Chapter Twelve: The Sun Never Sets . . .
339 “branching out beyond the continental borders" RTJ, GMC, p. 92.
339 “our world-wide air system” Roger Lewis, Executive Vice President, Pan Am World Airways System, Chrysler Bldg., 135 East 42nd St., New York, NY, to RTJ Sr., 20 Vesey St. (“Penthouse”), New York, NY, 28 Apr. 1958, Pan Am Files, JP, CUA.
339 “gave Jones a special passenger status” In 1959 Trans World Airlines (TWA) gave Trent Jones free membership in its “TWA Ambassadors Club,” naming his as one of the “outstanding men who believe in the future of air travel.” A “world-famous club” whose membership was “by invitation only,” TWA gave Jones “full privileges,” including access to Club room facilities at all of the airports into which TWA flew. TWA flew into most US. cities and was one of America’s largest domestic airlines. TWA also had feeder operations from smaller cities in the Midwestern U.S. The airline also had a large European and Middle Eastern network, served from their man hub, the TWA Flight Center at Idlewild Airport in New New York City (which in 1963 became the John F. Kennedy International Airport. With such strong relationships with Pan and TWA, Trent Jones pretty much had his worldwide air travel covered. He developed similar favorable relationships with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Eastern Airlines. For his original privileges given by TWA, see Charles S. Thomas, Office of the President, Trans World Airlines, Inc., 380 Madison Ave., New York, NY, 6 June 1959, Trans World Airlines Files, JP, CUA.
340 “existing nine holes” RTJ, “Report on Possible Golf Course Sites in Puerto Rico,” 8 Mar. 1950, p. 1, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.
340 “the opportunity of visiting anywhere” ibid., p. 4.
340 “Clara Livingston herself” There is a nice documentary feature on Clara Livingston and her flying available on-line at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDl3QaF-XzE.
340 “inspire a pilgrimage of golfers” RTJ, “Report on Possible Golf Course Sites in Puerto Rico,” 8 Mar. 1950, pp. 4-5, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.
341 “family’s beachfront property west of San Juan” For several months, Laurance Rockefeller persisted in attaching Trent Jones’s proposal for a new golf course at Dorado to plans involving Berwind Country Club. On 4 January 1955 Rockefeller wrote a long, detailed letter to Jorge Ramirez de Arellano, Berwind’s president, in which he proposed “the construction of a championship golf course and other sports facilities at Dorado, in conjunction with a resort hotel,” which “might fit in with the long-range plans of the Berwind Country Club.” Asserting that such a development “would make a real contribution to Puerto Rico,” Rockefeller outlined six points for discussion with Ramires’s club:
1. I would propose to sell the Berwind Country Club enough land to construct an eighteen-hole, championship golf course and, in addition, the former Clara E. Livingston residence, at their cost to me which is approximately $75,000.
2. I would propose that an eighteen-hole championship golf course be built in accordance with plans of Mr. Robert Trent Jones, to be mutually agreed upon by the Berwind Club and me. Mr. Jones has just completed sketch plans of the proposed golf course which will be of interest to your membership. These plans will be forwarded to me shortly. It is estimated this course will cost $225,000, including Mr. Jones’ fee.
3. I would propose that the Livingston residence be used as the Berwind Club House and altered so as to provide locker space, a bar, dining patios, kitchens and staff quarters from plans to be mutually agreed upon. It is estimated that alterations to the residence will cost approximately $150,000. I make the suggestion to alter the existing Livingston house because it appears so much less expensive than building a new club house.
4. I would propose that a separate caddy house and pro shop be built at a cost estimated to be $25,000 from plans to be mutually agreed upon.
5. I would propose that two tennis courts be built at a cost estimated to be $25,000 from plans to be mutually agreed upon.
6. I would agree to finance the costs of items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 above through a ten-year mortgage loan to the Berwind Country Club, bearing interest as 3% with 3% annual mortization.
What Rockefeller offered was a loan not to exceed $500,000. If the project ended up costing more than that, the excess would have to be paid by Berwind. Laurence S. Rockefeller to Mr. Jorge Ramires de Arellano, President, Berwind Country Club, P.O. Box 888, Sann Juan, Puerto Rico, 4 Jan. 1955, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.
341 “start clearing the Dorado property” RTJ to O’Kelly and Mendez, P.O. Box 3586, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 26 Mar. 1955, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA. “Dorado lay on one of the most spectacular pieces of ocean beach in the Caribbean,” Trent Jones would later recall. “But we had to chop our way through a tropical jungle that was so thick we could only clear a few feet at a time” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 37). A month earlier Rockefeller had asked his friend Herman H. Goldstone, a New York City architect whose office was at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, to look carefully into the situation in Puerto Rico and to report back to him with what he found. Goldstone (the son of noted New York City Art Deco architect Lafayette A. Goldstone) went down to San Juan in February, looked around, asked a lot of questions, met with Trent Jones, and came to the conclusion that Rockefeller didn’t “need Berwind to make a success” out of Jones’s proposal. He should do the entire project himself. After all, Goldstone explained, San Juan’s Caribe Hilton Hotel Hotel Swimming and Tennis Club had “over 500 members paying $75.00 a year and the only ones benefitting from this are the tennis players. The rest of them pay that sum of money to get on the beach and they get no special privileges for it but must pay the same price for cabanas, drinks, and food as anyone else. Quite a few of them are rather disgusted at the treatment they are receiving and were arrangements to come along and satisfactorily managed, I don’t think you would have any difficulty in getting 100 or 200 members” for a golf club. Goldstone also told him, “I don’t believe there would be any difficulty in securing sufficient members to make the golf course a paying proposition within two or three years after its initiation. In talking to different members of Berwind and other people there is a universal opinion that there would be no difficulty in getting 100 members at $500 initiation fee as an immediate start” (ibid., p. 2). Jones had done his usual great sales job not just on Rockefeller but also on Goldstone. (For references to Jones’s early meetings with Laurence S. Rockefeller about Dorado, see RTJ to Carl D. Brunner, The Chase National Bank, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 17 Dec. 1954, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.) “Jones has given me concrete examples,” Goldstone reported to Rockefeller, “of the tremendous amount of money which can be made from guest privileges in Nassau [the Bahamas] and similar places which he feels are comparable to Dorado. By the time your hotel gets open, there is a possibility that San Juan will have 1,000 tourist rooms. If only 10% of the occupants play golf during the tourist season at $5.00 per round, you can easily see what your income would be, and I don’t think there is any doubt in the world that with proper advertisement of the course in the second year of operation with the hotel you would have a minimum of 100 guests there. The local people have overlooked the fact that Puerto Rico does not have an eighteen-hole golf course. This would give them one” (Laurence S. Rockefeller to Mr. Jorge Ramires de Arellano, President, Berwind Country Club, P.O. Box 888, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 4 Jan. 1955, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.)
In the late spring of 1955 Rockefeller bought the Livingston property. (Rockefeller met with Clara Livingston about the sale of her property during Ms. Livingston’s visit to New York City in early May 1955; see Harmon H. Goldstone, Architect, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, to RTJ, 29 Vesey St., New York, NY, 3 May 1955, in Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA. The sale of her property was not reached at this meeting. The exact date and details of the sale are not known to the author.) He withdrew his offer to Berwind Country Club and started making plans for what in 1958 became the Dorado Beach Hotel, where “less than 3 ½ hours by air from New York, under 2 ½ from Miami,” “miles of beaches and tropic beauty set this great resort apart,” with a climate “tempered the year ‘round by the steady breezes of the Trade Winds which cool in summer and warm in winter.” Brochure, n.d. [circa 1966], “Dorado Beach Hotel,” in Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA. Berwind Country Club subsequently added its second nine, designed by Alfred H. Tull. In 1966, Tull’s long-time assistant Frank Murray totally remodeled the Berwind golf course.
341 “forced to take it up the matter with Mr. Rockefeller” Allston Boyer, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, to RTJ, 20 Vesey St., New York, NY, 20 May 1955, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.
342 “a request that Rockefeller’s lawyer opposed” Allston Boyer, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, to RTJ, 20 Vesey St., New York, NY, 20 June 1955, Dorado Beach Files, JP, CUA.
342 “cunningly subtle” RTJ Sr., “Dorado,” in Will Grimsley, Golf: Its History, People & Events, “Special Section by Robert Trent Jones,” (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1966), p. 261.
342 “have played themselves out of tournaments” RTJ, “Dorado,” in Will Grimsley, Golf: Its History, People & Events, pp. 261-62.
343 “added 18 more holes to Dorado Beach” Following the redesign of the East Course at Dorado Beach by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 2011, the 13th hole, the signature hole, was renumbered as hole number four. \
344 “Chi-Chi” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, pp. 36-37 and 53. In the early 1970s Jones built two more 18-hole golf courses for the resort, creating what he called a “true golf Mecca.” Down the coastal road about a mile away from Dorado Beach right in the heart of the town of Dorado, Trent, with the help of Roger Rulewich, built two additional 18-hole layouts, originally called the “North” and “South” courses, which served Rockefeller’s new Cerromar Beach Hotel. Today, the two golf courses are played as part of Dorado Beach’s Plantation Club: the 7,030-yard “Pineapple” course and the 7,119-yard “Sugarcane” course. In 2002, the two courses were remodeled by “Signature Design Services,” led by architect Mark Hardy with the help of former PGA champion Raymond Floyd. Today, all four Dorado courses designed by Trent Jones are attached to the Ritz Carlton, which purchased the resort from Hyatt in 2012. A few years earlier the Cerromar Beach Hotel closed down, with Hyatt turning it into the Hyatt Hacienda Del Mar, a combination hotel and time-share.
Twice the World Cup Matches were played at Dorado Beach’s East Course, in 1961 (when the event was still called the Canada Cup) and again in 1994. Both times Trent was in attendance, and both times the U.S. came out on top over runner-up Australia (in 1961, Jimmy Demaret and Sam Snead came out on top over Kel Nagle and Peter Thompson, and, in 1994, Fred Couples and Davis Love III prevailed over Robert Allenby and Steve Elkington.) Today, both of Jones’s original eighteens at Dorado Beach are still ranked among Golfweek’s top courses in the Caribbean: the West Course at #45 and East Course at #50.
If Trent Jones were alive today, he would be chagrined to find his Caribbean courses so far down the Golfweek list. It might be especially vexing that the #1 ranked course is a Jack Nicklaus design: Cap Cana’s Punta Espada in the Dominican Republic, which was completed in 2008. Trent’s own Dominican course, Playa Grande (completed 1995), is currently being remodeled by son Rees Jones. Unfortunately, being located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Playa Grande (and the earlier Jones course there, Playa Dorada, completed 1975, are much less accessible than are the major resorts on the southeastern coast of the island, notably Punta Cana, which is serviced by a nearby international airport.
344 “honeymoon with Ione in Bermuda” The Joneses stayed for the honeymoon at the Belmont Manor Hotel in Hamilton; while there, Trent also enjoyed a round of golf at Belmont’s Devereux Emmett 18-hole golf course, completed in 1928. Following his visit, he tried to get Belmont’s management interested in letting him “make the Belmont one of the great courses of the island” (RTJ to Sir Howard Trott, Bermuda Hotels, Hamilton, Bermuda, to RTJ, 1 Aug. 1934, Bermuda Files, JP, CUA). Although interested in Jones’s proposal, Belmont was hurting from the Depression-era economy and did not have the money for a remodeling.)
344 “recommendations for updating Mid Ocean” During his long career Trent Jones got only two chances to remodel original designs by Charles Blair Macdonald. Both chances came in 1952 and involved the redesign of St. Louis Country Club and some remodeling of Mid Ocean, which had been purchased by a group of new owners interested in turning the course into an elite private club. The price for buying the golf course was a hefty 150,000 pounds—equivalent to $5.6 million in today’s dollars—but the investors thought they could come up with a little more money to make some needed improvements to the course. Pan Am president Juan Trippe, a New Jersey native who knew Jones’s reputation, asked him to take another look at Mid Ocean, this time with an eye for modernizing it. Jones jumped at the chance. For the privilege of working on a Macdonald course, especially in sunny Bermuda, he agreed to take a smaller fee than usual, $500 instead of $750, plus all expenses paid, for a brief inspection visit. The cost of bringing Ione along was also paid, and the Joneses flew the 700 miles from New York City to Bermuda on a Pan Am flight in a Convair 240 for what they regarded almost like a second honeymoon. Neither of them had ever forgotten the beauty of the island, a “uniquely picturesque dot” in a “ridiculously azure ocean,” not more than the “tip of a vast undersea mountain,” but “blessed most of the year with fine golfing weather” (Ken Bowden, “Bermuda Sans Bulldozer,” Golf Digest [Oct. 1970]).
