Sherman says, "We hear that a lot." He punches up some numbers on his pocket calculator, telling Howard they can save about $30,000 by deducting 100,000 square feet of sod from the 800,000 square feet budgeted. They can save another $14,000 by eliminating the coquina cart paths between greens and tees. Similarly, they can narrow the concrete road to the maintenance facility from 12 to 10 feet. "You won't be able to pass on the road," Sherman says, "but that saves you another $7,000."
Then Weed comes through, saying he sees no need to spend the $55,000 budgeted for off-site soil to be used as course fill. "We'll find it," he says. "There's dirt here." Smiling, he adds, "Look what we're doing for you guys."
Howard is now scribbling merrily, drawing lines through old numbers and substituting figures he can live with. "We've gone down 167," he says—meaning 167 thousand—"but we've added 50, so we've really cut 117, which is just under $4 million." He smiles. "I want three as the first number," he says. "If the rest of it is nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine, that's fine, but I need the three."
A few small cuts later, the surgeons call it an afternoon. Next to Total Project Cost, Howard writes in $3,982,991. He then slaps his pen on the table and leans back in his chair. He has a budget. Like the course itself, it looks good on paper.