Oct 13, 1946
Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
Apr 16, 2017


When Robert Trent Jones, the famed "Open Doctor," didn't get the job to update The Country Club for the 1988 U.S. Open, he didn't feel too bad about being passed over.

The assignment went to the younger of his two course-designing sons, Rees Jones.

And with that, a new "Open Doctor" was blessed.

Three decades later, Rees Jones has seven U.S. Open, eight PGA Championship and five Ryder Cup courses on his redesign resume, along with more than 150 other projects.

While Rees Jones won't match the sheer volume of courses produced by his father (500 plus) or by older brother, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (300 plus), he has carved an impressive niche in the business by specializing in renovations and designing high-end resort and private courses, largely on the east coast.

Evidence of this is provided at Nantucket Golf Club in Massachusetts, Baker Hill in New Hampshire, Florida gems RedStick Golf Club and Waldorf Astoria Club, North Carolina resort standouts Pinhurst No. 7 and the Currituck Club; South Carolina coastal courses Haig Point, Arcadian Shores, and Briar's Creek; and a pair in the ritzy Hamptons of New York, Atlantic Golf Club and The Bridge.

While his father and brother often created their courses with deception in mind, Rees Jones' stock in trade is "definition." By raising and re-positioning tees and using mounds and bunkers, Jones' goal is to give the player a precise view of the shot at hand.

The best example might be his work at Hazeltine National, a course designed by his father, that met with tepid reviews when it hosted the 1970 U.S. Open. When the Open returned to the Minnesota course in 1991, and after renovation by Rees Jones, Hazeltine received rave reviews.

As the "Open Doctor," charged with toughening up some of America's greatest courses, however, Jones' work has often been the subject of criticism from the world's best players.

But considering his golf-design pedigree, his Yale and Harvard education, and his long resume of quality work, Jones has had ample reason to shrug off the barbs.

"When they do criticize me, I take it as a compliment," Jones said. "It lets me know we've gotten into their heads."

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