Jones admired Macdonald’s Bermuda classic (Mid Ocean dated from 1914 and had been built with the assistance of Seth Raynor and Ralph Barton; on Barton, see C&W, AoG, p. 200), but that would not have stopped Trent from going even farther with the modernization of Mid Ocean than he ultimately did, if circumstances had allowed him. “I would like to have been able to give you something far more impressive,” he wrote the club’s manager, George E. Wardman in April 1953, “with much added length and real improvement of some of the weak holes. Unfortunately, your terrain and your property boundaries and the construction difficulties, not to mention the cost of construction made for serious limitations that are so confining that to make radical changes would have been impractical” (RTJ to George E. Wardman, The Mid Ocean Club, Tucker’s Town, Bermuda, 18 May 1953, Mid Ocean Club Files, JP, CUA. For the club’s response to Trent Jones’s remodeling plan for Mid Ocean, see George W. Wardman, The Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda, to RTJ, 20 Vesey St., New York, NY, 18 May 1953, Mid Ocean Club Files, JP, CUA). Jones had recommended adding forty new bunkers, with most of them, echoing his work at Oakland Hills, placed along the landing areas in the fairways. He had also recommended that the club relocate or significantly reconfigure a handful of its putting surfaces. In the end very little remodeling to the course was done with the exception of adding a couple bunkers and a few new tees to lengthen what was quite a short course, measuring only 6,228 yards. One of the tees that Jones added came at Mid Ocean’s famous “Cape” hole, which increased the length of the hole from 400 to 433 yards. (A “Cape hole,” almost always a par-4, features a water hazard down its entire length on one side only, a fairway that curves around that water to the green, but with less curvature than of a dogleg, thereby confronting the golfer with a risk-reward decision on whether to attempt cutting the corner of the water hazard where the fairway bends.) The Cape hole at Mid Ocean was “one of the world’s great golf holes,” Jones wrote in his inspection report, “and his only recommendation was that a “new alternate tee” be placed “in back of the existing 4th green, making one long level tee.” In Trent’s view, this “would make a great hole even greater” (RTJ, “Report for The Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda,” 13. 1953, pp. 3-4, Mid Ocean Club Files, JP, CUA).
Mid Ocean’s membership had made it clear to Jones that it did not want Trent to manhandle its classic Charles Blair Macdonald design. It specifically didn’t want the architect to rework its golf course the way Jones had just worked over Oakland Hills but rather to “retain as much as possible the character of the course as given to it by Mr. Macdonald and its dramatic feature of being as close as possible, at tee and green, by the ocean, and the small lakes that lit within its boundaries.” The club specified the following problems for Jones to address: (1) On some holes the walk that golfers’ had to make from green to the next tee required steep, tiring, and even dangerous climbs—dangerous especially when the grass was covered by dew or other moisture; (2) Everywhere on the course trees had fallen victim to blight, with virtually all of its cedar trees dead or dying, requiring a program of tree replanting; and (3) There was no automatic irrigation system, leaving areas of hard-pan turf on what were rather wide fairways and large burned-out splotches on the putting surfaces, meaning there was “no bite” to hold shots hit onto the green. Mid Ocean’s primary problem, however, was that it was too short for modern equipment. From the back tees, the layout only measured 6,228 yards. Holes number six through number eight were especially short: two par-4s of 322 and 332 yards (#6 and #8, respectively) and a par-3 of 133 yards (#7). Added to that, the fourth hole was another par-4 that played only 335 yards. Given the short yardages, the club simply did not possess what it wanted from Mid Ocean: “a championship links with all the length and difficulties required for major tournament play,” while still offering the club golfers and their guests “an attractive and not too demanding course, pleasant for the mediocre golfer” (George E. Wardman, The Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda, to RTJ, 20 Vesey St., New York, NY, 8 Nov. 1952, Mid Ocean Club Files, JP, CUA.)
In the coming decades, Jones would complete three other golf projects in Bermuda. In 1970, Roger Rulewich oversaw the design of the 18-hole Port Royal Golf Course(6,842 yards, par 71) in Southhampton Parish, on the western end of the island on the opposite side from Mid Ocean. Like the other courses in Bermuda, Port Royal was “a little too hilly to be a great layout,” but it had some wonderful holes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, especially the “short” 16th (it is hard to call it “short: when it is a par-3 that plays 235 yards from the back tee), where golfers hit across a steep cliff-side to a green perched high above the ocean on its own little peninsula. Jones considered the 16thone of the most spectacular holes in world golf—and in this case, he was not exaggerating. Starting in 2009, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which featured the winners of the four majors, was played at Port Royal, a course that underwent a major redesign by Roger Rulewich in 1994-95. Ten years earlier, in 1985, again with Rulewich at the helm, Jones created St. George’s Golf Club, a 4,043-yard par-62 executive course, on the far “East End” of the island. Although set in a beautiful location overlooking the ocean, St. George’s, a government-owned facility, would have a difficult time attracting enough business to stay open or, when open, to be in good playing condition.
In 1995, Roger Rulewich would return to Bermuda’s Port Royal Golf Course for a course redesign.
A course owned by the Bermuda government, St. George’s Golf Club was closed in July 2008 after it was projected to lose more than $600,000 for the year ending March 2009. According to newspaper reports, the government was still spending $150,000 to maintain the course more than a year after it had closed to the public. Pressure from the communities located on the far “East End” of Bermuda resulted in a temporary re-opening of the course in 2011, but with an emphasis on keepingoperating costs to a minimum; thus, the golf course was not in good playing condition (See Nadia Arandjelovic, “St. George’s golf course reopened to the public, The Royal Gazette, 7 June 2011, accessed on 14 Sept. 2012, at http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20110607/NEWS/706079974/0/news.). Currently, the golf course is closed. According to the president and CEO of Tthe St. George’s club, “It is such a travesty but I know Kenneth Bascombe, the former Mayor of St. George and now an MP [Member of Parliament] is trying to get the Government to re-open it as a nine-hole course.” Email, Sally-Ann Kyle, President and CEO, The St. George’s Club. 6 Rose Hill, St. George GE05, Bermuda, to author, 17 Sept. 2013.
A final word about Mid Ocean: the club has always had good reason to brag about its golf course. Yet its praise for Trent Jones’s remodeling work of 1953 reflects a basic misapprehension. On its website today, the club asserts: “In the 1950s leading golf designer Robert Trent Jones was invited to make suggestions for improving the course. Many of [Jones’s] new layouts and remodeling work . . . had been dominated by big, bold statements, yet his touch at Mid Ocean was light, subtle and restrained. Respecting the design of Macdonald, [Jones] reworked a number of tees and bunkers, enhancing a slightly ageing masterpiece rather than indulging in invasive surgery. The result is as good today as it was then, the course now measuring slightly longer and playable between 5,045 and 6512 yards” (The Mid Ocean Club, “Legacy,” accessed on 13 Sept. 2012, at http://www.themidoceanclubbermuda.com/Heritage.aspx. Truth was, however, as demonstrated in the detailed 12-page inspection report that Jones submitted to the club in April 1953, he was ready and eager to make much bolder changes to Mid Ocean if the club had given him the go-ahead, and the money, to follow through with them all. See RTJ, “Report for The Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda,” 13. 1953, pp. 3-4, Mid Ocean Club Files, JP, CUA. In 1987, John B. LaFoy, a Greenville, South Carolina-based golf architect who began his design career with George W. Cobb (and helped Cobb with the remodeling of Augusta National in 1977), did work at Mid Ocean but it was almost exclusively a tree-planting program designed to recover from the loss of thousands of trees from tornadoes that tore through that part of the island during hurricane season. LaFoy added no bunkers or tees to the course. (John LaFoy, Greenville, SC, to author, telephone conversation, 16 Sept. 2013.) Over the years since 1953, Mid Ocean added dozens of bunkers to the course, doing so in many cases in just those places that Jones had suggested to locate them in his 1953 inspection report.
344 “his involvement in the Cotton Bay Club” Eleuthera not only had a fascinating history dating back to a likely visit by Christopher Columbus prior to his arriving in the West Indies, it featured stunning topography: miles and miles of beaches with peach-colored sand, foamy combers breaking ceaselessly on the inky-blue Atlantic side, and ancient coral reefs. “Eleuthera” meant “freedom,” as Jones learned, a Greek name given to the island by its first European settlers—“puritan pilgrims”—who arrived in 1648 from Bermuda and who gave themselves the name the “Eleutherian Adventurers.” (For the history of Eleuthera Island, see Arnold Talbot Bethell, The Early Settlers of the Bahamas and Colonists of North America (London: Rounce and Wortley, 3rd Ed., 1937,” especially pp. 82-90.) Trent loved everything about the name, as he came to love the place itself, whose “astonishing beauty and restorative tranquility” attractedsuch prominent American industrialists as Arthur Vining Davis, Henry J. Kaiser, and Juan Trippe. (“The Fall and Rise of Golf in Eleuthera,” accessed on 19 Sept. 2013, at http://www.rightonpar.com/2012/02/27/fall-rise-golf-eleuthra/.) Jones’s hope was not simply to enjoy the company of such rich and powerful men, but to accumulate a comparable fortune and achieve the elevated social status that came with that sort of money. Where better to achieve that ambition than enchanting Eleuthera, the “Freedom Island”?
Jones first referred to the possibility of building a golf course on Eleuthera in a letter to George E. Wardman, Mid Ocean’s club manager, in June 1953, but the idea for an “Eleuthera development” had germinated sometime the year before.
The idea came from Arthur Vining Davis, the founder of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), who founded the Rock Sound Club in South Eleuthera in the town of Rock Sound, onthe Caribbean side of the island just south of Governor’s Harbor. While still presiding over Alcoa before his retirement from the company in 1957, Davis (83 years old in 1950 and 90 at the time of his retirement) invested a great deal of money in Florida, including Royal Palm in Boca Raton and Frenchman’s Creek in Jupiter, as well as the Bahamas. (He also purchased a great deal of land in Cuba, so much, in fact, that he was said to own one-quarter of the island before his property there was nationalized when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.) Arthur Vining Davis was a very rich man, leaving a $400 million estate when he died in 1962. He wanted to build a resort and golf course on Eleuthera and invited Trent Jones to come down to The Bahamas to talk about it in 1953. “I met him on the Island at his hotel, and we went to look over the land he had on the ocean about six miles away from his hotel, on the ocean side. It was a gorgeous site” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 38).
Jones wanted in on the deal, not just as the golf architect but as a part-owner of the Eleuthera Development, and Arthur Vining Davis agreed. It is not known if Jones invested funds directly, but by agreeing to design the course for no fee he was contributing an in-kind investment. “The site of this resort is spectacularly beautiful,” Jones wrote to another potential investor who was a member at Mid-Ocean, “and the golf course—when completed—should be one of the world’s best. The beaches are wonderful, and to top it off, the character of the land is very similar to that of Bermuda, with its rolling hills” (RTJ to George E. Wardman, Paget, Bermuda, 10 June 1953, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.) Jones and Davis together decided to call their golf course the Cotton Bay Club, named after the bay on the Atlantic side of the island (just opposite Rock Sound) where the property was located. It was an especially pleasant setting for a beach resort and golf course. The gently curving bay was “reef-protected so the warm and welcoming crystal clear water stayed calm most of the time and the powdery pink sand stayed relatively clean from the flotsam that can wash ashore along a lot of Atlantic beaches” (Brochure, “Guide to Eleuthera,” p. 13, accessed on 19 Sept. 2013, at http://home.comcast.net/~dougm1965/GuideToEleuthera-2008-12-15.pdf.)
345 “British House of Lords” RTJ to Gene Sarazen, Germantown, NY, 3 Dec. 1953, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.
345 “Ouimet also quickly wrote to Trent” RTJ to Francis Ouimet, 98 Arnold Road, Wellesley Hills, MA, 2 July 1954, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.
345 “very distinguished membership” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 38; RTJ to Clinton E. “Robbie” Robinson, 778 Eastbourne Ave., Manor Park, Ottawa, Ontario, 7 Feb. 1955, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA. This was the same Robinson that had worked together with Jones for Stanley Thompson back in the early 1930s. Here Jones was writing to learn whether Robinson had decided to accept the invitation to be a member of Cotton Bay Club.
“We are particularly interested in making this truly a dignified and outstanding club,” Trent wrote to Bobby Jones in February 1955, “and, if possible, building and keeping its character comparable to that which you have so well established at Augusta. We want to follow the pattern of an invited membership, and have our friends in each area choose or help us choose these members. In this way we feel that we can create a truly outstanding resort club, for which there seems to be great demand.” At this point in time, nine holes on the golf course were “practically finished” and construction of the first cottages for the resort were to be finished by the end of the year, with the rest of the eighteen done sometime in the spring of 1956. “We have been trying to hold down the interest in Eleuthera,” Trent informed his two golfing champion friends, “until the time we were ready, but now it seems to be getting out of bounds—people have heard about the Club and want to see the set-up.” (RTJ to Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., 1425 C&S Bldg., Atlanta, GA, 20 Sept. 1954; RTJ to Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., 1425 C&S Bldg., Atlanta, GA, 30 Sept. 1954; RTJ to Francis Ouimet, 98 Arnold Road, Wellesley Hills, MA, 14 Oct. 1954. All three letters are in the Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA. In the second of the two letters to Bobby Jones, Trent wrote to thank him for accepting the honorary membership. (RTJ to Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., 1425 C&S Bldg., Atlanta, GA, 1 Feb. 1955, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.) Inviting Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, the attractive 25-year-old sister of Queen Elizabeth II, to come to Eleuthera to hit the first shot on March 1, 1955, was a public relations coup. (RTJ to Francis Ouimet, 98 Arnold Road, Wellesley Hills, MA, 1 Feb. 1955, Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.)
The initiation fee was $4,500, roughly equivalent to $35,000 in today’s dollars.
345 “featured a match at Cotton Bay” Cotton Bay was a stunning golf course. Six of the holes played right along the ocean. Number Six was a spectacular 546-yard double-dogleg par-5 that played to a green on a small spit of land jutting right into Cotton Bay.It was followed by a brilliant 163-yard par 3, which played from a tee right at the tip of that spit to a green lying directly above the beach to the right. The back nine had an equally superb duo of holes, the 15th and 16th, a 201-yard par 3 that played down to the water and a 508-yard par-5 that wrapped around the coast reminiscent of the 18th at Pebble Beach, a course to which Trent Jones often compared to the Cotton Club. Ninety-nine bunkers accented Trent’s design with their striking flashes of white. The prevailing breezes added teeth to a long and demanding course. The ladies tees measured 5,793 yards; the regulation men’s tees 6,594; and the championship tees 7,068.
