Under the circumstances...
Well well, just as I managed to get this blog up and running I suddenly got busy. Work is picking up and the visitors I had staying could not get back home due to the Icelandic ash cloud!!!!!
But really I am not complaining - the golf industry has taken a battering over the last 1½ years so it does make a nice change to have to run faster again – I like it!
Yesterday I had an enquiry from another youngster trying to get into the industry - it was the second this week. I would love to help but next to the recession in the 1930’s this is probably the worse timing if your goal in life is to become a golf course architect.
I used to tell the students I was teaching to prepare themselves - hard work and talent doesn’t cut it in this industry - you need luck too - sometimes this even seems more important than talent, OOPS did I really say that? They will keep trying though, as a youngster I did, no one could have put me off the idea of becoming a golf course architect.
I often think about how tough I was when evaluating other architect’s work back when I started out. Little did I know just how many things that would have to come together to make a success of a project and that the golf course architect would only have a limited influence on the quality of the final product. What I quickly discovered was that a golf project truly is about teamwork.
I find the teamwork part fascinating but the fact that I can only contribute so much really bothers me immensely. But honestly what can you expect, when what you need to succeed is: a good site (size, topography, soils, planning etc.) - a sensible client too with a realistic budget and intention to match. Then you hope to get to work with good consultants, to get a good and fair contractor (which rarely is the cheapest, so that’s a tricky one) and finally you pray for good weather during the construction and that the archaeologists do not find a Viking grave on your site. Did I forget something? – Lots!
The frustrating thing is - the result will “never” be perfect. I therefore often find myself saying, “under the circumstances it’s a super result”. Unfortunately only the people involved in the project know this - everybody else can only evaluate on what is in front of them, never mind the low budget, the shitty soils or the planning restrictions etc. So for a project to end up good it has to start out great.
The worse things though, are the projects where the circumstances change during the project. Often this has to do with the budget or time running out or the client changing his/her mind etc. - the result suffers and suddenly you are truly trapped.
These days when I look at other peoples work and see something I don’t like or agree with I therefore do not necessarily think less of the architect right there and then. Instead I wonder what went wrong or which obstacles there might have been for the result to end up like that – I guess we all get wiser with time – at this rate I expect to turn into Yoda before my time is up.