With spring upon us (well, most of us anyway... it is still very cold with some snow on the ground in our neck of the woods), our thoughts turn to renewal, newness, and potential. The last one really struck me over this past weekend. As I was sitting staring at the instruments in my living room (upright piano, bass, fiddle and multiple guitars), I reflected on what tools like those mean to different people.
To artists, writers and musicians things like a blank canvas or a grand piano represent possibility and potential. There can be a song or a painting simply waiting beneath the surface. To a mason or a sculptor, a block of stone can represent the foundation of a great work of art. The ability to create and unleash our vision can elevate us to a higher level and make life new again.
As greenkeepers we must never forget about the potential that lies within the canvas we etch upon -- our courses. Architects have created and labored over the engineering and artistic details of the links upon which we dwell, but it is up to us to take that vision and unleash its potential.
Mowing lines, bunker faces, and making the best use of the subtleties and contours within a green are the brush strokes we have to work with. Sometimes the true genius of the original intent can become shrouded in overgrowth... while other times that genius is never fully manifested. It can be up to us to make the best of what it there. Either way we are the artists responsible for chipping away the excess and exposing what lies beneath.
Golfers come to our courses to have fun. They come to escape the rat race for a while and lose themselves in not only the challenge of the game of golf, but also for the restorative beauty that our properties provide. Blending the natural surroundings with the corridors of the game is part of our challenge, but also part of the constant potential that can fuel our creativity.
We are the artists, engineers, carpenters, musicians and all of those who create every day. Never forget that we are not only stewards of our properties, but also the ones who are charged with teasing out the potential that lies within the course itself. Learn the basics, learn the land, and learn to express your creativity and vision. It will make our lives richer and make getting up each morning before everyone else just a little bit easier.