345 “government-favored Bahamian interests” The corporate entity that owned and administered the Cotton Bay Club and its golf course, South Eleuthera Properties, Ltd., did it best to hold on but, finding itself with no option, sold to a native Bahamian group. “Although it’s never over till it’s over,” asserted Dr. Henry A. Jordon, M.D., then the chairman of South Eleuthera Properties, in a progress report in January 1987, “the sale of the Cotton Bay will probably be finalized in the coming weeks. “I ask you again,” urged Dr. Jordan from his office in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, “to lend the new owners your support. It is certainly in all our best interests to help keep Cotton Bay a first class success.” (Henry A. Jordan, M.D., to Cotton Bay Homeowners and Board of Directors of South Eleuthera Properties, Ltd., “Subj:South Eleuthera Properties Progress Report,” 13 Jan. 1987. See also Langhorne B. Smith, Treasurer, to Principal U.S. Shareholfers of South Eleuthera Properties, Ltd., and the Bay Companies, 1 2 Dec. 1986. Both documents are found in the Cotton Bay Club Files, JP, CUA.)
That sale, however, was not finalized. Cotton Bay was not able to maintain itself even as second-class success and in 1994 shut down completely. What was an outstanding, world-class Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course joined the “notorious category of lost links” ( “The Fall and Rise of Golf in Eleuthera,” accessed on 19 Sept. 2013, at http://www.rightonpar.com/2012/02/27/fall-rise-golf-eleuthra/). In 1995 a Columbian billionaire, Luis Carolos Sarmiento, would buy the club from Eleuthera Properties, and had plans for a “significant development.” Unfortunately, the Bahamian government did not like Sarmiento’s plans and blocked their progress. Technically, the course stayed open, “but any halfway serious golfer would consider it wholly unplayable.”The course from 1995 to the present got “virtually no maintenance and it’s getting to be a stretch to even describe it honestly as a golf course. Few of the holes even have flagsticks anymore. Also, zero support facilities -- no carts, clubhouse, not even a scorecard and pencil” (Anonymous comment on tripadvisor.com in response to question, “Is Cotton Bay Golf Course Open?,” accessed on 19 Sept. 2013, at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147428-i1135-k5348584Is_Cotton_Bay_Golf_Course_Open-Eleuthera_Out_Islands_Bahamas.html).
It’s impossible to determine whether or not Jones lost money on his Eleuthera investment. In 1987 the total assets of South Eleuthera Properties Ltd. were $4.6 million; the company’s liabilities were the same amount. The proposed sale price in 1987 was $3.6 million. It seems that Sarmiento paid even less for the property when he bought it in 1995. Whether Jones held on to his shares in Eleuthera Properties Ltd. or sold them off in 1987 or at any time subsequently is unknown. No matter what sum Jones might have lost from his Eleuthera investment, what bothered Trent far more than losing any money was losing a prized golf course—one that Golf Magazine as late as 1989 called “one of the world’s top 33 courses.” (The quote from Golf Magazine in November 1989 was printed on the scorecard of the Cotton Bay Club.) Trent lived long enough to see the sad end of his “pride and joy” on Eleuthera. “The Governor of the Bahamas put an unfair, exorbitant tax on the land,” Jones recalled, “because he thought he could ‘soak the rich,’ and all the members abandoned their homes. The club is now desolate. I don’t know if the course is even playable today. It was a tough job to build because I had to bring in the heavy equipment from the States as they didn’t have much there. I was very sorry to learn about its demise because so much work went into making it such a beautiful course” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, pp. 38-39).
NOTE: In 2012 Columbian billionaire Luis Carlos Sarmiento reignited his ambitions to construct a new luxury resort at Cotton Bay, reportedly a $30 million project. Along with eventually rejuvenating the original Trent Jones golf course on Eleuthera, Sarmiento’s plan also includes the building of a brand new golf course at Jack’s Bay, just to the north of Cotton Bay. The designer of the new course is Jim Fazio. A golf writer who has seen Fazio’s layout calls it “a stunning layout with seven ocean front holes and inland holes that are high on dunes with vistas of the Atlantic.” The new Cotton Bay course “has subtle but distinct elevation changes and an imaginative sequence of pars.” At the end of 2012, the course was reportedly 90% shaped and contoured, but did not yet have an irrigation infrastructure or a single blade of grass. The golf course is on Jim Fazio’s website. Fazio’s course is discussed in “The Fall and Rise of Golf in Eleuthera,” accessed on 19 Sept. 2013, at http://www.rightonpar.com/2012/02/27/fall-rise-golf-eleuthra/. According to Franklyn Wilson, today’s chair of the extant Eleuthera Properties Ltd., “This will mean that Eleuthera will have the two best courses right next to each other—the two best in the Caribbean.” On Sarmiento, Franklin, and plans for a revitalized Cotton Bay Club, see Jeffrey Todd, “Banking mogul to build $30M resort on Eleuthera,” The Nassau Guardian, 8 May 2012, accessed on 25 Sept. 2013, at http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30757&Itemid=2.
Trent Jones came to own a small share, too, of the Half Moon Club at Montego Bay in Jamaica. In 1954 a small group of wealthy American investors came together with the aim of developing an exclusive vacation resort at a perfectly shaped crescent beach on the northwest coast of Jamaica, directly below Cuba. The money for the new resort, which the investors aptly named “Half Moon,” came primarily from Donald Deskey, designer of Radio CityMusic Hall; Harvey Firestone, Jr., of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company; Richard Reynolds of the Reynolds Metal Company and Jamaican bauxite company; oil and real-estate entrepreneur Curtis Steuart; and Mrs. Laurence Armour of the U.S. meat packaging giant Armour Packing Company. Within a year, the Half Moon Hotel & Cottage Colony opened with 17 whitewashed cottages overlooking Half Moon Bay and the construction of 30 beachfront homes well underway. Trent Jones was brought in to design an 18-hole golf course for the resort on a nearby tract of land, a project it took five years for Jones to complete. Typical of Jones courses of the era, the resulting Half Moon Bay golf course was an “enormous” layout: 7,130-yards long, par 72, with great undulating greens, demanding holes, challenging drives, and breathtaking vistas of the Caribbean Sea. (Ansil Chapin, “Carribean Golfing,” Travel [Nov. 1969]: 28-30.) “This course turned out to be a gorgeous creation in a very exotic setting on a beautiful island,” Trent would later boast. “When John F. Kennedy stayed at the Half Moon Hotel during the time he was running for President, I was introduced to him and his wife Jackie at the hotel. They arrived in their private plane. I had a few conversations with the future president and he told me about his campaign and the places he had visited on his campaign trail. The Half Moon Hotel was an elegant place, and the golf course I built complimented its elegance” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 43). Over the years at the resort, Jones had the opportunity to meet Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret but also such luminaries of the day as actress Joan Crawford and her husband Alfred Steel, the CEO of Pepsi-Cola; actor Clark Gable, and Prince Rainer of Monaco. Consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the Caribbean, Half Moon came to host a number of events including several Jamaica Open Golf Championships, European PGA Seniors Tournament, and Dunhill Cup Final of the Americas. Sometimes the golf course is referred to as the Half Moon Rose Hall Golf Course, “Rose Hall” being one of the great plantation mansions of the late 18th century, which is located just east of the resort. That name is confusing to many tourists to the island, however, because nearby Rose Hall has its own golf course, called White Witch, a devious little 5,893-yard, par-71 layout with even better views of the sea than at Jones’s Half Moon. (Opened in 2000, White Witch was designed in 200 by Robert von Hagge and his protégés Rick Baril and Mike Smelek.In 2005, Half Moon underwent a major remodeling in the hands of Roger Rulewich. The changes he brought to the course, while mindful to maintain the integrity of the original golf course, featured newly-aligned, multiple tee complexes as well as repositioned fairways and greenside bunkers.)
345 “took him to the Dominican Republic” The first assignment that Pan Am gave to Trent Jones as a paid consultant was to fly down to the Dominican Republic and make an assessment of the golf course at a Pan Am property called El Embajador, a luxury hotel on the eastern flank of “Ciudad Trujillo,” as Santo Domingo was called between 1936 and 1961, during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Jones wrote a detailed two-page report to Trippe making a number of suggestions for remodeling the golf course and proposing a new clubhouse. (RTJ to Mr. Juan Trippe, President, Pan American World Airways, Inc., 135 East 42nd St., New York, NY, Pan Am Files, JP, CUA.) Jones thought so little of the course that his primary recommendation to Trippe was that it might be better for the El Embajador to link up with the area’s only private club, the Santo Domingo Country Club. Trent was still consulting for the El Embajador golf course into early 1965 (remembering that Generalissimo Trujillo was assassinated in May 1961 and that President Lyndon B. Johnson sent U.S. Marines into the Dominican Republic in April 1965 ostensibly to stop a band of communists from taking over the country during its civil war), Jones’s primary concern involved the absence of a dependable water supply for irrigating the golf course. The El Embajador Golf Course no longer exists; however, the Santo Domingo Country Club, which dates back to 1920, credits Jones on its website for his work as a “design consultant.”
Jones would return to the Dominican Republic in the late 1970s and again in the early 1990s. (One of Jones Inc.’s construction superintendents, John Dellis, would marry a woman from the Dominican Republic who he met while working on Trent’s projects in the country. After Dellis left his job working mainly for Bob Jr., he moved permanently to the Dominican Republic, where he did a small number of golf course construction projects on his own.) With a substantial amount of the design and construction work performed under the direction of Roger Rulewich, Jones Inc. in 1979 completed an 18-hole golf course at the Playa Dorado resort, lying east of San Felipe de Puerta Plata (often referred to simply as Puerta Plata) on the country’s northern coast. “I must say that this area of the Dominican Republic has to be the most beautiful spot in the world,” Jones would later attest. “The course turned out to be the most spectacular, and it was a popular place for travelers from all over the world to play and enjoy.” In 1993 Jones’s company started building a new course for the Dominican government at Playa Grande, a site that, in Jones’s estimation, was “even more spectacular” than Playa Dorada. (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 78.) The two par-72 courses together, Playa Dorada (6,785 yards) and Playa Grande (7,090 yards; currently ranked the 8th Best Course in the Caribbean and Mexico by Golfweek magazine), helped make the Dominican Republic one of most popular golf destinations in the Caribbean, attracting golfers from every part of the world. But Trent Jones courses did not do that alone. In 1970-71 Pete Dye created what many golfers consider to be “the crown jewel of the Caribbean,” the spectacular Casa de Campo golf course, better known as “Teeth of the Dog,” located at La Romana, a beautiful resort out near the southeastern tip of the country. Dye would eventually add two more courses at Casa de Campo. In recent years two additional courses were built in the Dominican Republic that made the island even more of a Mecca for golfers. In 2008 Jack Nicklaus created Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana, a luxury international report on the island’s eastern coast, which Golfweek rates as the #1 course in the Caribbean (the magazine places Dye’s Teeth of the Dog at #3); and in 2010 Tom Fazio laid out the Corales Golf Club at nearby Punta Cana, Golfweek’s #6. In recent years, P.B. Dye, the youngest son of Pete and Alice Dye, has designed 27 holes at Punta Cana for a facility known as La Cana, with its three nines known as the Tortuga, Hacienda, and Arrecife. The courses feature 14 holes with ocean views of the Caribbean. La Cana was also the first course in the Caribbean to use paspalum, a grass seed for turf grass that can be watered using sea water.
345 “down to Brazil” Jones’s first Brazilian project, in 1958, was remodeling a Stanley Thompson course built in 1933, Itanhangá Golf Club in Rio de Janeiro, sited along the ocean not far from the city center and nestled between the Pedra da Gávea, Pedra do Itanhangá, and the Tijuca National Park, three of Rio’s most postcard views. Features of the course needed modernizing, but given the relatively small tract of land on which it sat, there was not much Jones could do to lengthen the layout. Seeing the course for the first time, Jones felt some regret for not having been more of a part of the original design. Thompson had routed the course through narrow tree-lined fairways (the course featured 86 different species of trees), around ponds and adjacent to streams. Jones especially loved what Thompson had done to create five wonderful par-3s for the course, as well as two strong back-to-back par-5s in the middle of the back nine. Jones did update Itanhangá’s irrigation system and improve its turfgrass, not an easy task given the lush vegetation and rich species diversity of the Mata Atlántica (Portuguese for the “Atlantic Forest” biome) which surrounded the golf course.
Itanhangá has long been considered one of the top 100 courses in the world outside of the U.S., and the very best course in Brazil. In 2000 the “Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open” was held at Itanhangá, the first of two European PGA Tour events held that year in the country that year to mark the discovery of Brazil by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500. In 2009 the LPGA played the 36-hole Brasil Cup at Itanhangá in 2009. The International Olympic Committee gave Itanhangá a close look as a potential venue for the 2016 Olympic Golf Tournament, which will be staged for both men and women. As late as 2011 it looked like the club might host the Olympic golf, but ultimately the IOC determined that the golf course would need such significant remodeling that it would inconvenience the club with prolonged closure. The members of the Rio club badly wanted to host the tournament; they had even raised a banner on the clubhouse that read 2016: Um Sonho Olympico (“An Olympic Dream”) that had to be torn down. (Tony Edmund, “Brazil’s Itahangá Golf Club to host 2016 Olympic Golf Tournament,” WorldGolf, 6 May 2011, accessed on 18 Sept. 2013, at http://www.worldgolf.com/newswire/browse/67249-Olympic-Dream-2016-Itanhanga-Itanhanga-Board-Delegates-Approves-Club-be-Host-2016-Olymp. If Trent Jones had still been living, he may very well have been lobbying for Itanhangá to host the Olympic golf. More likely, however, he would have been making a proposal to design a new golf in Brazil for the Games, just as his son Bobby did, in fact, do. (Rees chose not to enter what turned out to be a heated international competition for the building of a brand new golf course in Brazil directed by a special IOC committee to see who would have the privilege of designing the golf course. The winner, picked over seven other finalists (including RTJ II) announced in May 2012, was American architect Gil Hanse. Ironically, the site given to Hanse for the project was in the Barra da Tijuca, the same up-scale neighborhood in which at Itanhangá is located.)
