Chapter Three: A “New Deal” for Golf


55    “FDR’s New Deal” For a survey analysis of the New Deal’s impact on the development of golf in the United States, Kirsch, GiA, pp. 109-119. There was no way Jones could have foretold just how vital the Roosevelt Administration would prove to his success as a golf course architect; it is not certain that Jones even voted for Roosevelt, even though FDR was governor of Jones’s home state. Although Jones’s father was an ardent Democrat, Robert quite consciously diverged from his father’s way of life; his ambition to become a great and wealthy professional man tipped him politically over to the Republican side, as did his aspirations for marriage with Ione, whose family was staunchly behind the GOP. (In a letter dated 30 August 1974, an acquaintance of the Jones family in East Rochester wrote the following: “We often talk about you here and remember your [sic] laying out the Midvale Country Club. Mostly I recall you being a good basketball player at East Rochester High and with the O’Leary Perintons some 50 years ago. I also had come to know your father, W. B. Jones, at the carshops and his strong Democratic loyalty. Louis Providence, 511 West Filbert St., East Rochester, NY, to Robert Trent Jones, 173 Gates Ave., Montclair, NJ. Copy in Miscellaneous Files, JP, CUA.) But Jones was highly pragmatic. If he had been able to look into the future and see how much the New Deal would ultimately help build the sport of golf in America, his vote would have gone without hesitation to FDR and the Democratic promise of “Happy Days Are Here Again” rather than for incumbent Herbert Hoover and the Republican slogan “We Are Turning the Corner.” Even as it was, he found good reasons for optimism in Roosevelt’s landslide victory, in which the New York governor won 42 of the 48 states and 57.5 % of the popular vote. The morning after the election Jones wrote a consoling letter to Ione, who was bitterly disappointed—as her father was—that the Republicans lost the White House. “The election certainly proved a surprise as far as the stupendousness [sic] of the landslide was concerned,” Robert offered. “Roosevelt may make a very good President, dearest. I don’t believe that he is at all as radical as they would have you believe….. The most unfortunate thing of the whole election is the way in which the public overthrew Hoover. I certainly feel sorry for him. He really is a great American. He tried so hard, but it was futile, a victim of circumstances to which he had no control.” Though most everything that Robert knew—and likely thought—about the election involved what he read on the front page of his newspaper or heard on the radio (Jones had not taken a single class dealing with politics while at Cornell), he wanted, as always, to impress his beloved with how keen an analysis he could make of something other than golf. “Human nature is a funny thing,” he wrote her. “When the emotions of the people mobilize, they break down all economic laws, or any other laws, in their desire for an outlet. In this case, a change was the desirable outlet.” But the leitmotif of his letter was to reassure Ione that Roosevelt’s election might have a silver lining for his golf work and, therefore, for their chances of a wedded union in the not-too-distant future: “The Republican Party suffered a terrible blow, especially here in New York. But everything will turn out all right, my sweet, you will see. I shall get work and we shall be married, and happy.” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair, NJ, 9 Nov. 1932. New York, Jones’s home state, voted in favor of FDR over Herbert Hoover by a margin of 54.1% (2.5 million votes) to 41.3% (1.9 million votes), while Ione Tefft Davis’s home state of New Jersey preferred FDR by one of the slimmest margins in the nation, a mere 1.9%.)

56    “threw Jones out of his office” RTJ quotes from GMC, p. 81. On Slavin’s tenure as director of Rochester’s parks, see Blake McKelvey, “An Historical View of Rochester’s Parks and Playgrounds,” Rochester History XI (Jan. 1949): 1: 1-24.

