The Bacon Park Yardage Book

The last month of senior year at The Savannah Country Day School is spent outside of class on an independent study project. Students are expected to do an internship in the field that they plan to pursue in college. For the ambitious (and foolish), this means supervised internships at hospitals and law firms. My friend and I had a better idea; we would spend our month on the local golf course playing golf and creating a yardage book. The idea was actually based on a pretty good business idea. The book would cost very little to produce and we had authorization to sell it in the pro shop. In the end, we succumbed to “senioritis” and only created nine nicely drawn holes that never made it to the masses. I don’t know what happened to those drawings, but I do have our final report, included below with my comments in red.

Bacon Park Yardage Book
Jason A. Carter
May 25th, 1994

The purpose of our Independent Study Project was to create an effective yardage book for Bacon Park Golf Course. This book would include an accurate drawing of each hole with distances from sprinkler heads and key landmarks, such as trees, bunkers, and water hazards. We anticipate that this book will make it easier for all golfers to understand the layout of the course and give them the correct yardage on every hole.

Okay, we start off pretty well here. Some of the holes at Bacon Park definitely require some yardage clarification.

In preparation for this project, we contacted several civil engineering firms in Savannah in hopes of renting a laser to measure the distances on the course. The firm Thomas and Hutton allowed us to use their sonic distance finder, which proved to be effective for distances over water. The school’s maintenance staff allowed us to use the wheel that marks off the football fields to measure long range distances not covered by the laser.

For the record, it was a two–piece ultrasonic device. Not sure why there’s mention of a laser. I think, at this late stage, we were doing anything we could to make this project seem more technical than it really was.

In order to make the process of finding these distances more efficient, we split the procedure into two different parts. First, we walked each hole and made a map showing where each sprinkler was located, and we measured the width and depth of every green and tee box. Then, on a separate day, all of the distances were measured with the laser and wheel. After all of this was accomplished, accurate drawings were made of each hole, and all yardages were filled in. These drawings will then be reduced on a copying machine and arranged so the book will be small and compact, yet easy to read and understand. Even though we were not supervised while on the course, Mark Geistweite, General Manager of Bacon Park, assisted us by making sure the course wasn’t too crowded for us. Under the advisement of Alan Begrowicz and Wayne Aaron, our progress was monitored, and we were able to work in a timely fashion.

Read between the lines here: this month–long assignment was completed in two days! Amazingly, no one questioned what we did the other 28.

We found in the past month that working on this book has been very different from any other type of project or job. Rather than working under constant and strict orders, we were allowed a few creative liberties. For instance, we had total control over the book and its design. There were no regulations or requirements to dictate how we would produce the book, so we were free to create something that we thought would look good and be effective. The staff at Bacon Park was also very considerate and cooperative when our presence was anything but a convenience.

I find our perceptions back then to be quite humerous now. I, for one, had not performed an honest day’s work at the time of writing this, but I had no trouble imagining the “regulations” and “constant and strict orders” that awaited me after high school. How do you like the self–depricating jab at the end there?

When we came up with the idea to create a yardage book, we believed that it would not be a very hard or long task to accomplish. When it came time to measure the course, we found that it would be more difficult than expected, due to the number of golfers on the course. We also discovered that water hazards and bunkers made measurement of the holes much more difficult. Finding a convenient time to design the book also presented a problem that we had not considered. What wasn’t finished in the afternoon had to be done late into the night. When all of these factors were combined, we realized that the entire project would take much longer than we expected. The idea started out simple, but it became much more complicated, and we realized that we would not be able to finish all that we had set out to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Overall, working on this yardage book has been very enjoyable and interesting. Being avid golfers, we were intrigued and excited by our discoveries and results, and we look forward to finally producing the finished product.

Uh oh. Start the backpeddling. We worked on this for only two days, and yet it still was more difficult than expected. We even had to work late into the night to get all of this done. As I recall, it actually was a relatively easy night spent over some beers and a sketch pad.

If someone were to follow in our footsteps, we recommend that the project be cut from 27 to 18 holes. Through our experiences, we found that much more time is needed to create an acceptable product that will serve its purpose. The project would be accomplished much faster and easier if there was a third person who could assist in the designing of the course.

I’m not sure where the 18 hole recommendation came from. We only managed to finish nine holes in one month

Overall, we feel that working with Bacon Park has been a very enjoyable arrangement and we look forward to producing a product that will be worth all our efforts.

This wraps it up nicely, I think. Playing golf every day for a month certainly was an enjoyable arrangement. And I thought the finished product was pretty sharp too. Too bad we didn’t follow through with it – it would have been nice to have some additional beer money for the summer.

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