Trent Jones’s other Brazilian project coincided with the creation of the country’s new capital, Brasilia, in 1960. “We did the 18-hole golf course at the Brasilia Golf Club in Brasilia again for Juan Trippe and Pan Am,” Jones later recalled. “It was exciting to go down to Brazil again to build the course because it was such a beautiful country.” It wasn’t easy an easy course to build, though, due to the politics of the federal development in and around Brasilia. The new presidential palace, an ultramodern design called the Palácio de Alvorado (“Palace of Dawn”) was the first government structure built in the new federal capital, and plans for the golf course was not far behind. That led to some “negative publicity surrounding the political forces” that caused Jones’s project to have some “financial problems.” The golf course was not finished and open for play until 1970, but as Trent believed (as he almost always did—or at least said—about his courses), “it turned out to be a great golf course.” Situated on a plateau that was over 3,500 feet above sea level, the “Club de Golfe Brasil” sat on the edge of Lago Paranoá, only a short distance, and within view, of the presidential palace, which itself was on a peninsular jutting out into the lake. Jones called it all “a beautiful site to see”—and it was an excellent and very challenging par-72 golf course, which from the back tees played 6,788 yards. There were four holes right on the edge of the lake; two par-5s with greens virtually sitting in the lake; and two gorgeous par-3s along the shore of Lago Paranoá.
345 “designed a course in Columbia” While working on the course in Brasilia, Jones also designed a course in Columbia. Located in Cajica just north of Bogota, the El Rincón Club (Club El Rincón de Cajica) had gotten its start in 1957 when a group of young Columbian men with golfing ambitions purchased a modest plot of land and laid out an elementary nine-hole golf course. Wanting more, the club bought more land and brought in Trent Jones to create what really did turn out to be a world-class 18-hole layout. Jones routed the par-72 course in two returning loops over a pleasantly undulating landscape that ran along on the Bogota River, with small hills, shallow valleys, a forest of eucalyptus and pine, and a number of hollows that were easily adapted into little lakes. The property was over 8,000-feet above sea level, more than 2,000 feet higher than the elevation of The Broadmoor, until then the highest altitude Jones had worked at. Knowing that the golf ball flew some 10% farther at that altitude, Jones extended the overall length of the golf course to 7,542 yards. Only one of the ten par fours played to less than 400 from the medal tees, their average being 440. The par-3s averaged 210, the par-5’s 570. The course opened for play in 1962, thanks in large part to the construction skills of Argentinian engineer Alberto Serra. In 1980 the World Cup was played over the El Rincón course, with the Canadian team of Dan Halldorsan and Jim Nelford holding off a strong challenge from the Scottish pairing of Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance.
In working with Alberto Serra, Jones came to have a broader influence on South American golf, as Alberto and his brother Emilio Serra came to design (or redesign) a number of golf courses, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Jones’s golf design principles definitely had an effect on Serra’s architecture. The best known of all the Serra designs was Los Lagartos Country Club, which opened in 1973 and became one of the most prestigious golf courses in Buenos Aires. From the beginning, everyone appreciated Los Lagartos for its “American style,” with enormous tees, wide fairways pinched by flanking bunkers, well-designed doglegs, strategically located water hazards, and great length (7,095 yards). Even the putting surfaces had an American feature: with contours and bent-cross grass that made the putting surfaces very fast and tricky. In 1988 Emilio Serra and his son built an additional nine for the course whose features were very much like the Trent Jones-architecture of the original eighteen.
NOTE: Trent Jones did other work in Latin America, notably on the coast of Mexico and on other Caribbean Islands.
The growth of tourism to Mexico in the 1960s and 1970s, especially by Americans and Canadians, and particularly to beach resorts on the Caribbean and Pacific, brought major golf course development along with it, and Trent Jones courses were foremost in demand. Jones Inc. built golf courses at four of the major Mexican coastal tourist resorts: Acapulco, on the Pacific some 150 miles southwest of Mexico City, where he completed Campo de Golf Tres Vidas in 1969;Ixtapa-Zihautanego, on the Pacific coast 150 miles northwest of Acapulco , where he built the Palma Real Golf Course in 1976; at Quintana Roo (Cancún ) on the Caribbean, near the easternmost part of the Yucatan peninsula, where in 1977 he completed the Cancún Golf Course; and at Mazatlán, on the Pacific coast, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, directly across from the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, where Jones finished the Mazatlán Golf Course in 1978. All four were original designs and regulation 18-hole courses. The last three in the chronology were all developed in association with Mexico’s new national trust for the promotion of tourism, created by an act of the Mexican Congress in 1972, to “mastermind the infrastructure behind modern tourism in Mexico by developing some prime coastal real estate and encouraging foreign investment in its projects” (Bob Brooke, “Fonatur: The Force Behind Mexican Tourism,” The Real Mexico, accessed on 24 Sept. 2013, at http://www.therealmexico.com/fonatur.htm). Jones Inc.’s move into Mexico was thus very timely. Prior to Fonatur’s creation, the growth of tourism to Mexico was spotty, lacking in government support, and in the hands of a few developers like Tres Vidas. With the Mexican government behind it, Fonatur began a vigorous campaign for foreign capital which in the end did a great deal to help create the mega-tourism industry that Mexico has come to depend on to bolster its economy for the past 40-plus years. Jones’s courses at Cancún, Ixtapa-Zihautanejo, and Mazatlán all sprouted from Fonatur initiatives. (Trent Jones’s courses at Campo de Golf Tres Vidas in Acapulco no longer exist. In 1995 architect Robert von Hagge and his team of young designers got the job to completely redesign Tres Vidas, which now included even more golf property right along the Pacific Ocean.)
Jones Inc. did one last project in 1982 when it was brought in to Acapulco to prepare the Pierre Marques Golf Course for the 1982 World Cup golf matches. Originally designed by the Mexico City-based American Percy Clifford in 1967, the Pierre Marques layout got quite a reworking from Jones, with changes to 65 bunkers, several added mounds, and another 300 yards of distance to take the championship setup to 6,860 yards. Trent made sure the course put an even greater premium on accuracy from the tee and on precise shots into well-guarded greens. Atestament to the challenge that Jones devised, the winning team, from Spain (José Maria Cañizares and Manuel Piñero), won (over Americans Bobby Clampett and Bob Gilder) with a score that was just three under par. Jones greatly enjoyed spending time at Mexican resorts where he built golf courses. He especially loved the Pierre Marques resort in Acapulco: “It is a beautiful spot to spend a vacation or honeymoon, and a place where you will take home unforgettable memories” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 83).
In the late 1970s, after Bobby and Rees had left the company, Jones, Inc. built two other courses in the Caribbean, both of them in the French West Indies. On Martinique, Jones in 1977 built the Empress JoséphineGolf Course, named after Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, who was born and brought up on the island.The 6,640-yard par 71 golf course sits along the west coast of Martinique, on the tranquil south shore of Fort de France Bay, at the small resort town of of Les Trois Îlets (“Three Small Islands”). The following year, 1978, Jones finished the Golf Internationale de St. François, west of the coastal town of St. Francois out near the island’s far eastern tip. With limited acreage, Jones could build a course only 5,916 yards from the back tees but he and associate Roger Rulewich took full advantage of the tropical seaside sitting and hundreds of gorgeous palm trees to lay out another highly scenictropical golf course. Subsequently, the course’s yardage was stretched to 6,550 yards, still playing at par 71. In recent years an event on the “Alps TOUR” has been played at Golf Internationale de St. François, a golfing association established in 2001 by four countries—Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland—to give aspiring professionals the opportunity to gain experience and then qualify for the Challenge Tour or European Tour. In 2013 the event at Golf Internationale de St. François, with its 40,000 Euro overall prize fund, was won by France’s Sebastian Gros at eight under par.
347 “became ghost ships in the sky” Philip Andrews, “This Virgin Island Has Had Its Share of Problems,” Intertline Reporter, 15 Oct. 1975.
347 “resurrect its tourist economy” “Fountain Valley Schedules Two Golf Tourneys for Fall,” Interliner Reporter, 15 June 1975.
347 “hijacked an American Airlines jet” Jean P. Greaux, Jr., “Fountain Valley Put V.I. in Unwanted Spotlight,” St Croix Source, 6 Sept. 2002; and Jim Day, “30 Years After Massacre, LaBeet’s Fate Unknown,” St. Croix Source, 6 Sept. 2002. Both of these articles were published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Fountain Valley Massacre. In 1997, Harold W. L. Willocks and Myron Alick wrote a book on the incident and its aftermath, Massacre in Paradise: The Untold Story of the Fountain Valley Massacre (Privately published, 1997). In 2012, Willocks, a native of St. Croix, began a six-year term as a judge in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, prior to which he had served as chief public defender of the Virgin Islands territory. Willocks and Alick call their book on the Fountain Valley Massacre of 1972: “A true story about the socio- economic situation in the 1960s in The Virgin Islands. Whites owned the businesses and controlled most of the capital, while native Blacks owned most of the land and were in position of control in the government. A massacre occurred in September 1972 .This is the story of the incident, the FBI investigation and the trial that followed.” In the book the co-authors explained that, at the trial, the defendants claimed that, after they were captured, in the largest manhunt in Virgin Islands history, they were brutalized and tortured into giving the police statements. Fights broke out in the courtroom between the defendants and marshals. Prominent civil rights and activist lawyer William Kunstler, who in the United States was famous for defending the “Chicago Seven” from conspiracy charges dating to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, defended one of the accused Beaumont Gereau, along the way trying to build public support for the defendants among the Virgin Islands population. The situation quickly turned very volatile. To this day, many people in the Virgin Islands believe that the five men did not receive a fair trial. Prior to their arrest, authorities picked up over one hundred African-Americans for interrogation. Much of the indigenous population was very upset over the arrival of a host of FBI agents and some 300 U.S. Army troops, and came to charge that repressive acts of violence were made against the black community on St. Croix, including strong-armed, house to house searches of the low-income areas.The island was put under virtual martial law until the five men—Ismail Ali, Warren (Aziz) Ballantine, Meral (Malik) Smith, Raphael (Kwesi) Joséph, and Hanif Shabazz Bey—were apprehended and jailed. Stories circulate to this day that the five men were subjected to torture of various kinds in order to extract their confessions. The judge who tried the case, U.S. District Court Judge Warren Young, allegedly had worked as Laurence Rockefeller’s private attorney and had handled legal matters for the Fountain Valley Golf Course.
348 “to Morocco for weeks of lessons” Nancy Holmes, “Morocco Under Par,” Town & Country, Nov. 1976. This article is a feature story on King Hassan II’s love of golf.
348 “found himself inside the palace walls” RTJ, GMC, p.101.
350 “the king had survived the air attack” “Jets attack Moroccan King’s plane,” The Guardian, 17 Aug. 1972.
352 “never went to the opening and was never paid” Cabell Robinson to author, review of author’s manuscript, 15 Nov. 2013.
352 “had enough work in Europe” With Cabell Robinson at the head of Jones’s European office, Jones’s company by the early 1980s was look into building golf courses in other parts of Europe and North Africa, including Egypt. One of the prospective Egyptian courses was in Hurghada, a resort city on the Red Sea that Jones was told was “being created from scratch by the Egyptian government” and would involve the building of five-star hotels, marinas, race tracks, vacation villas, as well as no fewer than two 18-hole golf courses. Hurghada did develop, indeed, into the main tourist center (and second largest city, after Suez) on the Red Sea, but Jones would not build any courses there. Courses designed by Gary Player, Gene Bates (paired with Fred Couples), and John Sanford would be built in and around Hurghada beginning in the late 1990s.s course. Player’s design, The Cascades at Soma Bay Golf & Country Club, which opened in 1998, w as the very first golf course ever opened for play on the western coast of the Red Sea. On Jones’s early interest in Hurghada, see Cabell Robinson to RTJ, Paul A. Colwell, and Roger Rulewich, “Lead: Cairo,” 28 May 1982, File on “Leads, European Office,” JP, CUA.)
In its solicitation of potential business in Egypt, Jones’s firm corresponded with the chairman of the Egyptian General Company for Tourism & Hotels (EGOTH), which was the biggest state-owned hotel owner in Egypt, with 20 hotels and one cruise liner. See RTJ/Cabell B. Robinson, Robert Trent Jones Anstalt, to Mr. Amin Garawani, Chairman, EGOTH, Cairo, 9 June 1982, also in the “Leads, European Office” files within the JP.