56    “Clapps’s Baby Foods” Throughout his career Robert Trent Jones had an extraordinary knack of befriending potent individuals, some of whom he just stumbled upon and some who he targeted for cultivation. First, there was Sodus’s James Bashford, the millionaire owner of a vinegar factory who got Robert into Cornell and paid him a $1,000 per year stipend. Then came Harold Clapp, baby-food tycoon, the next in what would turn out to be a long line of sponsors, patrons, backers, and supporters. In his letters to Ione in the early 1930s, Jones mentioned several times that he had dinner at “the Clapps,” where he enjoyed such meals as “Turkey, peas, potatoes, a gelatin pudding, all made for my benefit!” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 13 March 1933. ) He played golf with Harold Clapp often, met a number of Clapp’s friends, and drove with the Clapp family for holidays at Sodus, where they owned a summer cottage and golfed.

56    “’how very much they liked’ her” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 3 Oct. 1933.

57    “Governor Roosevelt” Believing that “the greatest source of hope for the future” lay in the immediate implementation of local public works programs, Governor Roosevelt, upon election for a second term, called for legislation enabling the state to give immediate aid to its unemployed, declaring that “the duty of the State towards the citizens is the duty of the servant to its master…. This form of relief should not, of course, take the shape of a dole in any respect…. American labor seeks no charity, but only a chance to work for its living.” This quote is from a 27 March 930, press release from Roosevelt’s state industrial commissioner, Francis Perkins, cited in June Hopkins, “The New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration,” The Social Welfare History Project,, accessed on 2 June 2012.

57    “emergency relief of the unemployed” For more on the New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, see Barbara Blumberg, The New Deal and the Unemployed: The View From New York City (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1979).

57    “an ‘ideal project’” This document, which reads as Jones’s “manifesto” for public-relief golf course projects, is undated and untitled in the Durand-Eastman Files, Jones Papers, CUA. But the place of the document in the files, and the context of the 6-page, double-spaced document, places it firmly in the autumn of 1932.

59    “without option of purchase” A clubhouse for a municipal golf course would be “an attraction,” Jones explained, but “not a necessity.” If built, its cost “can usually be covered by the profits from the sale of food, soft drinks, and golf supplies, and by the rental of lockers,” but as “considerably more than a majority of those who use municipal golf courses carry their clubs to and from their homes,” locker rooms were not at all necessary. “Where a more ambitious program is feasible,” Jones explained, “a modest clubhouse can be built at small cost, particularly by the use of work-for-relief labor.” “Manifesto,” op cit., pp, 1-5.

59    “outstanding caliber”  ibid., pp. 5-6.

59    “the mayor of Rochester” RTJ to Honorable Charles S. Owen, City Hall, Rochester, NY, 25 Nov, 1932, Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA. Prior to the meeting, he had written Ione: “I am seeing the political leader today or tomorrow. I have been working my sales talk into shape so that it will be most effective. He has simply got to give us something. I can’t take no for an answer. We have got to get married, darling.” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 5 Oct. and 13 Oct. 1932.

60    “Surely God will help us” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 18, 21, and 22 Oct. 1932.

60    “toward the bright side” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 11 and 14 Nov. 1932.

60    “a slow moving vehicle” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NY, 25 Nov. 1932.

61    “winded by the mountain climbing” Faye Blanchard, editorial, “Mountain Golf,” Rochester Journal-American, 9 Aug. 1933, copy in Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.

61    “to the Journal-American’s sports editor” “Now the real excitement has started,” Jones wrote to Ione. “The Durand-Eastman Park Golf Club, formed of public links players, are all excited. They are going to cooperate with the Journal editor and put pressure on the city. Letters are to start coming in all in favor of the work. There is one angle I must look for. I don’t want the city fathers to think I started all this (which I have!). Mr. Clapp is going to take care of that. Here’s hoping! But it’s pretty good to have an editor on your idea so much that he declares war, eh!.... After I get this city job, we just have to get married. I won’t wait any longer. Life is too short to be waiting month after month away from you.” RTJ to ITD, 81 Hawthorne Place, Montclair, NJ, 9 Dec. 1932.

61    “advantage of immediate action” William R. Glavin, Letter to the Editor, Rochester Journal-American, 15 Dec. 1932, copy in Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.

