Bill Amick earned his degree in turfgrass management under a USGA Green Section Grant before he entered the U.S. Air Force, where he supervised the maintenance and operation of the base golf course. Amick opened his own practice in 1959. He was elected president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1977, and has since been named a fellow in the ASGCA. Amick now specializes in smaller, less expensive golf courses such as nine-hole, executive, and par-3 courses, which appeal to developers because of the reduced land requirements, water usage, and environmental impact. These courses also appeal to juniors, beginners, people with disabilities, and those who appreciate faster play. Some of his works include Halifax Plantation Golf Club in Ormond Beach, Florida; Vineyards Country Clubs’s south course in Naples, Florida; Sky Meadow Country Club in Nashua, New Hampshire; and Gut Heckenhof Golf and Country Club in Germany.
Early in my career, I was designing a new course near Tallahassee, Florida, and I went on a walking tour of the property with the housing and course developer and several other men. The property had massive live oak trees scattered across rolling hills, which provided an ideal setting for laying out an attractive golf course. The eventual result would be three interchangeable nine-hole loops radiating from and returning to a clubhouse atop a prominent hill near the center of the property.
As we ambled along, we spotted a large bull in the far corner of the field. When we got closer, the animal began snorting and pawing the ground vigorously. It was obvious that we’d bothered him by invading his territory.
“Don’t worry, everyone. That bull is all show,” the developer assured the group.
Since I had been raised on a farm, I was a bit wary, so I stayed at the far end of the groups of walkers. I rationalized that at least the raging bull would have to gore seven or eight others before ti could get to me!
Fortunately, no one was attacked that day, but we did learn later that a week after our walk, that same bull seriously injured a farmhand. I still contend that being a coward is not a bad thing entirely for a golf course architect!
Since then, Killearn Country Club has hosted twenty-one PGA Tour Tallahassee Opens and four LPGA Tour events. The developer sold all the houses surrounding that course at a nice profit, and a lot of golfers have enjoyed their rounds on that course.
And that’s no bull.