Since graduating from Penn State with a degree in landscape architecture, Dave Heatwole has been actively involved in golf course design. For nearly two decades, Dave Heatwole worked with Jack Nicklaus and served as senior designer for a number of award winning courses, as well as courses that have hosted professional golf tournaments. Dave still serves as an independent design consultant for Nicklaus on select courses, but his company, Heatwole Golf Design, focuses on new course design as well as renovation, restoration, and master planning for existing courses. His collaborations and works include Great Bear Golf and Country Club in Marshals Creek, Pennsylvania; Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Twin Eagles in Naples, Florida; The Cliffs at Walnut Cove in Asheville, North Carolina; and Bay Creek Resort and Club in Cape Charles, Virginia.
While working for Jack Nicklaus, I had the opportunity to travel to some very exotic locations to build golf courses. I went everywhere from Europe to the South Pacific.
On one such adventure, in the early 1990’s, I went to Delhi, India to work on a brand new course: the Classic Golf Resort. I traveled to India in May – the time of year when India traditionally experiences monsoons. Perfect timing, right?
When I arrived in the evening, I was told that we would be inspecting the course the next morning at 4:30 a.m. This news was discouraging, considering it meant I would be getting only about five hours of sleep. However, it was necessary, given that by 10 a.m. the hot winds and sandstorms would be so bad we wouldn’t be able to see a foot in front us.
India just amazed me. There were cows walking in the middle of the roads and people sleeping in the street. All of the sights and sounds were truly fascinating to me; it was all just so exotic and unlike anything I had ever before seen.
Bright and early, just at sunrise, I found myself walking around the job site. A few kids from the nearby village began to follow our party. After an hour or two the crowd grew to about fifteen kids following us around and giggling. Finally, I could no longer stand not knowing what the joke was.
“Why are these kids following us around?” I asked our guide.
“You are probably the first Caucasians they’ve ever seem,” the guide answered. Then he pointed out a thin electric wire. “That one wire provides the energy to an entire nearby village.”
On that morning, when I was in awe of the splendor of the exotic India, to those children, I was the most exotic thing they might ever see in their lifetimes. You would have never thought it, but we were the most foreign objects in that place.