62    “good news for you, too.” RTJ to ITD, 81 Hawthorne Place, Montclair, NJ, 17 Dec. 1932.

62    “work at the Durand links this winter” W.P. Gilbert, Letter to the Editor, quoted in “Dangerous Golf Holes,” Rochester Journal-American, 22 Dec. 1932, copy in Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.

62    “one of the regular patrons” Letter From a Regular Patron: Asks Action at Durand-Eastman Links,” Rochester Journal-American, 22 Dec. 1932, copy in Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.

63    “he would look into it” GMC, p. 81.

63    “will be much easier now.” RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NY, 8 Feb. 1933.

63    “city deal came all the way through” xxxx On 6 March, in a letter to Stanley Thompson, Jones wrote, “This relief work seems to be our hope.” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to Stanley Thompson, 57 Queens Street West, Toronto, 6 March 1933, Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.) The same day he wrote Ione, “I am a bit afraid about the city job. But the parks commissioner said he didn’t think there was any need to fear.” A week later he wrote to Ione: “The city work is getting my goat. It looks so good, yet I haven’t gotten it in ink, which I want before I can feel sure. I do so hope they hurry up.”RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 13 March 1933.

63    “wish that it would get settled”  RTJ, Rochester NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 6 and 8 March 1933.

64    “direction of a competent architect” T&J Inc., Golf and Landscape Architects, Wilder Bldg., Rochester, NY, Untitled proposal for remodeling of Durand-Eastman Park golf course, 22 June 1933, copy in Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.

65    “as fine as any municipal course”  RTJ to Mr. T. C. Briggs, City Manager, Rochester, NY, 10 July 1933, Durand-Eastman Filers, JP, CUA. Two days after submitting his prospectus, Jones sent another document to the city manager, a two-page letter listing major clients for whom he had done golf course work and other professional references. Surprisingly, William Slavin, the parks director, was on the list. RTJ to Mr. T. C. Briggs, City Manager, Rochester, NY, 12 July 1933, Durand-Eastman Filers, JP, CUA.

66    “not my intention to make the course hazardous” RTJ to Mr. T. C. Briggs, City Manager, Rochester, NY, 18 July 1933, Durand-Eastman Filers, JP, CUA. A few days later, Briggs informed Jones that he had drawn up the contracts for the golf course job and that Robert should drop in “to see if they are worded as they should be” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 22 July 1933.) Whether it was Jones’s persuasive answers to the city manager’s concerns or some other factor that clinched the job for Robert is unclear. Ironically, the deciding factor could have been the support of Patrick Slavin. “The parks commissioner is certainly all for me now,” Jones wrote Ione on 6 June. “He wants the work done very badly.” RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 6 June 1933.

66    “$8,000 worth of grass” GMC, p. 81.

66    “be the nicest ever” RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 22 Aug. 1933. The very first day of construction (7 August 1933), a fire started down in the valley where trees and brush were being cleared which “spread like wildfire as an unexpected breeze came up” and required a fire truck. RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 7 Aug. 1933.

67    “It’s quicksand.” GMC, p. 82. Jones informed Professor Robb: “I have a particularly subtle drainage problem on a golf course on which I am building for the city of Rochester. Like Socrates I find it necessary to call on my teacher at times. Could you come to Rochester the first part of next week and spend a day with me clearing up this problem?” (RTJ to Professor B. B. Robb, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, 16 Aug. 1933, Durand-Eastman Files, JP, CUA.) Robb spent the day at Durand-Eastman with his former student on 23 August, as Robert told Ione: “Professor Robb is helping me with the intricate drainage problem that the Durand course offers. I want to be sure about everything. There can be no hitches.” RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 22 Aug. 1933.

67    “He’s doing all right.” GMC, p. 82.

67    “on some ugly pieces of land”  ibid.

67    “three thousand more golfers” RTJ to ST, 57 Queens Street West, Toronto, Canada, 24 May 1935, in ST Files, JP, CUA. Jones reported this information about Durand-Eastman in response Thompson’s request for anything that could help him make a more persuasive case for government support of municipal and park golf course construction in Canada.

