Who's who: Robert Trent Jones Sr

  • Photo of Robert Trent Jones Sr
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  • Photo of Robert Trent Jones Sr
  • england.png
  • usa.png

Who's who: Robert Trent Jones Sr

  • Name:

    Robert Trent Jones Sr.
  • Country:

  • Lived:

    [1906-2000]. Born on June 20, 1906 in Ince-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, Lancashire, England. Died on June 14, 2000 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, aged 93.
  • Original/Home Club:

    Rochester CC, NY (as a caddy) / Sodus Bay Heights GC (as their first club pro).
  • Occupation:

    Golf course architect
  • Turned Pro:

Roll of Honour

World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 1987). Donald Ross Award (1976, ASGCA). Old Tom Morris Award (1987, GCSAA). Don A. Rossi Award (1992, GCBAA). Founding member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) (1947); President of the ASGCA (1950-51).

Golf course design

Together with their respective families, Robert Trent Jones, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus represent the most influential and prolific golf course architects of the modern age. They advanced and built on the legacy of earlier golf course designers like Old Tom Morris, Charles Blair Macdonald, Donald Ross, Harry Colt, Alister MacKenzie and Albert Tillinghast. Robert Trent Jones designed (or redesigned) over 500 golf courses, both in the US and internationally. His best known work includes, but is not limited to:

Aronimink, PA (1985, modifications) / Arrowhead, CO (1972, with son Robert Jr) / Atlanta Athletic Club, GA (1964, back-nine of Highlands course) / Baltusrol, NJ (1948, modifications to Lower course) / Bellrive CC, MO (1960) / Boyne Highlands, MI (1966, Heather course) / The Broadmoor, CO (1964, redesign of East & West courses) / Cacapon, WV (1974) / California GC, CA (1965, modifications) / Cambrian Ridge, AL (1992, RTJ Trail) / Capitol Hill, AL (1992, Judge, Legislator & Senator courses, RTJ Trail) / Celebration, FL (1996, with son Robert Jr) / Colgate Univ, NY (1957, Seven Oaks course) / Congressional, MD (1957, redesign of Blue course) / CC of Detroit, MI (1952, redesign) / Duke Univ, NC (1957) / The Dunes G&BC, SC (1948) / Eugene CC, OR (1967, modifications) / Firestone CC, OH (1960, redesign of South course; 1969, design of North course) / Fox Hollow, FL (1994) / Glen Oak, NY (1969) / Golden Horseshoe, VA (1963, Gold course) / Grand Natl, AL (1992, Lake & Links courses, RTJ Trail) / Greenville CC, SC (1970, Chanticleer course) / Hampton Cove, AL (1992, River & Highlands courses, RTJ Trail) / Hazeltine Natl, MN (1962) / Highland Oaks, AL (1992, RTJ Trail) / The Homestead, VA (1961, renovation of Cascades course; 1963, Lower Cascades course, now closed) / Hominy Hill, NJ (1964) / House on the Rock, WI (1971) / Horseshoe Bay, TX (1971, Slick Rock; 1981, Ram Rock; 1986, Apple Rock) / Incline Village, NV (1964, Championship course) / Inverrary, FL (1971, East course) / Kaanapali, HI (1962, Royal course) / LakeRidge, NV (1969) / Lely Resort, FL (1990, Flamingo Island course) / Lodge of Four Seasons, MO (1973, Cove course) / Lyman Orchards, CT (1969, Jones course) / Magnolia Grove, AL (1992, Crossings & Falls courses, RTJ Trail) / Malone, NY (1987, West course, and back-nine of East course) / Mauna Kea, HI (1964) / MetroWest, FL (1987) / Milwaukee CC, WI (1974, modifications) / Montauk Downs, NY (1968, redesign) / Oakcreek, AZ (1967, with son Robert Jr) / Oakland Hills, MI (modifications to North course) / Oakmont, PA (1961, modifications) / Ocean Pines, MD (1971) / Oglebay, WV (1970, Speidel course) / Old Warson, MO (1955) / Olympic Club, CA (1953, modifications to Lake course) / Otter Creek, IN (1964) / Oxmoor Valley, AL (1992, Ridge & Valley courses, RTJ Trail) / Palmetto Dunes, SC (1969, Trent Jones course) / Peachtree, GA (1947, with founder Bobby Jones) / Ponte Vedra Inn, FL (1947, redesign of Ocean course; 1961, first nine holes of Lagoon course) / Portland GC, OR (1950, redesign) / Portsmouth CC, NH (1956) / Quaker Ridge, NY (1965, improvements) / Rancho California, CA (1970) / Rio Rico, AZ (1975) / Robert Trent Jones GC, VA (1991) / Silver Lakes, AL (1992, RTJ Trail) / Silverado, CA (1966, modifications to existing North course, and design of new South course) / Spyglass Hill, CA (1966) / Sugarbush, VT (1962) / Sun Valley, ID (1974, with son Robert Jr) / Tanglewood, NC (1957 & 1959, Championship & Reynolds courses) / Treetops, MI (1986, Jones course) / Turnberry Isle, FL (1971, Miller & Soffer courses) / Univ of Georgia, GA (1968) / Wigwam, AZ (1961, Patriot/Blue course; 1964, Gold course) / Wilmington CC, DE (1960, South course) / Winchester, CA (2000, with son Robert Jr).

