Golf Designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.

March 20, 2007

Robert (“Bobby”) Trent Jones Jr., eldest son of architect legend Robert Trent Jones, is a whirling dervish of ceaseless enthusiasm and imagination. He spends 250 days a year on the road, criss-crossing continents like most of us travel across town. He has yet to pass by a phone without stopping to make – or take – a call, and wherever he checks in for the night there’s a nine page fax waiting for him.

Along the way he has befriended presidents and prime ministers, represented the United States in various human rights organizations, championed the cause of environmentalism and public parks, and accumulated an impressive portfolio of golf designs in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. He has also authored “Golf By Design,” a lavishly illustrated popular book on architecture that serves as both an introduction to the subject and as an instructional aid for mapping out playing strategy.

Vital Stats

born: July 24, 1939
residence: Palo Alto, CA
education: Yale University
member, past president: American Society of Golf Course Architects

Bobby spent a decade working his father’s West Coast office, where he cut his teeth on such projects as Silverado-South in Northern California (1967), Eugene CC in Oregon (1968) and a 72-hole complex in Japan called Karuizawa Golf (1972). That year, he left his father’s company to start his own design shop and immediately began marking a mark across the Western frontier with a number of broad, expansive layouts with dramatic views of the land: Arrowhead (1974), Sheraton Steamboat Springs (1974) and Keystone Ranch (1980) in Colorado; Cochiti Lake (1980) in New Mexico; and Sunriver-North (Woodlands – 1982) in central Oregon.

In recent years, Bobby has assembled one of the most respected design operations in the business, with four full-time associates working with him: Bruce Charlton, Donald Knott, Gary Linn and Kyle Phillips. Together, they have developed a bold style of bunker patterns that unite classical themes of complex shape with modern concerns for visibility and maintenance.

Under Bobby’s direction the team has also cultivated a sophisticated sense of place so that each golf course incorporates visual, agronomic, and cultural themes from the immediate site, whether a farm look, such as at University Ridge (1991) in Wisconsin; native dunes grasses and contours, as at the Links at Spanish Bay (1987) in California or The National (1988) below Melbourne, Australia; highlighting a massive mine pit, as with The Mines (1994) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or Joondalup (1985) in Western Australia; carving holes through Hawaiin lava fields at Waikoloa Beach (1981); or going what Bobby calls ‘deep into the third dimension” of a sheer mountain site, as at Sugarloaf GC (1986) in northern Maine.

Robert Trent Jones. Jr. has also contributed to public golf through a number of popular – and reasonably priced – daily-fee facilities, including Poppy Hills (1986) on the Monterey Peninsula, Edinburgh USA GC (1987) outside Minneapolis, and The Orchards (1993) north of Detroit. Most recently, he has opened a public course he designed, built and owns – Eagle Point GC (1995) just north of Medford, Oregon, on the western slope of the Cascade Mountains.

Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s best:

Chenal, Little Rock, AK (1990)
Eagle Point, Eagle Point, OR (1995)
Golden Valley, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan (1987)
Granite Bay, Granite Bay, CA (1995)
Joondalup, Western Australia (1985)
Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, CA (1987)
Orchards, Washington, MI (1993)
Prince, Kauai, HI (1990)
Raven at Sabino Springs,Tucson, AZ (1995)
Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley, ME (1986)
University Ridge, Verona, WI (1991)
Waikoloa Beach, Mamuela, HI (1981)
Windsor Polo Club, Vero Beach FL (1990)