Back in '73, Norm assumed command of a wonderful muni outside of Atlanta; known as The Valley of Misery, it was rumored to be the last Dick Wilson course and it lived in a little village with a special golf name: Redan.
We pronounced it "Ree-dan", but newly arrived outsiders insisted it was "Ruh-dan", which sounded more like that giant Japanese moth. We stuck with the way the locals said it, mostly because you don't get along with indigenous personnel by telling them how to say their words. Anyway, Norm was thrilled with The Valley, for he was to be a pure GCS, not a hybrid GM, F&B, Bartender and pro.
It wasn't ideal, however, for The Valley suffered from several problems, the first being a layer of granite beginning four inches down and reaching to the Earth's core. *NOTE: Skeptics should contact Anthony Williams for confirmation.
The next problem was the top soil, which was actually a special blend of silt, carefully extracted from the nearest creek and blended with muck and clay. It was a perfect medium for growing goosegrass (Crowfootus Mefistoffolus) but Norm felt it was not optimum for a putting surface.
. . . our government overseers, a horde of Carpetbaggers
Third was the anorexic budget, drained of revenue because Buzzy the golf pro had a pretty good deal. He got 100% of the carts, F&B, range and lessons. This was acceptable to our government overseers, a horde of Carpetbaggers who instructed us that Buzzy was, after all, a golf pro, a level of society that knew best and deserved tribute.
Background point: Some of the younger superintendents question my relentless attitude toward the pro shop, but keep in mind, in those days, the golf pro was often in command. This injustice led to my mission in life, helping golf maintenance achieve parity and equal rights.
Here's an example. Once, when meeting with Parks officials, I suggested we put grass on the greens. During the subsequent harsh interrogation by Parks finance people, I let slip that it might possibly require rebuilding the greens. The pro hysterically countered with "No! We should only rebuild one green per year, or else we will lose play!"
It took several accountants to physically restrain me--Tasers had not been invented yet--and then the parks finance gnomes ruled in favor of His High and Mightiness by decreeing "Well, he is the golf pro and they know about such things."
Back to the story. The biggest obstruction to The Valley's quest for greatness was the spray rig. It sat buried deep in the equipment graveyard with a seized motor, rotting hoses and a rust-filled tank. Our mechanic--who insisted he was actually a meteorologist--refused to work on the rig and spent his time rehearsing for an audition with Channel 5 News. Determined to have a spray rig, Norm went before the Parks Inquisition and pleaded his case.
They dispatched Jack, a Parks Expert from up north to evaluate the now fossilized spray rig. We were forced to bow and take off our hats while he read to us from the holy book of Fleet Maintenance Procurement and Equipment Replacement:
"Yea, verily, ye may not buy any new machines that require a new serial number, as long as the previous equipment exists; forthwith, ye may purchase repair parts for the existing serial number, but to acquire a new piece of equipment without adhering to the Purchasing Dogma is punishable by death or worse, amen."
Having served many years in the father of all bureaucratic obfuscation and senseless delay, The US Army, Norm knew to salute Jack and respond with an enthusiastic "Yes sir!", while we groveled and appeared grateful for our existence. When Jack left, Norm immediately journeyed to Lawn & Turf, from whence our spray rig had originally spawned.
Upon his arrival, Norm asked the parts counter guy if he could acquire the repair parts for our spray rig, making sure the proper nomenclature, gender and parentage was provided. Parts guy nodded yes--this was before the foul "Just In Time Inventory Scam"--and Norm announced, in his Sergeant voice, "I want to order a replacement part for everything on that spray rig."
Parts guy just stared. Norm continued, "Furthermore, I want individual invoices for each part, however--when the parts arrive, I want them entirely assembled."
By now, the Sales Manager was involved and he said, "Let me understand this . . . you want every part of that spray rig . . . but you want it assembled?"
Norm winked, leaned on the parts counter and whispered, "If you cannot do this, I and all my future descendants will not only speak ill of you, we vow to never buy anything from you forevermore."
Norm now had two spray rigs
The fully assembled collection of parts arrived within a week and Norm immediately began spraying, happily dosing greens and tees and fairways and roughs. The Valley began to take on a magnificent look and playability improved and everyone was happy. Everyone except Jack.
Jack suspected skullduggery and shenanigans. He conducted a surprise inspection and discovered Norm now had two spray rigs, one without the Holy Fleet Maintenance Serial Number. Jack's head exploded and he screamed at Norm, who calmly explained that he had been yelled at by professional ass-chewers and still had ass left, so Jack did the worst thing he could think of: He wrote words on some paper and waved it at Norm.
Norm didn't care. He had a new spray rig and a new AGCS with perfect hair who knew all the best spray recipes and enjoyed spraying so much that he even invented night spraying.
Even the wicked old golf pro was happy, for he was making so much money that he bought a small country. Twenty years later, when I returned to the muni fold, I was given a stern warning: "Don't try any of your Dad's stunts, because now we have a rule for that, The Norm Wilson Rule."
While this story has no moral, I can offer this: Jack went back to Ohio.