On behalf of RTJ Anstalt, Cabell Robinson also looked into the possibility of turning the 9-hole Mena House Golf Course, one of the oldest golf courses in Egypt, laid out in 1904 to overlookthe Great Pyramids at Giza, into “an internationally recognized18-hole golf course of championship quality.”Robinson in 1983 submitted a long proposal to EGOTH, which concluded: “The awesome presence of the Pyramids and the high standing and historical importance of the Mena House Hotel deserve nothing less.”Cabell B. Robinson, RTJ Anstalt, to Mr. Amin Garawani, Chairman, EGOTH, Cairo, n.d. (circa early 1983), “Leads, European Office” files, JP, CUA.) The Mena House project did not materialize for Trent Jones, but in the early 200os, Trent’s son, Bobby, in association with the design firm of Bettina Schrickel, with headquarters in Berlin, Germany, were commissioned to do a complete makeover of the golf course in association with a renovation of the Mena House hotel. Situated within a relatively small site, the original Mena House golf course had 9 fairways yet 18 greens and tees so that 18 different golf holes could be played. The new routing by Schreckel and Robert Trent Jones II includes 11 fairways and 4 lakes to offer greater variety for the 18 holes. See Bettina Schrecker, Lioness Golf., Inc., “Great Golf Course Renovation Begins at the Great Pyramids in Giza,” accessed on 25 Sept. 2013, at http://www.lionessgolf.com/images/Articles/Bettina-Pyrmaids-ART.pdf.
It is not known how the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 (Egypt’s “Arab Spring”) affected the operation of Egypt’s golf courses.
353 “I would stay at least two years” Cabell B. Robinson to Nick Senior, “Exclusive Interview with Cabell B. Robinson,” EatGolf 8 (2007):47.
353 “wife’s home country of the Philippines” Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995: The Making of Spain’s Ryder Cup Course (Valderrama, 1995), p.1.
353 “a very prosperous adventure” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, pp. 72-73.
354 “I was the man to do it” RTJ, GMC, pp. 95-96.
354 “ensure that the environment was protected” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p.1.
354 “finalize his purchase of Valderrama” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p.2.
354 “we think we’re old” RTJ, GMC, p. 98.
354 “a gorgeous sight to behold” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 73.
355 “might be those of Nevada” Pat Ward-Thomas, “Sotogrande: An Examination and a Joy,” Golf World (Sept. 1965): 19.
356 “brought American golf to Europe for the first time” RTJ, GMC, p. 98.
356 “top courses in Spain as well as Europe” California golf architect Kyle Phillips has recently finished a major remodeling of the Real Club de Golf Las Brisas, as well as a remodeling of Valderrama.
356 “Belgium” In 1968 Jones built a golf course in Belgium and another in France. The Belgian course, Golf de Bercuit, was located in Grez-Doiceau, a small town in the picturesque province of Wallon Brabant along the Train River in the central part of the country. Again, Bercuit (par 72, 6,533 yards) was to be “American” in more ways than one. First, Jones took advantage of the lightly undulating ground and forests of pine, briarwood, and rosebay to create a parkland that looked very much as if it could have been located in eastern Pennsylvania or upstate New York. Second, the developer, prominent Walloon businessman and landowner Baron Frederic Rolin, explicitly carried the Bercuit project forward as an 18-hole course directly tied to a residential development. The same was true for the course in France, Golf de Bondues, north of Lille, the largest city in French Flanders, right near the border with Belgium, some 50 miles east of Dunkirk. Trent finished the first nine for the course and son Bobby came to France for his first work on the continent, taking charge of the design of the second nine, both built over a pleasing combination of parkland and heathland terrain. Together, the resulting 18-hole golf course (par 72, 6,533 yards) was also “a very American-styled course and a typical Trent Jones creation” where lots of water and bunkers came into play and the depth and configuration of the greens, well protected by sand, calling for “serious thought regarding club selection.” A number of national and international events would be staged on Jones’s Bondues layout, including the European Young Masters. For many years now, the club membership at Golf de Bondues has been the largest in northern France. See “Golf de Bondues—Top 100 Golf Courses of France,” accessed on 26 Sept. 2013, at www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmisite/productdetaqils.asp?id=1350. A second course at Bondues was designed by Fred H. Hawtree at the same time Jones was building his course. The Hawtree layout, also 18 holes, is generally considered to be the easier of the two courses.
358 “Switzerland” Trent Jones exported his American-style golf architecture to other clubs in Europe as well. In the early 1970s he did so for Switzerland’s Golf Club de Gèneve, which opened near the village of Coligny on the south shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) in September 1973. The club dated back to 1922, making it the fifth oldest golf club in Switzerland after Samaden (1898), Montreux (1900), Lucerne (1903), Axenfels (1903), and Lausanne (1921). Many of these clubs catered largely to tourists, especially British tourists. The original golf course for the Geneva Golf Club was at Onex, on the left bank of the Rhone River, just southwest of the cosmopolitan city that was Geneva. In the late 1960s, the club, made up mostly of Swiss but also French as well as other internationals working or living in the city, voted to relocate. They found an ideal location within the village of Bessinge, in the municipality of Vandoeuvres, some five miles east down the south shore of the lake from Geneva. As the officers of the club said at the time, “Bessinge is so beautiful, so endowed with marvelous trees, located so nicely along the top of a hill. It offers superb views on the lake and the Alps. It would also be fully protected against any menace from new road or highway construction.” (Pierre Turettini, Chronique du Golf Club de Genève (Geneva Golf Club, 1989), p. 75. Pierre Turettini was the long-time president of the Geneva Country Club and became a friend of Trent Jones. The author wishes to thank Monsieur Turettini for granting him a personal interview at him home near the golf course at Bessinge. He would also like to thank Monsieur André Girard, the long-time manager of the golf club, for granting him and interview and taking him on a comprehensive and highly informative tour of the Geneva Country club course.)
Perhaps the most significant point to make about Trent Jones’s design of the Golf Club de Gèneve is that the club gave him the job even though he asked for twice as much money as the other three golf architects who submitted formal proposals to create the new course. Jones asked for two million Swiss francs (equivalent to $461,000 in 1969 dollars and to over $2.8 million in today’s dollars.) The other three architects making bids—Englishman Donald Harradine, Holland’s John Jacob Frank “J.J.F.” Pennink, and West Germany’s Bernhard von Limburger—all asked for only one million francs. Despite the much higher price, Jones was the choice of the Geneva membership. (Turettini, Chronique du Golf Club de Genève, p. 75.)
The other three architects were experienced and competent, but they weren’t Robert Trent Jones. Both Harradine and Frank had been founding members of the British Institute of Golf Course Architects. Harradine had even started his career in Switzerland, in 1930 when he had remodeled a course at Bad Ragaz. From there he went on to build courses in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Romania. In Switzerland Harradine had designed the Ostschweizerischer Golf Club (1948) at Niederbüren near St. Gallen and Golf Club Interlaken-Unterseen Golf Club (1955), and had done remodeling on a half dozen Swiss courses, at Lausanne, Lugano, Davos, and Zurich. In the early Sixties, he had even done some work on the Geneva Country Club while it was still at Onex. Penninck’s credentials in terms of designing courses around Europe were generally much the same, though he had designed many more courses in the British Isles than Harradine. (Both Harradine and Penninck were born in 1911, thus were five years younger than Jones. It is interesting to note that Herradine’s trilingual son, Peter also took up his father’s profession, as had Bobby and Rees.) As for Von Limburger (born 1901), the great majority of his courses were located in Germany and Austria, though he had done a great deal of work in Switzerland, too. As far back as 1928, he had worked with Berlin golf professional Karl Hoffman to lay out the 18-hole Golf & Country Club Basel and the 9-hole Golf & Country Club Neuchâtel. Thirty-one years later, in 1959, Von Limburger, now working solo, had designed the Golf & Country Club Blumisberg southwest of Berne and, in 1964, the Golf Club Hittnau Zurich. In spite of all these credentials, the Golf Club de Gèneve wanted Trent Jones enough to pay a fee that was far more than customary—and far more than was really necessary—to get a first-rate golf course built.
Trent Jones did not disappoint his Swiss client. The par-72 golf course at Bessinge was again typical Jones, with all of the characteristic features that were now being expected of him, including the length, at 6,783 yards. (Jones Sr. was assisted in the design of the Golf Club de Genève,by Cabell Robinson and in the construction by Ronald Fream. After finishing the course, Fream, who had worked as a construction superintendent for Jones since 1966, moved to a new post with American golf architect Robert Muir Graves.) Not only was it immediately considered to be the best course in Switzerland, it was also one of the world’s most scenic, with stunning panoramic views across Lake Geneva and to the snow-capped Alps to the south. Experts on European golf today rank it no worse than the second best course in Switzerland, only behind Pete Dye’s 1988 creation, Domaine Imperial Club Club, which lies, somewhat ironically, almost directly across the lake from Bessinge between Lausanne and Geneva. (See “Switzerland’s Top 100 Golf Courses,” accessed n 28 Sept. 2013, at http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/country.asp?id=59.)
Ten years later Jones would build a golf course not far from Geneva at the foot of Mt. Blanc across the border in France. Trent called the 6,550 yard par-72 Club de Golf Chamonix“a spectacular course” because you can see Mt. Blanc from every hole. “What a fantastic sight!” Chamonix became one of the most popular Alpine resort golf clubs in Europe, and, of course, Jones thought “it is the most beautiful” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 83).
NOTE: In June 1973 the first of what would turn out to be several Jones companies based in Europe, the “Robert Trent Jones Anstalt,” was set up for tax purposes in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, on Switzerland’s east-central border. The articles of the Anstalt (“Establishment”) expressed the object of the corporation being “To promote the golf sport in countries where it is hardly known, to consult in the construction and reconstruction of golf courses, to publish and distribute golf journals and magazines, to organize golf tournaments for professionals and amateurs, an to carry on any transaction which can be regarded as useful to the world-wide promotion of the golf sport.”[i]Many of the courses Jones built in Europe would be under contract to RTJ Anstalt. Prior to the Anstalt, Jones, back in 1959, had created “Robert Trent Jones & Associates, Ltd.” Based in Nassau, The Bahamas, for the tax advantages it provided, for his Caribbean and Latin American projects. See “Articles of Association of Robert Trent Jones Anstalt, Vaduz,”12 June 1973, in Vidauban Files, JP, CUA.
356 “England” In 1970 Trent Jones created his first, and what would turn out to be his only, golf course in the country of his birth, England. Located on 220 acres of rolling countryside in West Yorkshire on the outskirts of Leeds, Moor Allerton Golf Clubdated back to 1923 and to an original 18 holes laid out by Alister Mackenzie (one of his first courses) at Moortown. By the late 1960s, however, membership was bursting at the seams, so the club made the difficult decision to move a few miles to a brand new site and bring in Trent Jones to design what the English golfing public knew would be Jones’s first course in the British Isles. It also knew it would undoubtedly be a golf course featuring all the elements of what had become the classic Trent Jones design: long, shallow and boldly shaped bunkers (as compared to the deep pot bunkers of British links golf), large teeing grounds, artificial lakes, large, contoured, multi-tiered greens that were very speedy, and a big coursewhere a par was tough and a bogey the norm. (Peter Alliss, former British golfing champion and world renowned TV golf commentator and raconteur, served for many years as the club professional at Moor Allerton. He called Moor Allerton “a golfing experience larger than life,” and more than once compared the greens on the course to those at Augusta National. Peter Allis quoted on the Moor Allerton Golf Club website, accessed on 27 Sept. 2013, at http://www.magc.co.uk/pages.php/course.html.) Jones would also call Moor Allerton a beautiful picture-book golf course, a winning combination of parkland and heathland, with three loops of nine holes that could be played in any combination to provide a challenging game for both the scratch golfer and the beginner. The setup for play at Moor Allerton—which Ron Kirby of Jones, Inc., helped to design—was unique in that it was not each nine that had a name, but rather each 18-hole combination of nines. If a group of golfers played holes designated 1-9 and 10-18, they had played The Lakes Course (6,470 yards); if they played 10-18 and 19-27, they had played the Blackmoor (6,673 yards); and if they had played 19-27 and 1-9, they had played The High (6,841 yards). The courses were unique also in that their pars were 73, 73, and 74, respectively. At the end of it all lay a stunning golf hole that some experts on English golf courses have called one of the best finishing holes in the country. A tough par 5 of 568 yards, the 27th hole at Moor Allerton required a drive from an elevated tee to a broad fairway sloping significantly from right to left. For most players, the hole could not be reachable on the second shot, but lay-ups had to avoid three strategically placed bunkers. The third-shot into the green was the most daunting of all, with the approach playing uphill and over a substantial water hazard. Even more, there were trees to the left, little margin for error right, with a gigantic bunker sitting directly in front of a raised and steeply sloping green. The finishing hole at Moor Allerton remains today one of the great unknown holes of Trent Jones’s career. Some English critics demeaned the course for being too American in its style, especially in contrast to its nearby neighbors, Alwoodley Golf Club (another Mackenzie course, his first architectural collaboration, with Harry S. Colt, from 1907) and Moortown Golf Club. No question but that the style of Moor Allerton was modern and American, and one can legitimately question the decision of the Moor Allerton club to abandon a Mackenzie original for a modern Trent Jones. But even granting that, one should not overlook the fact that Jones designed a layout for English golfers at Moor Allerton that blended the best of Yorkshire’s landscape and the best of Jones’s American architectural prowess into what still serves today as a delightful golfing landscape. (In his critique of Moor Allerton in his Confidential Guide to Golf Courses (1996), Tom Doak wrote (p. 254): “A Jewish club, and not a very well appreciated layout, as one might guess from the local joke that this is ‘Trent Jones way of persecuting the Jews.’ On paper it probably all looked very exciting, but the 27 holes are laid out on very hilly and extremely heavy land, and it is a very difficult course to walk.” Doak gave the course a “4” on his self-styled 10-point scale. No one that this author has spoken to that has played the course ranks it anywhere near that low. For Mackenzie lovers and those who prefer a more traditional heathland-type golf course, the appeal of nearby Alwoodley and Moortown may be biasing their perspective against Moor Allerton.)
