Forrest Richardson Remembers Grant Spaeth

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Forrest Richardson (pictured far-right above) is the architect for the Baylands Golf Links renovation and a good friend of TFTSV. Here’s one of his memories of Grant Spaeth, who was one of TFTSV’s original Board Directors and a former USGA President.

Grant was a gentleman, and also fun to be with. About 25 years ago he was consulting with a Japanese owner who had acquired Scottsdale Country Club (now known as Starfire). The owner, Mr. Oto, had arrived from Japan via Los Angeles and came late to the course. He apparently did not get any sleep on the flights. I had never met Mr. Oto, who stood all of 4-ft., 10-in. Mr. Oto spoke no English, at least that I could tell. Grant, being kind and wanting me to get to know Mr. Oto, suggested that I take Mr. Oto in my golf cart.

This is where it got funny.

Every so often Mr. Oto would exclaim something, point, etc.  I would stop and Grant — bless him — would do his best to translate. All to no avail. It was hopeless, yet we continued on. At one hole we got out and I pointed to a bunker and made a gesture across my throat — as if we were going to kill it. Mr. Oto was very pleased at this and nodded that, he too, liked getting rid of the bunker. So off we went.

Then it happened. I swung to the left to meet up with a cart path and Mr. Oto — who had fallen fast asleep unbeknownst to me — started to fall out of the cart … while yelling some profanities in Japanese. Fortunately I caught Mr. Oto by the arm just as he was falling backwards over the short cart armrest. When we stopped, I could tell he literally had no clue where he was — or who I was.

Grant was laughing his head off. Soon we were all laughing as Grant made his way to Mr. Oto, who by this time was wide awake. It took four more holes before Grant stopped laughing, but he never let Mr. Oto see him!

Later, Grant gave me some sage advice — “Forrest, it’s never a good plan to kill the owner, especially before he pays the bill…remember that.”