DRIVING THE GREEN: The Making of a Golf Course by John Strawn (HarperCollins: $25; 348 pp.). Alan Sher, New York's retired multimillionaire "button king," had a dream: to build an exclusive golf course in West Palm Beach, Fla. "Driving the Green" chronicles "Ironhorse's" rocky, long-delayed birth. This is the first book by John Strawn, a former professor at Reed College who also spent a decade in the construction business. He writes with assurance, and captures with flair both the creation of the course and the people who made it happen. Readers get crash courses in real estate, government, drainage, landscape architecture and (naturally) grass, but Strawn excels at describing the difficult interactions, and interdependencies, among practitioners in these fields. It's unusual, and a pleasure, to find a book in which the teen-age Guatemalan sod-layer is treated with the same respect as the Harvard-educated developer.