Tom Marzolf, Reading More Than Greens Tom Marzolf, president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, keeps two books within easy reach. The Bible is one. Golf Architecture, by course design pioneer Alistair MacKenzie, is another. Marzolf tells Liane Hansen what else he enjoys reading.
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Tom Marzolf, Reading More Than Greens

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Tom Marzolf, Reading More Than Greens

Tom Marzolf, Reading More Than Greens

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

If you made it through Faulkner in college with the help of CliffsNotes, our summer reading series has plenty of alternatives: mystery novels, science fiction, biography, history and sports. For today's installment--given it's the last day of the men's PGA Championship at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey--we spoke with a golf course designer. Tom Marzolf is president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and a fourth-generation golfer. His recent projects include the Ritz-Carlton Members Course in Sarasota, Florida, and the Green Monkey course in St. James, Barbados.

Marzolf told us he always keeps two books within easy reach: the holy Bible at home, and at the office, "Golf Architecture" by Alister MacKenzie. MacKenzie worked at the turn of the 20th century designing the courses at Augusta National in Georgia and the Royal Melbourne in Australia, among others. When Tom Marzolf contemplates a design strategy for a particular course or hole, he considers MacKenzie's foresight.

Mr. TOM MARZOLF (Golf Course Architect): He believed in the need to allow the golf course to change in the future, and some of his principles talk about allowing space for a golf course to gain in length. It's interesting to me that Dr. MacKenzie was focused on that and would actually lay out golf holes so that there was room behind the tee to add length so that it could change and adjust over time.

HANSEN: Tom Marzolf also gravitates toward personal finance and business self-help books. He found "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" by John Bogle helpful for investment guidance. Marzolf recently started "Leadership and Self Deception" from the Arbinger Institute. He's getting tips on how to trim down on multitasking at work.

Mr. MARZOLF: We have a tendency to be doing so many things during the day that we don't take the time to stop and give each person that we're dealing with enough time and be sincere and open and honest in our communication. So it's just a good book, a tool, to maybe reset you a little bit and drop back and stay focused; and when you're having a dealing with another person, stop what you're doing and give them your undivided attention.

HANSEN: Marzolf doesn't read many novels, but he is a fan of fantasy and science fiction. When he was studying architecture, he would escape from the drafting table by entering the world of "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. Another memorable read was Alvin Toffler's "Future Shock," which explores the anxiety that people felt in the 1960s about keeping up with rapid technological changes. Marzolf has also reread much of Kurt Vonnegut's work, especially his short-fiction collection "Welcome to the Monkey House." The book includes wartime tales and sci-fi stories. One, about the consequences of immortality, stuck with Tom Marzolf.

Mr. MARZOLF: It got to the point where there was too much population. And it talked about young people not being able to have jobs because the old people were--wouldn't die and would keep their jobs forever. And, you know, just try to imagine a world where no one died. I mean, you know, we're all afraid of death, but to examine what that might end up being is kind of an interesting twist.

HANSEN: Golf course architect and WEEKEND EDITION summer reader, Tom Marzolf. For a least of summer reading suggestions from NPR listeners and contributors, visit our Web site, npr.org.

This summer, we've spoken to a variety of people about their favorite books and what they've been reading lately. We'd like to know what you've been reading this summer. What's the one book that will stay with you? We also want to know why you liked it, but please be brief. Go to our Web site, npr.org, and then click on the `contact us' link. Follow the instructions, and in the subject line of your message please write, `What I'm Reading.' And please be sure to include your phone number. We plan to get in touch with some of you to record your comments, which will be broadcast on our show Labor Day weekend.

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