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The Grandest Designer
June 26, 2000
Robert Trent Jones Sr., who died on June 14 at age 93, was one of the most prolific golf course architects in the history of the game. He designed and rebuilt more than 500 courses in 45 slates and 29 countries, and was the father of the so-called heroic school of course architecture. Here are some highlights from his career, which spanned seven decades.
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June 26, 2000

The Grandest Designer

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Robert Trent Jones Sr., who died on June 14 at age 93, was one of the most prolific golf course architects in the history of the game. He designed and rebuilt more than 500 courses in 45 slates and 29 countries, and was the father of the so-called heroic school of course architecture. Here are some highlights from his career, which spanned seven decades.

1926
As a student at Cornell, he puts together a curriculum that becomes the standard for course designers—landscape architecture, agronomy, horticulture, surveying-and hydraulics.

1948
In building the Dunes Course in Myrtle Beach, S.C., he combines large-scale fairways and greens with multiple hazards, encouraging a high ratio of risk-reward shots. This style of design comes to be known as heroic architecture. The 13th at the Dunes—a long par-5 along a crescent-shaped water hazard—is a Jones classic.

1950
He dams Rae's Creek at Augusta National, transforming numbers 11 and 16 into dramatic water holes.

1951
Jones's renovation of Oakland Hills for the U.S. Open defines the modern major championship venue. He moves outmoded bunkers into landing areas and increases the severity of the greens. Golfers must play a longer, more aerial game.

1951
A profile of Jones, written by Herbert Warren Wind in The New Yorker, characterizes a course architect for the first time as a highly trained creative force in the game.

1952
Under fire for the changes he had made to the par-3 4th at Baltusrol, Jones aces the hole during a round with members and quips, "I think the hole is eminently fair."

1964
Mauna Kea in Kohala Coast was the first of the great Hawaiian resort courses. Built on "the most challenging terrain" Jones ever saw, Mauna Kea is among the world's finest tropical courses.

1966
He completes his masterpiece, Spyglass Hill on California's Monterey Peninsula. The first five holes are among the finest ever built on dunesland.

1985
Ballybunion New, on undulating Irish linksland, is called too extreme. Jones's most generous critics call it a magnificent failure.

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