Last year, the 1960 M.B.A. graduate decided to convert part of his four-acre homestead into a four-hole golf course. And it was no small feat. His home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., just north of San Diego, was built in the middle of a large orange grove, and creating the course required the removal of more than 300 orange trees, most of which were at least 40 years old and still being harvested.
Tons of rocks were removed and replaced with magnolia trees, waterfalls, ponds and sand traps. He constructed four target greens and nine tee boxes, giving the course 36 different hole options. The longest hole is just 132 yards to an elevated green, meaning pitching wedges are the club of choice. Still, Goldsmith, an engineer and retired chairman of Rohr Industries, knew that even the simplest shots can sometimes go astray. So he situated the course so wayward shots don’t head toward the neighbor’s yard but toward his own house.
“I haven’t broken any windows yet,” he says, “but I’ve hit the roof a few times.”