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Jones Family Legacy

Family and Education

Robert Trent Jones Jr.

The Jones family of golf course architects should not be confused with that of golfing great Bobby Jones. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (RTJ2)  was born, July 1939 in Montclair, New Jersey and is the son of renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. His brother, Rees Jones is also an internationally recognized golf architect with his own firm, Rees Jones Inc. RTJ2 was introduced to golf course design early on in life and he was well educated in his youth. He attended Yale University as an undergraduate before furthering his education as a graduate at Stanford University. RTJ2 credits his critical thinking ability to his time spent at Yale. Having this ability became more necessary as his career developed, with unique and diverse landscapes being a feature of many courses he has designed.

The Family Business

RTJ2 joined his father’s golf course architects firm immediately upon graduating college and became the Vice-President by 1962. He holds high praise for his father not only as a parent but his mentor in the industry. RTJ2 finally branched out to form his own firm in the early 1970’s in Palo Alto, California. Throughout his career of more than five decades he has designed over 250 courses across six continents in 40 different countries. Surprisingly he does not have any course ranked inside the world top 100, but few golf course architects have traveled and left a more indelible footprint in golf course design.

RTJ2 Design Philosophies

Sustainability Strategy

RTJ2 is considered one of the original ‘green age’ golf course architects and has a number of principles and philosophies. Golf courses should be site specific working with the land, not against it because mother nature should form the landscape for the golf course and be environmentally sensitive to the area. RTJ2 tries to incorporate a plan with remediated long term environmental degradation in mind, over time repairing and improving the environment a course lies on. This is such a part of RTJ2’s design philosophy they have 22 courses recognized with the prestigious Aubudon International “Certified Sanctuary” seal of approval.

Golf course architects are always trying to find ways to increase golf course sustainability.

“The environment issue isn’t new. As early as the 1970’s, we were introducing fresh ideas for integrating golf with coastal wetlands and other sensitive environments, and enhancing habitats while creating playable golf courses rich with strategic variety” – Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Photo Credit: Gary Lisbon Golf

Design Strategy

One of the standards of his designs is the desire to provide alternate lines of play. This strategy by golf course architects tempts the golfer into a shorter route into the green usually coming with an element of risk. Using a short par 4 for example. A large area would be provided in a less direct line to the hole but offering the easiest option for hitting the fairway and setting up the approach to the green. The direct line to the green would have a significant forced carry and trouble on multiple sides, a missed shot is likely to result in a difficult recovery though from a shorter distance. A good tee shot can result in an eagle opportunity with the green designed to hold shots from this direction. These holes were where RTJ2 aimed to create ‘heroic holes’.

Golf course architects are always trying to challenge the golf from start to finish.

“To me, heroic holes involve a quest on which you never give up. You may back paddle and regroup, and create new strategies but you’re always searching” – Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Globally Recognized Designs

Worldwide Golf Courses

Bro Hoff Slot Golf Club, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Bro Hof Slott Golf Club – Stadium Course, North-west Stockholm, Sweden – #1 in Sweden, #17 in Europe.
  2. The Scandinavian Golf Club, Farum, Denmark – #1 in Denmark, #30 in Europe.
  3. Ta Shee Golf & Country Club, Tao Yuan, Taiwan – #1 Taiwan, #75 Asia
  4. Sta. Elena Golf & Country Club, Laguna, Philippines – #2 Philippines, #54 Asia
  5. Hoiana Shores Golf Club, Quang Nam,Vietnam – #2 Vietnam, #12 Asia
  6. The Bay Course at Costa Navarino, Messinia, Greece – #2 Greece
  7. The Mines Resort & Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – #3 Malaysia, #68 Asia

United States

  1. Chambers Bay Golf Course, University Place, Washington
  2. Southern Highlands Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, California


  1. http://www.rtj2.com
  2. http://www.wikipedia.org
  3. http://www.top100golfcourses.com
  4. http://www.theaposition.com (Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and the Edges of Doom – Jeff Wallach)
  5. https://www.instagram.com/garylisbongolf/?hl=en

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Written by
Brad Smith
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Avatar photo Written by Brad Smith