Kananaskis, Alb. (1983, Mt Kidd & Mt Lorette courses) / London Hunt, Ont. (1959, with Robbie Robinson) / Rivershore, BC (1981).

GC Brasilia, Brazil (1960) / Carambola, St Croix USVI (1966) / Dorado Beach, PR (1958, East & West courses; 1971, Pineapple & Sugarcane courses) / El Rincón de Cajica, Colombia (1963) / Half Moon, Jamaica (1961) / Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda (1953, modifications) / Playa Dorada, Dom Rep (1976) / Playa Grande, Dom Rep (1997) / Port Royal, Bermuda (1970) / San Andrés, Colombia (1945, with Stanley Thompson & R.H. Russell) / Santo Domingo, Dom Rep (1947).

Adare Manor, Ire (1995) / Ballybunion, Ire (1984, Cashen course) / Celtic Manor, Wales (1995, Roman Road course) / Moor Allerton, Eng (1970).

Bondues, Fra (1967, Jones course) / Chamonix, Fra (1982) / Castelconturbia, Italy (1986) / Castelgandolfo, Italy (1988) / El Bosque, Spain (1972) / Esterel, Fra (1989) / Genève, Switz (1973) / La Grand Motte, Fra (1987) / Joyenval, Fra (1992) / Los Naranjos, Spain (1977) / Marbella G&CC, Spain (1994) / Mijas, Spain (1976 & 1984, Los Lagos & Los Olivos courses) / Moliets, Fra (1989) / Pevero, Sardinia (1972) / Quinta da Marinha, Port (1984) / Riviera de Barbossi, Fra (1991) / Royal Bercuit, Belg (1965) / Royal Las Brisas, Spain (1968) / Royal Park I Roveri, Italy (1971) / Royal Sotogrande, Spain (1964) / Royal Valderrama, Spain (1985) / Santo da Serra, Madeira (1991) / Sperone, Corsica (1990) / Troia, Port (1978) / Vidauban, Fra (1999, with son Robert Jr; course originally called Prince de Provence).

Grandee Nasushirakawa, Japan (1995) / Killarney CC, Joburg, RSA (1969) / Palais Royal, Morocco (1987) / PalmGolf Marrakech-Palmeraie, Morocco (1992) / Royal Dar Es Salam, Morocco (1972, Red, Blue & Green courses).

Did you know?

With a life that spanned almost the entirety of the 20th century, Robert Trent Jones became one of the greatest golf course designers in the history of the game. In the post-war period from 1945, he was regarded as the outstanding designer of his generation, and was fully occupied and revered as a course architect until his death in 2000. He designed or re-designed about 500 golf courses in at least 40 U.S. states and 35 countries around the world. It has oft been said that "the sun never sets on a Robert Trent Jones golf course."

Robert Jones was born near Wigan, Lancashire in England, the son of William Rees Jones (a railway wagon builder) and Jane Jones (née Southern), who were both from Lancashire. Young 5-year old Robert emigrated to the United States with his family in 1911. He was introduced to golf as a caddie at the Rochester CC, NY and developed his playing skills to become a club professional at Sodus Bay Heights GC. Ill-health precluded him from a tournament playing career, and Jones' interest subsequently moved to designing golf courses. He designed his own course of study at Cornell University, which included subjects such as landscape architecture, agronomy, horticulture, hydraulics, surveying, and economics. With an academic background to launch a career in golf course design and construction, he enjoyed a brief partnership with revered Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson, working on projects such as Capilano and Banff Springs. In the late 1930s he branched out on his own, and started designing local and municipal golf courses in the United States.

Shortly after World War II, Jones got his first big assignment designing the Peachtree GC in Atlanta in collaboration with golf legend Bobby Jones. Despite the similarity of their names, the two men were not related. In fact Robert Jones began using the middle name "Trent" shortly afterward to avoid confusion.

During the ensuing years, RTJ became a prolific designer, with his courses noted for their artistic landscaping, innovative use of bunkers, liberal use of water hazards and deft placement of greens and hazards. An example of the quality of his designs, his tenancity and sheer hard work is provided by the wonderful Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. At the request of Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Jones designed 378 golf holes spread across eight different locations in all parts of Alabama, with all the courses opening for play on the same day.

Jones' legacy lives on in his own work, and that of designers who worked most closely with him, not least his two sons Robert Trent Jones Jr and Rees Jones. Others who have been touched by his influence, working directly with him or his sons include: Bruce Charlton, Roger Rulewich, Kyle Phillips.

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