.

Dessie Isaacson

12. I learned how to drive a steering wheel and how to drive a tractor

I am not Louis Ouze, but I have developed some tractor skills. I never thought I would spend so much time on tractors and skis.

13. I found it difficult to make a bulldozer or an excavator (really hard)

I know I have to wait. And I did it to some degree, but building heavy machinery, especially building a golf course, is not something you can take quickly for something right. The controls are not as easily recognizable as I expected, and most are done emotionally. You cannot see what they are doing to the bulldozer. I was constantly told, “You must feel like a donkey.” Being able to cut downs in one degree is more impressive than I expected.

14. I learned that courses can change for the better when it comes to collaboration with like-minded people

While he was on the scene, I learned a lot from the sculptor Trevor Dormer. I could see how he and King-Collins had a good match because they had very similar ideas about how to build a golf course. As long as Rob and Thad are on the ground with them, they get a good idea from anywhere. “Creativity really comes when your shoes are in the mud,” Dormer told me.

15. I learned that the desire to do this will never diminish

Rob and Thad bring strength and joy every time they bring everyone to the venue. Even as the project was nearing completion, the flash did not go unnoticed. I have never seen anyone as happy as Robben as we put the finishing touches on the greens just minutes before they were finished. We may be working in a public park in Memphis, but Rob was comparing the original green to both Shinnecock Hills and Salvador Dali. He was an ampere; You can’t feel that way either.

16. I learned that great architects can take great ideas from anywhere (even the lowest managers).

“what do you think?” As soon as we finished the green or warehouses, or as we walked the fair streets at the beginning of the process, Rob asked the other Ellis and I. Zen often had better ideas or opinions. I was shocked and felt a special lack of experience and expertise. But he didn’t do it to make us feel better (maybe that was part of him). But I had a good idea of ​​Jane or – occasionally – he skipping it all. No one will ever notice our touches on the course, but if you find yourself in an 8-way warehouse on the right, that may be a mistake. And just like you lost the 8th Green right, that could be my fault.

Re-shaped 8th green view.

Dessie Isaacson

17. I learned a lot of useful lessons from the site manager (my boss)

– On our site, some of us thought we were a little smarter than us (am I talking about myself, okay ?!) And, many times, I had to put my boss in my place.

– When we were trying to figure out where a sewer fence was, my boss would say, “Remember, s – run downhill.” If I had not known this before, I would not have forgotten it now.

– Every time it took a while for anyone (usually me) to find out or fix something, my boss would walk away and calmly say, “I was a doctor. But I lost all patience. ”I began to practice, but for the first time this really shook me.

18. I learned that great golf course design should be accessible and accessible to everyone

We built Overton Park with municipal budget. We didn’t have unlimited money and that meant things went differently. Sometimes more senior staff tell me, “This is how it is done in a real golf course.” This always surprised me a little. It hurt my soul.

The problem with this phrase is that not only Everton Park but also thousands of Americans enjoy the game. It’s no secret that golf has a difference. Golf is for the great and the old adage that you need to get rich or get along well to play good golf courses with strong architectural features is old and tired.

For my money, Overton Park is more real than any of these private courses that these people can ever see. Those places will continue to be stories, photos online, only imaginary images. Overton Park will be the perfect place to drive and find cool holes in the wild. Generations of children have learned to love golf here, and we are trying to improve that experience for future generations.

No one argues that the budget for building and maintaining a monastery is the same as the private space. But the price point does not tell the whole story.

Every time I met a popular Memphis golfer who knew I had re-designed Oponton Park, it was where they learned the game, often played in the first round, and always fell in love. The game. This place is a symbol of what golf can be. For all.

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