Ris­ing above par for the course, both in golf and in the work­place

The Herald - - OPINION -

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.

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