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said, ‘Let me show you how to hit a golf ball,’ whereupon she drilled one 225 yards straight down the middle.”


Landscaping lessons from the Corps LaFoy’s work with Cobb got off to an auspicious start. In 1973, he ac- companied the architect to Augusta National, which had retained Cobb as a consultant. Over the next five years, they tackled numerous proj- ects at America’s most hallowed golf ground, rebuilding tees and bunkers, not to mention the green at the 13th hole — the last leg of the notoriously vexing “Amen Corner.” Cobb had in- troduced LaFoy as his “bunker man.” It was a fitting label, for LaFoy had learned all about earth-moving proce-


72 MILITARY OFFICER AUGUST 2016


dures during his time as a combat engineer officer in Vietnam, bringing valued know-how to Cobb’s business. “There’s not


much difference


between building golf course bunkers and gun emplacements,” says LaFoy, whose Vietnam duties also included constructing roads, bridges, culverts, and mortar pits. While in engineer school at


Camp Lejeune, LaFoy and his peers received instructions as they drove giant Eimco bulldozers around in a huge sandpit. Later in Vietnam, “a helicopter would drop a little CASE dozer on the mountaintops north of Da Nang where we set up com- mand posts,” he recounts. “The dozers removed all the trees so we could have a clear line of fire. I had operators for the dozers and directed their maneuvers. What I did in the Marines has been a great help in my work as a golf course architect.”


Military aesthetics and engineering Indeed, military service had a pro- found and lasting influence on both men and the links they chiseled. Cobb, whose career virtually was launched by the Marine Corps, never wavered from the philosophy he ad- opted during his Lejeune days: Golf should be a casually competitive out- ing in a beautiful setting, not a brute test of skill. His bountiful designs reflect the philosophy that put many a Marine on the road to recovery. In 1953, Cobb got a priceless edu-


cation on how to make golf courses pleasing to the eye, compliments of the Marine Corps. As a reservist, he had been recalled to active duty and was deployed to Japan, along with thou- sands of other Marines, in a strategy geared to show U.S. might during un- easy peace negotiations at the end of the Korean War. Ultimately, he spent six months traveling the countryside, helping in the effort to rebuild post- occupation Japan. “That mission gave my dad the opportunity to study firsthand the


PHOTOS: THIS SPREAD, TOP, COURTESY JOHN LAFOY; FACING PAGE, USMC


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