Rising above par for the course, both in golf and in the workplace
I WAS saddened to read of the death of Andrew Currie (Herald Obituary, November 12). I was one of many put through the Currie guide to management when I arrived at the Invergordon smelter in September, 1970, from Ravenscraig steelworks. As with most of the new recruits we shared digs in and around Invergordon and just a few nights in I was summoned after the evening mealwitharaponmydoorandthe instruction: “Come on Adams, we’re going to play golf.” “I’ve got no clubs,” I responded. “Borrow Duncanson’s” was the yelled reply. Fortunately, Duncanson (John) was amenable to this arrangement and 20 minutes later I was on the first tee at Tain in the gathering gloom of a mild September evening.
Not being a regular player, I was concerned that I would be a disappointing partner for Andy (as most of us knew him) but his first shot put me at ease as it roared off at right angles to the direction we were to take.
Unconcerned, he placed another ball on the tee, hit it roughly 50 yards down the fairway, picked up his tee and muttered: “One.” As the evening progressed, I learned that any shot which went anywhere other than where he had intended it to go could be discounted. Sportingly, he allowed me the same leeway. It was the first and only time I parred the Tain Golf Course.
As the gloom closed in, we could hardly see the ball after we hit it and had to listen carefully for it to land before taking off in that direction. As my boss said the following day when I told him of my experience: “Knowing Andy, it would never go out of ear-shot.”
In the lecture room, Andy was magnificent. One of his key strategies to good working practices was to make sure you had the right man for the job. “If the task requires a six-foot dark haired Adonis who is a virtuoso violinist, then don’t employ a red-headed midget whose party piece is Coming Round the Mountains on a kazoo.” Another key to good management was good communication. There should always be a reason that something had to be done in a certain way, not simply because the gaffer wanted it that way. The training sessions were instructive, insightful and always good fun.
We all learned a lot under Andy’s tutelage. It wasn’t his fault that the smelter did not survive beyond its first 10 years. David Adams, 82 Kingfisher Drive, Glasgow.