Bob Walker played on the golf team at Texas A&M at Commerce, (then knows as East Texas State University), and then performed golf course construction inspection and quality control for Club Corporation of America. In 1974, he became as a design associate with the Arnold Palmer Course Design Company, where he was involved in the design of more than seventy-five golf course projects spanning twenty-three states and seven foreign countries, including the Legend Course at Shanty Creek in Bellaire, Michigan; the Fossil Creek Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas; and the Chung Shan Golf Club near Canton, the first golf course built in the People’s Republic of China. In 1986 he formed Robert C. Walker, Inc. and designed, among others, in Georgia, Stonebridge Golf & Country Club in Albany and Arrowhead Pointe Golf Club in Elberton; and in Florida, Regatta Bay in Destin, Glen Kernan Country Club in Jacksonville, and St. John’s Golf Club in St. Augustine. Walker also created River Run Country Club in Davidson, North Carolina.  

During my employment with the Palmer Organization, we added a nine-hole golf course to an existing eighteen-hole facility near Savannah, Georgia. The finishing hole of this nine-hole course was designed to be a short par-five, reachable with two well-executed shots.

When we presented our plan to the owner’s representative, he immediately had a problem. Because the ninth and the eighteenth holes of the existing golf course were long par-fours, the owner’s representative argued that the finishing hole on the new nine-hole course should also be a par-four.

“If a group finishing on the new nine-hole course is playing against another group that may be completing play on one of the existing finishing holes,” he explained, “that group would have an unfair advantage because it would be easier for them to make a birdie on a short par-five than it would be for their opponents to make a birdie on a long par-four.”

As hard as we tried to convince him that groups competing against each other would all be playing the same holes, we were unsuccessful.

The customer may not always be right, but he’s still the customer.

The new ninth hole was redesigned as a par-four.