Summer 2019

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F or more than 50 years, Robert Trent Jones Jr. has ventured around the world – from his modest base in Palo Alto to Russia, China, Japan and now Vietnam and Argentina to build golf courses. But when talking about golf design, don't expect the soon to be octogenar- ian (July 24) to dwell on greens, fair- ways and bunkers. He would rather talk about the poetry, the art and the opportunities of golf for the best of players and the next generation of youngsters who will take up the game. Wait, what? Poetry. Yes, the rhythms, rhymes, simplicity of work- ing with the terrain and beauty that already exists when Jones and his 10-person firm take on projects. "I believe in creating beautiful poetry, where you actually engage," Jones says. "You walk into Monet's garden, not just look at it." Jones excelled as a golfer in his youth growing up in New Jersey, and played in college at Yale University. When he graduated, his mother told him it was time to get a real job and that since he talked a lot, he should be a lawyer. Off he went to Stanford Law School for one year until his father, famed architect Robert Trent Jones, made him an offer he couldn't refuse – to set up a West Coast office in Palo Alto and join the family business. "He said, 'Your job is to find the business,'" Jones says. He did just that and along with wife Claiborne have remained devout West Coasters ever since. Jones' "gardens" now number more than 240, includ- ing the putting green on the south lawn of the White House, since he got his start more than 50 years ago work- ing with his father on Spyglass Hill. Meanwhile, Jones' brother, Rees, remained in New Jersey, creating his own legacy in golf design. In 1972, Bobby left his father's firm and set out on his own by founding Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects. Jones' son, Trent, works in the Palo Alto office as chief operating officer, with Bruce Charlton (above right), president and chief design officer, and Michael Gorman, proj- ect architect. Other disciples that have set up their own shops in North- ern California include Don Knott and Gary Linn and Jay Blasi, and noted course architects Kyle Phillips and Ron Fream have long been headquartered here. (Architect Brian Curley is a Bay Area native but works primarily in Asia and operates the U.S. business of Cur- ley & Schmidt from Scottsdale, Ariz.) Staying on the West Coast posi- tioned Bobby for the Asia/Pacific region, where he has built and rebuilt 85 courses, including seven in China and 22 in Japan. Yet NCGA residents don't have to travel far to enjoy some of his finest works. Jones' genius dots most of Northern California from Spy- glass Hill, The Links at Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills (the home of the NCGA and host of the 2018 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship), Silverado Resort & Spa's South Course and CordeValle (site of the 2016 U.S. Women's Open). Jones, a member of the California Golf Hall of Fame who was inducted into the NCGA Golf Hall of Fame in 2015, ventured further north to Tacoma, Wash., to create Chambers Bay, the venue of the 2015 U.S. Open. And he shows no signs of slowing down, venturing south to the Sea of Cortez to create the golf club at the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. This project, Jones says, is more in tune with families, featuring a gigantic practice green where kids and parents (grandparents, too) can chip and putt, then have ice cream. It's the "ice cream social of golf," he quipped. Leaving an Imprint on the Globe and the Global Game By Alex Hulanicki THE ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones Jr. 36 SUMMER 2019 | NCGA.ORG

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