The first RGD intern to hang on long enough to become an associate, Brian Slawnik's career in golf began as a curiosity but developed, under the light of opportunity, into a dedication to golf design as an art form. Brian puts a premium on craftsmanship at all stages of a project, always seeking an elegant and seamless result.
What is the most enjoyable part about your job?
"Connecting with new land and a different community with every project. Our work is so site-specific and we spend so much time on our sites that I often become emotionally vested in the area in which we live during a gig. I'll bring my family along whenever I get the chance, too. My son took his first dip in the ocean in Australia and turned three with a Scottish accent. Over the years, we have been fortunate to collect many homes away from home. "
What is the most underrated part of design?
"The character actors. Greens and bunkers get all the attention and rightly so since they are the stars of the movie. But they don't shine as brightly if the rest of the work is indifferent. Tees, fairway contours, rough tie-ins and the general no- man's-land areas are just as important to the overall success of a design, intuitively affecting the players' experience. The best of this type of work is unnoticeable... because it just fits.
Our work tends to have a 'found' look, as though we just planted grass and nothing more. In fact, when we do our best work, it doesn't look like we worked very hard at all. I get great satisfaction from the anonymous work that covers the tracks."