Gixer Stories

Solution Architect Turns Into Mini Golf Architect

Gixer Stories

CoStrategix is proud of its learning culture and encourages Gixers (CoStrateGIX employees) to “boldly take on new challenges daily with an unrelenting will.” As a Solution Architect, I can attest to how seriously CoStrategix takes its core value of keeping the pursuit of learning alive. In an industry where technology is evolving exponentially, it seems that I’m constantly having to learn a new tool, framework, language, industry… you name it.


Recently, I joined forces with my colleague, Greg Fritz, to take on an unusual project for CoStrategix: building a mini golf course at our office for Wellness Month. We wanted to have a Mini Golf Tournament, among other fitness challenges and wellness activities during the month.

I relished this challenge because I love golf and spend a good deal of my free time at the golf course. While working on this project, I was surprised by how many parallels there are between being a solution architect and a “mini golf course architect.” Here are a few:

1. Focus on the End Goal

When I kick off a new technology project, I always start by focusing on the end goal – the desired outcome. I try to understand what the client is trying to achieve, not just what they’re asking for at the moment, because those may be different. Often the request goes something like this… “Our process is slowing us down, we need something better.”

The same was true when we sat down to design the office mini golf course. My colleague and I were asked to create a course that would run on the carpet in the aisles between the desks in the office. As awesome fun as that would have been, it wouldn’t work for our needs because we needed a space that could be used throughout the entire period of Wellness Month. Obviously, it’s hard to focus on work with a foursome playing through your workspace! So we decided to leverage the unused office/storage space away from the work areas to be less distracting and so the course could remain in place indefinitely.

2. Survey Your Available Resources

A resources survey, or “Discovery” as it’s often called, is when we take a look at the resources we have to work with. What are the tools, functions, and systems available? Which should be replaced? Which can be repurposed? What might we have to buy? What might we need to build instead?

The same was true when we went to build the office mini golf course. First, we needed to clear the unused office space of all of the junk that had accumulated. Then we set about identifying what materials could be repurposed, and what materials we needed to purchase. It turned out that we used a lot of the “junk” as obstacles for our course. But several parts we needed to buy, and a few others required minor at-home “construction.”

3. Understand the Requirements

When we work with clients, a large portion of the work is determining the business requirements. What must the solution do? What features or functions are of primary vs. secondary importance? As a Solution Architect, I often work with Business Analysts and also employ my own previous experience to suggest behaviors and functionality that will work given the resources available.

Likewise, I was able to use my experience in golf to design a challenging yet fun mini-golf course. We had to design within existing constraints, including the fixed size of the room and the resources available – namely leftover construction materials, spare parts, old furniture, and a few new parts from Home Depot.

4. Be Creative and Elegant

When constructing the final product, no one wants a hack job thrown together shoddily. At CoStrategix, we pride ourselves on delivering excellence. With the office mini golf, we designed a clever course with flourishes and surprises that delighted our colleagues. Our Gixer Open Putt-Putt Course is unique (Gixers is what we call employees at CoStrateGIX). It is a 10-hole course at the “Carver Woods Country Club” (aka the back room of our office on Carver Woods Dr.). Among others, our office mini golf holes include:

  • “Firewall” hole
  • Functioning windmill
  • “Mousetrap” hole
  • Gopher hole (we hired the gopher from Caddyshack)
  • Floating island hole

The course was a huge success, and I’m happy with the outcome. Everyone at CoStrategix loved the layout and the “themes” for each hole. It’s a great way to step away for 10-15 minutes for a break, or just play a few rounds with colleagues after hours.

I invite any of our friends and clients to give me a call if you are interested in trying out the course!


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