356 “Sardinia” Trent Jones first met the Aga Khan in either Switzerland or Spain. Aga Khan IV (aka Prince Karim Al Husseini), was born (in 1936) in Geneva and had an estate there. But Jones might have met him in southern Spain, perhaps while Trent was building Sotogrande or Las Brisas in Marbella, as the Aga Khan often brought his favorite luxury yacht to port along the Costa del Sol. Wherever it may have been, the result of their meeting was that Trent Jones was going to build a championship golf course for one of the world’s richest and most influential Islamic leaders, on property his family owned on the island of Sardinia, which is where the Aga Khan also kept most of his yachts.
When Trent met the Aga Khan, he knew only two things about him: that he was some sort of royalty, and he was worth tens of millions—if not hundreds of millions—of dollars. Beyond that, Cabell Robinson, the Princeton University graduate in history who was in charge of Jones’s European office, had to explain his new client’s stature and role to Trent. The Aga Khan, he told Jones, was the “imam” or leader of a large group of Muslim believers around the world. Jones really didn’t need to know more than that, Cabell thought. (It would have been much too difficult for Cabell to explain that the Aga Khan was the imam of the largest group of Ismaili followers in the Shi’a branch of Islam.) Except perhaps Jones should keep in mind that the Aga Khan claimed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (through the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, but Cabell didn’t bother to explain that, either.) Far more than learning about the Aga Khan’s religious significance, what Trent was curious about was his wealth and interest in building a golf course. As hugely rich as the Aga Khan was (a very large chunk of his money came from a complex system of tithes that the world’s 10-plus million Ismaili Muslims paid each year), the Aga Khan was unique among the world’s richest royals in that he did not preside over any territory. Yes, he owned a great deal of property, most of it in Europe or around the Mediterranean. He also owned dozens of racehorses, a fleet of private airplanes, an island in The Bahamas, as well as his exclusive yacht club on Sardinia. He was also highly European in his bearing. The best way to treat him, Cabell advised, was as if he were a British business magnate, one who, at age 33 in 1969, had married a British fashion model. Perhaps the best characterization of the Aga Khan that Robinson could have given Jones was to call him “a jet-setter that mixes business with Islam,” but the second part of that combination would have required a great deal more understanding of Islam as a religion than Trent Jones would have ever ventured to comprehend. (G. Pascal Zachary, “The Aga Khan, jet-setter who mixes business and Islam,” New York Times, 9 July 2007.)
The bottom line was that the Aga Khan wanted to build a golf course. He wanted it built on property that he owned on the Costa Smeralda, which he himself had helped turn into a chic tourist destination in northern Sardinia. Already by 1970, the place was affluent with a capital “A,” the result of luxury resort and residential development that a consortium of companies led by the Aga Khan had been developing since 1961. Today, the Costa Smeralda where Trent Jones built a golf course for the Aga Khan in the early 1970s is regarded as the most expensive location to visit and live in all of Europe, and it has deserved that reputation for the past 40 years.
It may seem that it was automatic for the Aga Khan to give his golf course assignment to Trent Jones, but, as with the case of the Geneva Golf Club and most every other golf course project under development, there were always other golf architects who wanted the job. No fewer than four other architects were invited to survey the property. It intimidated all of them. Located on a rugged peninsula between the Bays of Cala di Volpe and Volpero, the terrain was imposing, not at all ideal for the island’s first golf course, not without a herculean—and exorbitantly expensive—engineering effort. When they saw the rocky cliffs and precipitous mountains, covered with impenetrable bushes, the other architects proclaimed that it was impossible to build a golf course there. The Aga Khan paid four agronomists to come over from the Italian mainland to inspect the property and discuss grassing the golf course; they all told him that, because there was so very little topsoil on that part of the island, he would have to bring in enough topsoil to spread a foot of it over the entire course. That would cost millions of lira.
Neither the other architects nor the agronomists had Jones’s experience with difficult sites. The black lava rocks at Mauna Kea had provided a comparable challenge which Jones had managed to overcome. Jones knew something about growing grass on unpromising ground. Surveying the land on which the Aga Khan wanted his golf course built, Jones discovered that “there was a lot of disintegrated granite on the property that could be crushed into dust and, with proper nutrients added, be used as soil.”He said to the imam, “Your Highness, it’s your money, but you don’t need to ship in thousands of tons of topsoil from mainland Italy like your agronomists are telling you. That will be a hideously expensive undertaking. If you’ll just take a chance and give me $35,000 for grass seed, I don’t think you’ll have to spend millions for topsoil.”
The Aga Khan approved the idea, and Jones immediately shipped in a rock crusher that pulverized the granite boulders to sand. Adding the sand to the soil, “similar to what we did with the lava rocks in Hawaii,” Jones not only grew grass in Sardinia, he grew a lush carpet of grass growing in granite that not only saved his client hundreds of thousands of dollars but allowed the golf course to host the Italian Open, in 1978. Jones later claimed that he saved the Aga Khan $2.5 million, and “his staff is still upset with me.” One of them reportedly said to Jones afterward, “We hate you. Every time it comes to spending money, he relates your story to us.” (RTJ, GMC, p. 153; the Wikipedia entry on the Aga Khan was particularly helpful to the author’s summary explanation of him.)
It was a tough job, but Pevero Golf Club, as it was called, turned out to be “a beautiful and exciting course” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 66). The 18-hole, 6,717-yard layout opened for play in 1972. It still is considered one of Jones’s “finest and most daring designs.” (See Top 100 Golf Courses of the World, “Pevero Golf Club,” accessed on 28 Sept. 2013, at http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/productdetails.asp?id=570.) The holes run aside and between rocky outcroppings as they follow the mostly abrupt natural contours of the land. Jones virtually blasted the tops off mountains to make ways for fairways through the narrow valleys. Jones’s routing of the golf course, given the challenges of the land, was brilliant. The outward nine he routed in an anti-clockwise direction around Pevero Bay where water could be featured at two successive holes (the 6th and 7th); the inward nine he put in a clockwise loop that ran along the beach of Cala di Volpe (“Bay of Foxes”), also with a pairing of water holes(the 16th and 17th). Golfers enjoyed spectacular views of the Mediterranean from every hole; from the 4th tee on clear days, they could look north across the turquoise water and see Corsica. Situated out at the tip of a peninsula that speared into the Mediterranean, Pevero lay as easy prey to stormy weather. Especially when the “Mistral” blew, the central Mediterranean’s famed north wind, controlling the golf ball around Pevero was as challenging as any golf course in the world.
NOTE: In Europe in particular it seems that Jones kept finding himself lucky to be designing courses on spectacular sites, and “if I didn’t have a spectacular site I made what I had into one” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 88). At the same time that he working on Pevero in Sardinia, Jones was also up in the Piedmont region of northwester Italy building a golf course in Turin (Torino), west of Milan and at the foot of the Alps.The site for Golf Club I Roveri (later Royal Park I Roverilay with the dense woods of an old 16th-century royal hunting estate which later would be turned by the Italian government into the Parco Regionale della Mandria, one of Turin’s largest conservations areas. A par-72 layout playing over nearly 7,300 yards of undulating terrain, the golf course possessed all the Jones design features that by now were expected of him: numerous strategically located bunkers, large undulating greens, water hazards, and a wide range of teeing distances. Several holes offered stunning views of the Alps off to the northwest. Soon after it opened Golf World named I Roveri one of “Europe’s Finest 50”and Italy’s best. From 2009 to 2012 the BMW Italian Open was played on the golf course. In 2008 a second 18-hole layout (par 72, 6,475 yards) opened at Royal Park I Roveri, designed by Columbus, Ohio-based design firm Hurdzan-Fry led by founding principal Dr. Michael Hurdzan.
Jones would build two other 18-hole golf courses in Italy, both on beautiful sites. In 1987 he finished 27 holes for the Golf Club Castelconturbia at Arona, off the south shore of Lake Maggiore In Lombardy. Trent loved visiting northern Italy and “made quite a few trips” to Arona. (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 87.) There he spread out three nines of golf over what had been a completely unspoiled 100 hectares (247 acres) of gently rolling terrain, forests full of old trees,as well as a lake and ponds, all with Monte Rosa in the background, the highest mountain in Switzerland and the culminating point of the Pennine Alps. Depending on what two nines of the three nines the golfers chose to play (Del Pini; “The Pines;” Dei Castagni (“The Chestnuts;” or Delle Querce: “The Oak Trees”), they confronted a challenging course measuring either 6,813 or 7,011 from the rear tees. Many people over the years have considered the par-4, 380-yard-long 7th hole on the Dei Pini nine, a dating little dogleg left playing to an island green, to be one of the best holes in continental Europe. The following year Jones finished 18 holes for the Country Club Castelgandolfo, located in one of Italy’s most scenic towns (best known for being the Pope’s summer residence), just southeast of Rome on the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano. Without question, this brilliant golf course—set within an extinct volcano crater (caldera)—is one of Jones’s least known gems (partly because it is off the beaten path of most tourists). From its clubhouse, a mansion built in the 17th century for Cardinal Flavio Chigi, one can see all 18 holes of the par-72, 6,774-yard layout: not just its many bunkers and lakes but also its many picturesque groupings of olive, pine, oak, and cypress trees accenting the fairways. Jones loved the way the first tee launched the round from the rim of the crater, providing a panorama of the course laid out along the bottom of the extinguished volcano. He took especially great delight in the fourth hole at Castelgandolfo, which he came to consider one of the best holes he had ever designed. It was a 411-yard par-4 and the golfer hit his tee-shot to a gradually narrowing fairway with trees standing as obstacles to the left. The approach shot had to navigate between two lakes which pinched the fairway into a thin peninsula leading up to a shallow, slightly elevated putting surface guarded by a pair of nasty bunkers. In his 2005 book, 101 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die, author Jeff Barr included #4 at Castelgandolfo on his elite list. (Barr, ed., 101 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die [Ronnie Sellers Productions, 2005], p. 178.)
In 1978 Jones completed the first of his two German projects. He and Cabell Robinson discovered that Germany’s strict environmental and landscaping regulations limited what a golf course architect could do. Jones’s first project involved remodeling Bernard von Limburger’s original 1965 design at the Golf Club Hamburg-Ahrensburg. Jones would never say much about his work on the par 71 6,275-yard layout because he apparently did not think much of the golf course even after he was finished with his remodeling. He did enjoy telling stories about the time he spent in Hamburg, however, which he called a “wild” town with a “racy” nightlife. In fact, Jones left the city wondering “if there would be enough conservative people interested in becoming members of the golf club to make it a good investment, or would they continue partying all the time” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 76). In the following decade, he would produce an 18-hole course for the Golfclub Bodensee Weissensberg in Lindau, a Bavarian town on the eastern side of Lake Constance. The Bodensee course, completed in 1987, may be Jones’s least known gem. A picture-postcard golf course, Bodensee was molded into the foothills of the Bavarian Alps with sweeping panoramic views across Lake Constance to the Swiss Alps in the distance. But it was not just pretty, it was one of the most difficult courses on continental Europe, though not terribly long even from the rear tees at 6,648 yards and par 71. Golfers faced narrow tree-lined fairways, numerous water hazards, and nearly 100 bunkers. Trent rarely spoke about Bodensee, perhaps because it was not built to host major tournament golf but possibly also because Cabell Robinson, soon to leave Jones’s company, did most of the design work.
Jones made a sojourn into Greece in 1979 to produce his only Greek course, the Glyfada Golf Club in Athens. “I redesigned and remodeled the course at the Glyfada because the World Cup championship was being held there in 1979. After it was over, I received a beautiful letter from the club complimenting me on “the wonderful job you did fixing up our golf course” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 79). Winning the World Cup that year in Athens was the American team of Hale Irwin and John Mahaffey. Over the years, the sponsor of the World Cup, which in the 1960s and 1970s was one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments, often commissioned Jones to reconstruct the courses where the matches were to be played.
357 “Dwyer entertained a group of visiting Soviet officials” See Roland Tyrrell, “Americans Build Russian Golf Course: Capitalist West Moves East,” UPI Story, Moscow, 8 July 1979.
359 “suggested to the mayor of Moscow” RTJ, GMC, p. 101.
360 “didn’t want to bring in all those countries and finish last” ibid.
361 “turning out to be the most exciting period of my life” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 71.
361 “a fashionable address for the international set” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p. 2.
361 “a very select group of very wealthy buyers” ibid., pp.4-5.
362 “’delighted with the idea’ of buying a condominium” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 52.
363 “absolutely fell in love with the place” ibid., p. 73.
363 “finishing up at my villa” Jaime Ortiz-Patiño to author, Cobbs Creek, GA, 6 Aug. 2012. The author interviewed Mr. Patiño while he was in Atlanta for the PGA Championship on the Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club, a course that Trent Jones had designed in 1967 and that son Rees had remodeled in 2006. Trent also designed the Riverside Course at AAC, the frist nine holes of which opened in 1964. Rees remodeled it in 2003. For the quote from Patiño, see Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p. 2.
364 “do not want to appear in a dominating role” Ortiz-Patiño to author, Cobbs Creek, GA, 6 Aug. 2012.
364 “seriously serious” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, pp. 6-8.
365 “Of course I would!” Ortiz-Patiño to author, Cobbs Creek, GA, 6 Aug. 2012.
365 “do his absolute best not to to let him down” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, pp. 18-19.