67    “I wanted to build golf courses.” C.B. McKay, Law Offices of McKay & Headley, Rochester, NY, to Theodore Briggs, City Manager, City Hall, Rochester NY, 28 Sept. 1933; John M. Tucker to Briggs, 29 Sept. 1933; A.B. Headley, Architect, Rochester NY, to Patrick Slavin, Rochester NY, 29 Sept. 1933. All three of these letters are in the Durand-Eastman Files, Jones Papers, Cornell University Archives. Jones’s quote about Slavin is from GMC, p. 82.

68    “wedding ceremony” In an undated and non-referenced article on “Robert Trent Jones, A Name to Be Remembered,” found by the author in the Miscellaneous Files of the Jones Papers at Cornell, the following story is told about the Jones’s marriage: “Ione Davis patiently stood in the slow-moving line. She was about to apply for her marriage license. As happens, even with strangers, when time and lines move slowly, it helps to strike up a conversation with other reluctant standees. The talkative, beaming young woman in front of Miss Davis grew vocally impatient as the creep-along line of future brides and grooms wended its way toward the clerk’s desk. After lamenting her discomfort, the woman asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Ione Davis.’ ‘And what will your new name be?’ ‘Jones’ was the one-word reply. The woman repeated the name… ‘Jones, Jones. And your name now is Davis. You aren’t really improving your name too much. You’re not moving up… Jones doesn’t sound all that much more important than Davis, but I guess you like it.’ Undaunted by the doleful demeanor of the socially critical standee, Ione smiled and answered she was happy with the name. ‘I’m not marrying him for his name but because I love him. And I happen to think he has a very attractive name—Robert Trent Jones.” The article appears to have been published by a magazine in 1980s, on pp.112-116.

68    “father endorsed” One can imagine that the vigor with which Robert came to defend government spending for golf stemmed at least in part from some probing conversations he had with his skeptical father-in-law. “I saw nothing wrong with the federal government basically paying for the building of public golf courses,” Jones would declare years later. “If the WPA could pay the unemployed to rake leaves, I didn’t see why a golf course wasn’t a legitimate project. It was self-liquidating, and it provided something permanent and beautiful for the community.” GMC, p. 82.

68    “The Squire” In 1935 Sarazen would win The Masters Tournament, which was only the second time the event had been played, thereby becoming the first golfer to complete what today is considered a “Career Grand Slam.” Today the four “majors” in championship golf, meaning the universally-regarded (but unofficial) elite tier of annual tournaments, are The Masters (always played at Augusta National, in Augusta, Georgia), U.S. Open, British Open (“The Open Championship” and the PGA Championship, the latter three of which move their venue from year to year. Prior to the Master’s era, which began in 1934, the four majors were the U.S. Open, British Open, U.S. Amateur, and British Amateur (“The Amateur Championship”). It was the latter four events that Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, who played as an amateur and never as a professional, won as the “Grand Slam” in 1930. The “Modern Grand Slam” means winning all four of the “modern” majors in the same calendar year. Bobby Jones is still the only player to accomplish that feat. Tiger Woods won all four events in succession in 2000-2001, but not all during the same calendar year. Along with Woods’s singular accomplishment, only four other golfers have won “Career Grand Slams”: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. Sarazen completed the feat when he won the 1935 Masters.

69    “I went to Gene” GMC, p. 81.

