Hole #18: In the Style of Robert Trent Jones (1906-2000)
Perhaps the most influential course architect in the history of golf, Robert Trent Jones was the first to tailor his university studies for the express purpose of becoming a golf architect. After graduating from Cornell in New York, he served as Stanley Thompson’s American partner. He cultivated friendships with movers and shakers that advanced his career. For example, he became friends with his namesake, the great amateur golfer Bobby Jones, then later designed Peachtree in Atlanta and remodeled Augusta National with him. In 1951, Jones’ remodeling of Oakland Hills into a monster for the U.S. Open brought him notoriety as the “Open Doctor.” He specialized in tough championship courses, like Firestone in Akron, Bellerive in St. Louis, Spyglass Hill in California, Hazeltine National in Minneapolis, and Congressional near Washington, D.C. He also did beautiful courses in exotic locales, like Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, and Valderrama in Spain. All featured a standard formula of long tees, enormous greens and heavy use of bunkers and water hazards. Robert Trent Jones courses didn’t reward just strategic, but also heroic play. His credo was that each hole should be a, “hard par, easy bogey.”
Our 18th is pure Robert Trent Jones, from tee to green. The 80-yard-long runway tee was his specialty, built for ease of maintenance with ultimate flexibility. The fairway is pinched to a width of just 25 yards by sets of Trent Jones bunkers left and right. More elaborate splashes of sand guard three sides of the green, which is the largest one on the course. Being on in two is no guarantee and with several slopes, it can be a hard par, easy bogey. Robert Trent Jones designed courses in this recognizable style for over 60 years.