365 “would have called the whole shebang Valderrama” ibid., p. 10.
365 “Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s very best course” See “Architects’ Choice: Top 100,” Golf Course Architecture 33 (July 2013): 45.
366 “a man Jacklin described as a tyrant” Tony Jacklin, Jacklin: My Autobiography (London: Simon & Schuster UK, 2006), p. 266.
366 “able to go straight into my design routine” RTJ, “The Robert Trent Jones Design Philosophy,” in Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p.105.
366 “make an ideal 18th” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, pp. 10-20.
367 “obviating the need for a halfway house” ibid., p. 20.
367 “a long, slogging par-5” Peter Dobereiner quoted in ibid., p. 20.
367 “lack of character was all too obvious” ibid., p. 20.
367 “involving changes to the fairway contours” ibid., p. 20 and 23.
368 “sure reward of a birdie” ibid., p. 110.
368 “Seve’s redesign of Valderamma’s 17th hole” See “Valderrama’s 17th courts more controversy,” Golf Today, n.d. [circa Sept. 1997], accessed on 1 Oct. 2013, at http://www.golftoday.co.uk/tours/tours99/amexchamp/preview2.html.
369 “built exceedingly close to the golf course” Ortiz-Patiño, Valderrama: The First Ten Years, 1985-1995, p. 135.
371 “stayed as a guest in Patiño’s villa” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 73. No question that Trent Jones loved Spain. The golf courses he built on the Costa del Sol came in two waves. The first wave had seen him create Sotogrande and Las Brisas. In the second wave he not only produced Valderrama, perhaps his greatest creation, but also two 18-hole courses for the Mijos Golf Club and Los Naranjos, for a while part of a 54-hole facility with Las Brisas at what was known as the Nueva Andalucia Golf Club, for which Jones had also, in 1968, completed a par-3 short course.
It was up the road from Valderrama in the environs of fashionable Malaga that Jones with Cabell Robinson at his side built two 18-hole courses at Mijas, a typical Andalusian white-washed village which in the coming years would grow into a popular tourist spot and the home of the biggest golf resort in Spain, Le Cala Resort, a residential and recreational estate located between Marbella and Fuengirola which today has three fine 18-hole golf courses all designed by Cabell Robinson after he left Jones’s firm.
The first course that Trent and Cabell did together at Mijas Golf Club was the Los Lagos Course, finished in 1976. Situated on 150 acres of flat to gently undulating terrain, with massive greens, many enormous bunkers, and nine lakes (thus the course name “The Lakes”) some of them quite large, Los Lagos was a long course at 7,147 yards (par 71) from the back tees but highly playable for most golfers thanks to having very wide and open fairways with few trees to get in the way. One hole at Las Lagos got everybody’s attention: a 617-yard par-5 (13th hole) where the fairway is bounded closely by a stone boundary wall all the way down the left side and narrows considerably for the second shot with a large waste area on the left and water along the right. Some rankings of the world’s greatest courses place Los Lagos as the 13th best course in Spain today. The second course that Jones and Robinson did together at Mijos was the Los Olivos Course, completed in 1984, and today ranked in the top 50 of Spain’s golf courses.In contrast to Las Lagos, this layout had an abundance of trees in the form of olive groves, hence its name. Playing to a par-69, it was not really a short golf course at 6,386 yards, though it may seem so in comparison to Los Lagos. Golfers on Los Olivos also faced narrow, tree-lined fairways and smaller elevated greens which were more undulating and better defended than its older sister course. Together, the contrast between the two courses, which the architects embraced, made Mijos Golf Club one of the more popular golf clubs on Spain’s southern coast.
In 1977, Jones also built a second course for the Club de Golf Andalucia. In 1968 he had built Las Brisas in what came to be known as the “Golf Valley of Marbella” and nine years later, in 1977, he and Cabell put the finishing touches on the Los Naranjos “The Orange Trees” Course. Laid out adjacent to Las Brisas, the course had gently rolling, tree-lined fairways, large “eye-catching” bunkers, “plenty of water features, and “expansive putting surfaces” that would be kept firm and fast. It was certainly another course where Jones’s “difficult par, easy bogey” was meant to apply. (See website for Top 100 Golf Courses of the World, “Los Naranjos, Spain,” accessed on 2 Oct. 2013, at http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/productdetails.asp?id=1620.) But Las Brisas and Los Naranjos stayed sister courses only until 1982. That year aficionados of the two golf courses split and established two different clubs. Following the construction of a new clubhouse for Los Naranjos, Cabell came in and re-sequenced the holes to follow best with the new building. In 1989 a Scandinavian-owned company bought the golf course, with a group of Swedish businessmen taking control in 2007 with plans to invest tens of millions of Euros in the course for it to become “one of the very best golf facilities in Europe” (ibid.). Today, the course is rated the 20th best in Spain, playing to par 72 at 7,001 yards. Interestingly, in the Robert Trent Jones Society’s official listing of all of the Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s designs, the Society indicates that Los Naranjos “no longer exists.” The breakup of the original Golf Club de Andalucia obviously camouflaged the fact that the golf very much still exists. It, too, is one of the Jones’s hidden gems.
Jones would build two more golf courses in the Malaga region of southern Spain, both of them in Manilva, just up the coast a few miles from Valderrama. The design of Golf La Duquesa in 1987 was the last job that Cabell Robinson directed for Jones before he left Jones employ and formed his own small design company based in Marbella. A spectacular landscape with several holes having superb panoramic views of the nearby Mediterranean, few courses in Jones’s European portfolio blended the natural setting and the architect’s design much better than this par-72 6,629-yard golf course. The par-3 4th was one of Cabell’s favorites. From the teethe hole dropped steeply and with beautiful contours in the land down to a green that from the back tee was only 188 yards away. The other course that Jones completed at Manilva was the Marbella Golf & Country Club, finished in 1990. Built for an American-owned company whose principal shareholder, Ralph Gomez, Sr., wanted to create the finest golf course and clubhouse that “money could buy” in Europe, Jones managed to give him what Trent himself considered “a breathtaking golf course,” one with olive and cork trees and beautiful spacious fairways interwoven with greens, lakes, and streams. Jones’s design of the par-72 6,372-yard Marbella country club course, which was “absolutely private,” followed the natural silhouette of the land and, as Trent thought about most of the courses he built across the Atlantic, it was “surely one of the most outstanding golf courses in Europe” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 93).
Jones did more work in Spain—a total of fourteen courses. Only one of these courses, El Bosque Club de Golf in Valencia, was not along or near the Costa del Sol. The third largest city in Spain, Valencia was famous for its oranges, but it was also one of the Europe’s largest ports. Late in life, Trent would remember that the El Bosque Club de Golf, opened in 1975, was “on the ocean” and that it was “such a beautiful place that I can remember every hole to this day” (ibid., p. 72) In actuality, the 6,863-yard par-72 golf course was located several miles inland to the west of Valencia in the village of Chiva.
Jones loved not just Spain but the entire Iberian peninsula. In Portugal he built two golf courses, both under Cabell Robinson’s direction. In 1979 they did the Tróia Golf Clubnear Setubal, on the coast some 25 miles south of Lisbon. Built on a long flat and sandy stretch of land across the Sado River estuary which separates the Setubal lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean, the Tróia course featured long narrow greens and huge bunkers and sandy wastes. Virtually surrounded by water almost as if it was a barrier island, the golf course “turned out to be very impressive” (ibid., pp. 78-79). In a 1995 issue of Golf World, Tróia Golf Club was named one of “Europe’s Finest 50.”Golfers today who have played the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, Pete Dye’s masterpiece, will find themselves seeing some real visual similarities, and feeling the same impossibly strong ocean breezes, at the Tróia Golf Club.
The other 18-hole course Jones did in Portugal, also with supervision in the hands of Cabell Robinson, was the Quinta da Marinha Golf Club, in Cascais, a coastal town 19 miles west of Lisbon, finished in 1984. “Portugal is a lovely country,” Jones would relate,“and the areas where my two courses were built was sumptuous.”The golf course was unusual in that it was made up six par-3s, six par-4s, and six par-5s. In Jones’s opinion, naturally, “Quinta da Marinha Golf Club became the best place to play golf in Portugal” (ibid., pp. 84-85).
In 1985 Jones did also take on a “remodeling and refurbishing” of five holes at what was then called the Villamoura II Golf Club (and today is known as the Oceanico Pinhal Course). Located in the southernmost region of Portugal, known as the Algarve, Villamoura by the mid-1980s had begin its evolution into the largest-in-size luxury resort in Europe. At the heart of the resort development was a marina with a capacity to berth 1,000 vessels. Villamoura II was the second golf course built in Villamoura (many others have been built since), both of them designed originally by Dutch-born but British-based architect Frank Pennink. The course today, lengthened even more since Jones’s partial remodeling of the golf course, measures 6,947 yards from the back tees, playing to a par 72.
All three of Jones’s Portuguese efforts rank today in the top 40 of the country’s golf courses: Troia at #6, Quinta da Marinha at #20, and Oceanica Pinhal at #39. Given how few American golfers travel to Portugal for golf vacations (though that number has risen significantly in recent years), each one of these golf courses are almost totally unknown as Trent Jones designs.
371 “finest seaside course I have ever seen” HWW quoted in Doak, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, p. 12.
371 “we received little if any of our fees” Cabell Robinson comments on author’s manuscript, 15 Nov. 2013.
371 “a chance that comes once in a lifetime” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 84.
371 “finest links course in the world” ibid.
372 “don’t see how any sane man can rate it superior to its older sister” Doak, Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, p. 12.
372 “confusion of the routing” See “Ballybunion Golf Club, Fore Linksters, accessed on 3 Oct. 2013, at http://forelinksters.com/course/ballybunion_golf_club_ballybunion.
372 “contrived ‘American style’” Quotes from “Ballybunion Golf Club, Fore Linksters, accessed on 3 Oct. 2013, at http://forelinksters.com/course/ballybunion_golf_club_ballybunion.
372 “every opportunity to use every spot” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 84.
372 “finest piece of linksland I have ever seen” ibid.
373 “I don’t think he finished the whole golf course” RGR to author, Bernardston, MA, 25 June 2011.
373 “a tremendous challenge” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 84.
373 “sandhills directly in play were far too severe” RGR to author, Bernardston, MA, 25 June 2011.
374 “without his complete and continued attention” ibid.
374 “This was a job for ‘Himself’” ibid.
374 “Mr. Jones had some great imagination” Cabell Robinson to author, Chattanooga, TN, 1 May 2012.
375 “the best he had ever designed” RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, p. 84.
375 “which is the reason you must go there” Doak, Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, pp. 12-13. A much stronger testimonial—in this case in true praise of the Trent Jones’s Cashen Course at Ballybunion—came from the eminent and highly discerning golf travel writer James W. Finegan. In his 1996 book Emerald Fairways and Foam-Flecked Seas: A Golfer’s Pilgrimage to the Courses of Ireland, Finegan gave a balanced review of Jones’s only Irish links. Thus far, Finegan wrote, the golf course has “failed to elicit anything like the admiration and affection prompted by the Old Course.” Frankly, “the overwhelming majority of golfers, members no less than visitors, have vehemently disliked it from the day it opened, insisting that it is contrived, insensitive, even outrageous.” But “with the passing of time and the implementation of certain changes, there is a growing, if grudging, acceptance of what I feel is a masterpiece”—“a flawed masterpiece, if you will, but a masterpiece nonetheless.” No question, “there were excesses.” A handful of greens were “satanically contoured . . . and several fairways were much too pinched by the encroaching sandhills.” Elevation changes, too many of the ups and downs, were “precipitous,” and a few of the forced carries were “too severe.” In the years after it opened, the course was, as Doak described it, “softened” a bit, but, in Finegan’s view, “this is still stirring stuff, with far more than its quota of remarkable golf holes—and no hole less than good is a highly unusual assortment that contains five par fives and five par threes.” The course was not at all long—less than 6,300 yards from the back tees against a par of 72. “Power is no requisite,” Finegan explained. “What is required is a willingness . . . to accept brilliant and daring and innovative golf holes which may, in the bargain, have a wart or two.” After careful deliberation about the course, and a couple of rounds on it under his belt, Finegan was convinced: Trent Jones’s creation at Ballybunion was “not only a worthy companion of the Old, it is a great course in its own right. Together, the two of them may well constitute the best 36 holes in one place anywhere.” (See James W. Finegan, Emerald Fairways and Foam-Flecked Seas: A Golfer’s Pilgrimage to the Courses of Ireland (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 1996), pp. 274-277.) Reading Finnegan’s highly favorable final evaluation of the Cashen Course, Roger Rulewich may want to take some credit for the design of the golf course, after all.
(One reader of the book in manuscript, who wishes to remain anonymous, notes about those who have criticized Jones’s Ballybunion New design for being “excessive,” “satanically contoured,” “too pinched in by the encroaching sandhills,” elevation changes too “precipitious,” and with a surfeit of “forced carries.” “These charges in spades can be laid against Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes, but everyone who goes to Bandon has drunk the Doakian/Coore-Crenshaw Kool-Aid.” Tom Doak designed Pacific Dunes (2001), and the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed Bandon Trails (2005). Both courses are part of a highly popular destination golf resort on the southern coast of Oregon. The original course there, Bandon Dunes (1999) was designed by David McKay Kidd. Doak, with principal assistance from Jim Urbina, also designed Old McDonald (2010) at Bandon, a tribute to the architecture of Charles Blair Macdonald. Coore and Crenshaw have also contributed Bandon Preserve (2012), a 13-hole par-3 course. On the history of Bandon Dunes and its foundation by developer Mike Kaiser, see Stephen Goodwin, Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2012). The title of the book derives from Mike Kaiser’s statement, “I wasn’t interested in commercial golf. I was interested in dream golf.” Most certainly, Kaiser would never have asked Robert Trent Jones Sr. to design a course for Bandon. Nor has Kaiser asked either of Jones’s two sons.)