69    “Colgate property” In early October 1933, while still working hard to finish Durand-Eastman’s remodeling, Jones “started the ball rolling on the Colgate job” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 3 Oct. 1933.) One of Robert’s Rochester friends, a Midvale member by the name of Ken Courtney, had recommended him to William A. Reid, Colgate’s “graduate manager of athletics,” the term the school then used instead of “athletic director.” Driving down to the Hamilton (all-male) campus to introduce himself to Reid and survey the rudimentary 9-hole “Seven Oaks” golf course that dated back to 1916 (modified in the 1920s by Scottish-born architect Thomas Winton) which lay situated behind the dormitories among a herd of grazing cows, Jones came away with every confidence that he would get the Colgate job. It was sometime during the next two weeks that Jones first contacted Sarazen, by long-distance telephone, about his idea for the partnership. As Jones informed Ione, a second phone call to Sarazen, a guest at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, sounded very promising. “I had another talk with Gene Sarazen,” Robert wrote to Ione on 24 October. “He is coming up to Hamilton between 6-11 of November. He seemed to warm up to my idea nicely. There ought to be a telegram in my office now saying that exact thing.” Actually the message came four days later. “I had a wire from Sarazen saying that he could not give me a definite date for his visit until Friday,” he informed Ione. “That at least shows that he is keen about the prospects” (RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 25 and 28 Oct. 1933). Anxious to arrange Sarazen’s participation, an impatient Robert took a train down to New York City so he could talk to the recent PGA champion face-to-face. In a follow-up letter to Sarazen, Jones wrote:


                      I enjoyed the dinner the other night, also the opportunity of becoming better acquainted. I certainly know one thing more                       impressibly [sic] than I did before. If Gene Sarazen is in the role of gentleman farmer he will have the best trout, apples,                         cows, and chickens, in the countryside. The same spirit that wins Open championships seems to saturate through all                                 phases of your accomplishments. I know too as co-designer of a famous golf course it will have to be good. It’s going to                             be good. I told Bill Reid of your enthusiasm which pleased him very much. He tells me that he will have no trouble raising                         enough money for the course. He also says, “The best is none too good,” which makes it unanimous.


RTJ to Mr. Gene Sarazen, 750 Pelhamdale Avenue, New Rochelle, NY, 7 Nov. 1933. Colgate Files, JP, CUA.)

69    “Doctor of International Golf” RTJ to Mr. Gene Sarazen, 750 Pelhamdale Avenue, New Rochelle, NY, 7 Nov. 1933. Colgate Files, JP, CUA.

70    “get Sarazen to the university” See RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 15 Jan. 1933, for Jones’s reference to putting off his appendectomy until after Sarazen visited Colgate.

70    “do this at all the colleges” GMC, p. 81.

71    “your name should be brought to the front” RTJ to ST, c/o T&J Inc., 57 Queen Street West, Toronto, Canada, 17 Jan. 1934; ST to Mr. Robert Jones, 311-312 Wilder Bldg., Rochester, NY, 21 Jan. 1934. Both letters in Colgate Files, JP, CUA.

71    “already has pending negotiations” Leonard F. Wilbur, “Sarazen Starts Drive for College Golf,” Golfdom, Feb. 1934.

71    “lasting substantial interest” Herb Graffis, Editor, Golfdom, Chicago, IL, to RTJ, T-J & Co., 110 Wilder Bldg., Rochester, NY, 13 Mar. 1934, in Graffis Files, JP, CUA. The Golfdom editor ended his missive: “I want to keep in touch with you on this college and CWA business. There are a number of imminent developments that may make this contact mutually helpful and possibly profitable.”

72    “greater NYC metropolitan area” Jones did his best to dissuade Sarazen from stirring up publicity about such possibilities until the Colgate deal was finalized. In a letter to Sarazen he wrote:


                       "I personally feel that just at this time when Colgate is about to raise the money it could easily throw a wrench into the                              machinery if you were to become interested in any other work than Colgate. Even the slightest doubt put into the minds                          of the alumni just at this point would be detrimental. If there were any doubt about it I would rather have the Colgate job                          go over smoothly than to get the work with the city. With the dignity of the University and the board of directors they                                  have lined up, Colgate should prove to be the greatest golf course in America.


