Clyde Johnston is a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He worked at Willard Byrd and Associates for fifteen years before founding Hilton Head Island-based Clyde Johnston Designs, Inc. in 1987. Johnston has designed award-winning courses as Jacksonville Country Club, Cherry Blossom Golf Club, Ocean Harbour Golf Links; Heather Glen Golf Links, Old South Golf Links on Hilton Head, and Covered Bridge Golf Club, owned and co-designed by Masters and U.S. Open winner Fuzzy Zoeller. He also renovated Forest Oaks Country Club, home of the PGA Tour’s Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. His Myrtle Beach courses include Glen Dornoch Golf Club and Wachesaw East Golf Club.
It was the middle of August and three of us were flagging the clearing for a new golf course near the coast of North Carolina. The temperature and humidity were extremely high and there was no breeze as we trudged through the trees and underbrush. The progress was slow since we had to watch every step for venomous snakes. But the worst part was the insects. The ticks and chiggers were bad enough, but it was like the mosquitoes were hosting their own blood drive.
My co-workers were Steve Manley and N.C. ‘Lee’ Chang. Lee is originally from Taiwan and served in the Chinese Army before moving to the United States to study land planning at Georgia Tech. It was the first time flagging the clearing for both Steve and Lee so I walked the centerlines, keeping track of our position and shouting out instructions for which trees to flag.
By midafternoon, the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes were taking their toll on all of us. Lee was very unaccustomed to this environment and was particularly frustrated. Without warning, I heard Lee yell out a string of foul sounding Chinese words followed by the word “mosquitoes.”
Immediately from the other side of the fairway, Steve responded:
“Hey Lee, lighten up! It’s not often they get to eat Chinese!”