Jones would build one more course in Ireland, in 1995, at Adare Manor, a colossal 19th century Tudor-style manor house, the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven, on the banks of the River Maigue in the village of Adare, in County Limerick, a 25-minute drive from Shannon Airport. In the 1980s, an Irish-American by the name of Tom Kane, a businessman and former marine who had fought in Vietnam, bought the lordly demesne for a reputed $2.5 and converted the magnificent white-stone residence into the Adare Manor Hotel. The design of an 18-hole championship golf course for the hotel was a project that Roger Rulewich felt obligated to finish for Jones in 1995 even though he had left Jones’s employ in 1993. (Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort would itself advertise the layout as “the last major golf course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Senior” (see “Adare Manor Golf Club,” Golf Ireland website, accessed 3 Oct. 2013, at www.golf.discoverireland.ie/Golf-Course/Golf-Ireland/Limerick-Adare-Golf-Golf-Courses-Parkland-Adare-Golf-Club/14423). A long par-72 course measuring 7,452 yards from the back tees, its parkland setting was majestic, amid mature trees and a great many aquatic features, including the River Maigue meandering throughout the entire golf course. Writing about Adare Manor just months after it opened, James Finegan called it “all the challenge a golfer could ever want.” Trent Jones has “laud out a course to rank among the three of four finest inland courses in Ireland and among the top 15 here overall.” The layout “roams over 230 acres of the 840-acre estate.” The manor house itself “hovers into view on a number of occasions during the round, not just at the beginning and the end.” In addition to the River Maigue and “a sneaky little tributary,” two ponds and a 14-acre lake “contribute[d] enormously to the aesthetic charms—and not simply from a visual standpoint.” On at least five holes, including three of the four finishing holes “we actually hear the water rushing over the weirs.” Golfers faced the menace of water on 10 holes—“sometimes the danger is remote; more often it is boldly confrontational.” While no hole at Adare was “less than good,” the last four constituted “a sparkling finish.” The par-5 18th hole, the “signature hole” and “a daunting piece of business,” was reminiscent of the 18th at Pebble Beach. Instead of the Pacific Ocean, the River Maigue ran all the way down the left side of the fairway. Overhanging the fairway for the second shot was a pair of “substantial trees” that forced one to lay up while flirting with the river.” The third shot, over the river, was “not long, but we must be up, and the green, cunningly is not deep.” It was “a great hole—beautiful, fraught with danger but entirely fair, making no untoward demands on the swing yet requiring control of it and of our nerves and our thinking at every juncture.” The 18th at Adare was “a prefect summation of all that has gone before.”
Not knowing that much of the credit for the course really should belong to Roger Rulewich, Finegan concluded: “I am certain that Jones, the preeminent figure in golf course architecture during the second half of the 20th century . . . must be pleased with his work at Adare. There can be observed here no diminution of his remarkable gifts” (Finegan, Emerald Fairways and Foam-Flecked Seas: A Golfer’s Pilgrimage to the Courses of Ireland, pp. 36-41).
375 “Personally, I have always considered Ballybunion to be the last course that Mr. Jones himself did” Cabell Robinson to author, Chattanooga, TN, 1 May 2012. As for Roger Rulewich and his work for Jones in the British Isles, he finished two other “manor” course for Jones in the British Isles; both of them at Celtic Manor in Wales, the country of Jones’s father’s birth. The first opened in 1994, was called the Roman Road, because a number of Roman ruins were found on the property. “It rambles through woods and along steep embankments with picturesque views of the lovely countryside,” Jones described shortly after the first Celtic Manor course was finished. The second course, called Coldra Woods, a par-59 “academy” course for beginners, having a mixture of par-3s and pars-4s, built around a lake. It opened in 1995in association with a golf academy begun at Celtic Manor by Wales’s foremost PGA star, Ian Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion. “Both courses have spectacular views of the Welsh hills to the north and the Bristol Channel to the south,” Trent was pleased to say. “They both roll across undulating contours and weave in and out of ancient woodlands, spanning ravines, lakes, and streams meandering through undulating meadows.”The “Via Julia” runs through Celtic Manor’s many acres of land. The road was built by the Romans leading to their legionary fortress at Caerleon. Trent was sure when he finished the courses that they were “truly of championship caliber” and were “built in an area with such outstanding natural beauty that without a doubt they will lure many major tournaments.” Adjoining the course was a “beautiful clubhouse and luxurious hotel” (RTJ, Just Me, Trent Jones, pp. 100-101).
Professional championships would be held at Celtic Manor. Between 2005 and 2007, the European PGA Tour’s Welsh Open was played on the Roman Road Course. It was converted to a par 69 (from par 70) for the event. For the five years prior to that, the Welsh Open had been played at a third golf course at Celtic Manor, Wentwood Hills, which was created by Trent’s son Bobby in 1999 for resort owner Sir Terry Matthews, a high-tech entrepreneur and Wales’s first billionaire. The following year, 2000, the first time the Welsh Open was played, and for the next four years after that, the tournament was held at Wentwood Hills. In 2005 the event moved to Trent Sr.’s par-69 Roman Road course as a temporary measure while Celtic Manor worked to build a brand new course for the 2010 Ryder Cup, which the European PGA had granted to Celtic Manor thanks to ardent campaigning by the Matthews clan. (A new course was needed because Wentwood Hills had some serious limitations as a Ryder Cup site. Smack dab within the course was a large hill that golfers had to trek over, down, and up and over again. It would pose an impossible challenge to the feet, leg muscles, and cardiovascular systems for the expected throngs of Ryder Cup spectators. Also there was almost no room along the routing of Wentwood Hills for erection of the mammoth tent city of golf-related businesses that had become part and parcel of every major golf tournament.) The new course eventually got built as the “Twenty Ten Course,”the first ever specifically designed from inception to host the Ryer Cup. Featuring nine brand new holes design by architect Ross McMurray of European Golf Design (a joint venture between the EuropeanTour and Mark McCormack’s International Management Group), the Twenty Ten incorporated nine holes from Wentwood Hills, which were “sensitively remodeled” by McMurray to fit with the overall style of the Ryder Cup layout, a creative blending of European and American design elements and construction. For continuity between Wentwood Hills and the new course, Robert Trent Jones II sent a talented and experienced shaper, Canadian Bob Harrington, to Wales to help McMurray particularly with the bunkering and otherwise blend the carry-over holes from Wentwood Hills into the Twenty Ten design. Eight new fairway bunkers were added and some reshaped or moved to new locations; a few new bunkers were added around some of the greens, while other greenside bunkers were reshaped and made deep, turning some of them into more like pots. The changes to the Robert Trent Jones II-designed holes mostly involved the slope and depth of the bunkering. (Holes #6 through #13 as well as #15 were retained from Wentwood Hills. Six of the new holes for the Twenty Ten Ryder Cup Course at Celtic Manor--#1 through #5, plus #14—were built in the floodplain. Above Bulmore Road, the final three holes--#16 through #18—were placed, because it was too difficult to walk, especially for spectators, to loop back uphill to the clubhouse. The building of the Twenty Ten course was a massively complicated project. An incredible amount of dirt had to be moved alongside the big hill. Visually, neither Ross McMurray, the architect, or Terry Matthews, the owner, wanted to do anything change the character of the landscape. As McMurray recalled, “It was a major challenge not to do that. The engineers played a very big role.” See James R. Hansen, “Another Ryder Cup Concession?” Golf Course Architecture 22: (Oct. 2010): 30-36.)
Had Trent Jones Sr. been around he might well have tried to convince Terry Matthews and the European PGA of the virtues of beefing up his Roman Road course rather than bothering with the new hybrid course. After all, the Roman Road had been ranked as “the top inland course in Wales” by a number of golf magazines for several years running. Already playing to 6,600 yards, the Roman Road could perhaps have been stretched another 400 yards and play to a par 70. But an existing Robert Trent Jones Sr. American style golf course was not what the European Tour, IMG, or Terry Matthews wanted for their 2010 Ryder Cup, even though the Roman Road possessed some spectacular holes and superb greens. They wanted a new course specifically tailored by Europeans for a European staging of the Ryder Cup matches. As for Coldra Woods, Trent would no doubt also have preferred for it to have stayed intact. Instead, Celtic Manor brought in English PGA star and Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie to remodel Jones’s par-59 academy course into a regulation layout. Montgomerie incorporated the opening and closing holes of the old Wentwood Hills course and made new use of all the land that had once housed Coldra Woods to produce a 6,371-yard, par-69 layout that came to be known by most of the golf world after it opened for play in 2007 as “the Montgomerie Course.”
376 “generated as much documentation as Vidauban” The story of Vidauban is such a grand and compelling story, full of mystery, intrigue, mistakes, and corruption, that it almost deserves a book of its own. The Vidauban narrative ranks as one of the most complex, fascinating, controversial, yet barely known tales in the history of golf.
376 “intended that the tournament would rival the Masters” Marketing packet, “Les Cascades des Maures,” 19 May 1981, Vidauban Files, JP, CUA.
377 “Dubois wanted to sell” A. Craig Copetas, “Exclusive Golf Club Keeps Secret with No Name,” 8 July 2009, Bloomberg News, accessed on 15 Apr. 2013, at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aOF8Wxg1LaJQ. Following the publication of A Difficult Par, Cathérine Fournil, managing director of the Vidauban golf course property, informed the author that the family owning the property were Bouis, not DuBois.
378 “it was an unbelievable amount” The quotes in this paragraph—and the paragraphs to follow dealing with the history of Vidauban—are all from a lengthy interview conducted with Cabell B. Robinson during the annual meeting of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in Chattanooga, TN, on 1 May 2012. The Vidauban story is such a complicated affair that the author decided, after long deliberation to allow one voice narrate the story rather than to bring in, and try to blend, the voice of other actors in and observers of the story. Situated in Europe as he was, for as long as he was, and in Jones’s employ, Cabell’s telling of the story seemed to the author to be the most direct as well as the most objective. As the author states in the text, someday a book about Vidauban should be written. As part of my research on Vidauban for this biography, I encouraged one my Honors College (undergraduate) students, Justin Melnick, to conduct research into Vidauban. After going through the several hundred pages of Vidauban material that I had photocopied from the Jones Papers in the Cornell Archives, young Mr. Melnick wrote a research proposal by which he became an “Undergraduate Research Fellow” of Auburn University, a highly distinguished honor. As part of his research project, funds were made available for Justin to travel to France in May 2013, see the Vidauban property, play a round of golf there, and talk to several people who are associated with the golf course, now called the “Prince de Provence,” including Cathérine Fournil, of the Fournil family which owned the Fournil estate, who serves as the managing director of the golf course; Richard Sorrell, the club pro and superintendent of the grounds; Michael Hilti, representative of the Norwegian owners; and Richard Wax, an American living in France who had gotten involved in Vidauban for the Jones family beginning in the late 1980s. The Honors thesis that Justin Melnick wrote based on his Vidauban research is available on the author’s website of A Difficult Par.
378 “Sea Pines Plantation” See John McPhee, Conversations with the Archdruid, NY, 1971, pp 92-93.
379 “Pisar sued Jones” There are a number of documents related to Samuel Pisar and Pisar’s lawsuit in the Vidauban Files within the Jones Papers at Cornell. Many of the documents are in French, only some of which have been translated into English. Most of the documents pertaining to the lawsuit date from 1979. Contrary to Cabell Robinson’s recollection that no feasibility study was done, there is evidence that a marketing expert from Spain was demanding $100,000 for a financial feasibility study for Vidauban at around the time Pisar was suing Jones.
380 “Gianola was a tough guy” Telephone interview, Blake Stafford, Mountain View, CA, to author, 31 Aug. 2013.
380 “I felt that we had too much going on” Cabell Robinson comments on author’s manuscript, 15 Nov. 2013.
381 “Somehow we had to cut a deal with somebody” Telephone interview, Blake Stafford, Mountain View, CA, to author, 31 Aug. 2013. During the years of research put into this book, the author spoke several times with Mr. Stafford about Vidauban. The string of quotes that make up Stafford’s narrative in this chapter all come from this most recent interview, however.
381 “which Bobby later designed” ibid. The course that was built by Bob Jr. was called Osprey Meadows at Tamarack Resort; it opened in 2005 to very enthusiastic reviews, although the resort failed in the wake of the Great Recession.]
382 “unparalleled facilities for the combination of golf and business” RTJ, GMC, p. 106.
383 “footprint for the proposed condos and homes” ibid., p. 157.
383 “Sir Michael Bonallack” There is conflicting testimony as to whether the R&A’s Bonallack attended Vidauban’s ceremonial opening in 1993.
383 “beautifully maintained by Otto Berg” RTJ Jr. quoted in the article “Prince de Provence” on the website “Top 100 Golf Courses of the World,” accessed on 7 Oct. 2013, at http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/productdetails.asp?id=541#rcsErJVg4bi5JA4G.99. On Vidauban, see also Michael Hanson, “Tee time for millionaires in spacious Provence,” Financ ial Times (London, England), 16 May 1992, and A.Craig Copetas, “Exclusive Golf Club Keeps Secret with No Name,” 8 July 2009, Bloomberg News, accessed on 15 Apr. 2013, at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aOF8Wxg1LaJQ