                       If Mayor La Guardia wanted Sarazen to help build golf courses for New York City, Jones pleaded that Gene only get                                    involved at this point as a “silent partner.” After Colgate was settled, “we can do what we wish regarding further                                          relations with the city. P. S. Remember, Gene, that Bobby Jones’ course received the publicity because the public does                              not expect that he will build another.” RTJ to Gene Sarazen, 10 May 1934, in Colgate Files, JP, CUA.


73    “Village of Hamilton” The opening summary of Reid’s WPA proposal made this change of character clear:


                       The project is for a proposed municipal golf course on land purchased for that purpose by the Village of Hamilton. The                              course would be the only eighteen hole course between the City of Utica and Binghamton (north and south); Syracuse                              and Cooperstown (east and west). It would be the beginning of a proposed park and recreational development.                                            Maintenance and support of the course is assured thru 1200 students of Colgate University, located in the Village, in                                addition to the 600 alumni who frequently return, as well as many outside visitors and faculty of the University. The                                    project would be felt nationally thru the students who would learn to play on this course and then continue play in their                            home localities after graduation. The project would satisfy a demand which has been felt for some time but which could                          not be accomplished without Federal funds.[i]


The Village of Hamilton included the Colgate college community, but the ownership and administration of the golf course was to be in the hands of the municipal government. Works Progress Administration, Project Proposal, W.P.A. Form 301, submitted by the Village of Hamilton, NY, 15 Aug. 1935, copy in Colgate Files, JP, CUA,

73    “over his long career” The estimated total cost of the Hamilton WPA golf course project was put at $93,031, with $60,318 of the overall figure for labor and $52,800 of that labor money going to “unskilled” workers. Interestingly, there was no money in the proposed budget for an architect’s fee; Jones (and Reid) must have had some other means in mind for covering that. Whether Reid got the figure of “more than one hundred golf courses” from Jones or not, it was a major exaggeration of how many courses Robert had worked on in his first five years of his career. Throughout his career, Jones would nearly always exaggerate that number, as a good salesman and a shameless self-promoter would.

          It is not known how much money Jones was paid for his Colgate work. The club’s historian James Ford has informed the author (telephone conversation, 20 June 2012) of a story that has circulated for many years at Seven Oaks Golf Club that Jones used the money he got from his Colgate work to buy a diamond ring for his fiancé. But as earlier discussed—in Chapter 2—Jones had purchased a diamond for Ione during his trip to Banff in the summer of 1932. There is no mention in Jones’s love letters of 1934-35 of another diamond ring. Given how much he praised the ring he bought in Canada in the letters written to Ione, one would think there would be some mention of another ring, if there was one.

73    “took the award away” “Approves Plans for Golf Links, WPA Plans 18-Hole Municipal Golf Course Here,” Hamilton Republican, 14 Nov. 1935. According to this story in the local newspaper, Mayor Reid had just that week received notification from Thomas B. Bergen of Utica, the district WPA director, that Hamilton’s proposal had been approved. The story continued: “Two days before the November 5 elections it was unofficially reported in an Associated Press story from Albany that Lester W. Herzog, upstate WPA administrator, had approved the expenditure of $97,276 for the course.”

73    “the Federal Post Office and a sewer line” The WPA’s reversal, turning down Hamilton’s WPA proposal, was announced at the meeting of Colgate University’s Athletic Council on 10 Jan. 1936. The minutes read: “The golf course project has been recalled by the WPA. William Reid felt that the chief reason was communication printed in the local newspaper in opposition by a citizen of the village, who happens to be a member of the Colgate faculty.” The author thanks Mr. William Ford of Hamilton, New York, for providing him with copies of the Village of Hamilton newspaper clippings and the minutes of the Colgate Athletic Council.

73    “there was no other money” GMC, p. 81.

73    “J. Melbourne Shortliffe” In lengthy letters to the town’s newspaper, the Hamilton Republican, Dr. Shortliffe, a 1910 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University who had taught previously at Dartmouth and Harvard, expressed the same sort of ideological criticism of spending government money on golf courses that was privately harbored by Jones’s father-in-law; thus, another irony in the story.[ii] In doing so, the professor also condemned the wheeling and dealing that was going on behind the scenes to bring in the public money. In other words, what killed the project was not really opposition to a golf course but opposition to the WPA. J. Melbourne Shortliffe, Communication to the Editor of the Hamilton Republican, 21 Nov. 1935 and 12 Dec. 1935. Other letters on the matter of the Village of Hamilton’s WPA proposal were also published in the newspaper, both pro and con.

73    “We Piddle Around” One Texas Congressman went so far as to call the WPA “a seedbed for communism,” while others attacked it for being the building block for a national political machine to keep Roosevelt and the Democrats in office. Many people condemned the WPA for “being bad for people since it gives them poor work habits.” By 1935, wild stories about the cost of WPA projects were rampaging across the country by 1935, such as the false report that the cost of killing a single rat in one WPA extermination project was $2.97 (over $48 per rat in current dollars). The Texas Congressman who saw the WPA as “a seedbed for communism” was Martin Dies, Jr., who, in 1946, would help create the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities; originally Dies, from Texas’s Second District, was a Democrat who supported the New Deal. On the false report that a WPA extermination program cost $3.97 per rat, see Donald S. Howard, The WPA and Federal Relief Policy (New York: Da Capo Press, 1943), p. 155. For excellent coverage of WPA history, with discussion of the agency’s critics, see Nick Taylor, American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA (New York: Bantam Books, 2008), Nancy Rose, Put to Work: The WPA and Public Employment in the Great Depression (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2009), and Eli Ginzburg, The Unemployed (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publisher, 2004).

74    “without using the hill at all” RTJ to AK, p. 32. See also GMC, p. 83.

75    “director of the entire New York state park system” Robert Moses quoted in “James Frederick Evans, Cornelius Amory Pugsley State Medal Award, 1956,” accessed on 29 June 2012 at On the career of Robert Moses, see Robert A. Caro’s brilliant biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (New York: Vintage, 1975) and Hilary Ballon and Kenneth T. Jackson, Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008). Evans would play leading roles in such projects as the Niagara Power Authority, Jones Beach, Fire Island, Lily Lake Crippled Children’s State Park, and New York World’s Fair Authority. Most importantly for Robert Trent Jones, Evans during the Depression made sure that the state of New York received big chunks of Federal funds through the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps. Evans was also an avid golfer. Better yet, in his work for the state park system he himself had gotten involved in some golf course design, notably at Chenango State Park in Broome County (whose country seat was Binghamton), on the border with Pennsylvania. There in the early 1930s Evans assisted Laurie Cox in the design of Riverside Golf Course, a 9-hole course that was constructed by the CCC. (In 1967 the Riverside course was redesigned by architect Hal Purdy, expanded to 18 holes, and renamed the Chenango State Park Golf Course.)

75    “won’t believe there is such a thing as influence” RTJ, Rochester, NY, to ITD, Montclair NJ, 15 Sept. 1931.

76    “both probably go to jail for it” RTJ to AK, pp. 32-33. See also GMC, p. 83.

76    “rose to $7,054.27 and $11,357.75, respectively” Green Lakes Club, Inc., “Preliminary Statement of Condition at end of Season of 1936,” 1 Dec. 1936; Green Lakes Club, Inc., “Comparative Statement of Income and Expenses for the Years 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1940. Both documents in Green Lakes Files, JP, CUA.

76    “a lot of money then” GMC, p. 83.

77    “92 Wachtung Avenue” RTJ to ST, T-J&Co., Toronto, 25 Mar. 1937. On their apartment, see RTJ to ST, 26 Jan. 1938. Both letters are in the Thompson Files, JP, CUA.

77    “all my potential customers for free” RTJ Sr. to AK, pp. 40-41.

77    “till filled with cash” The author was told this story about Jones’s reversal of the nines by Rocky Kelly, the son of long-time Green Lakes professional Emmett Kelly, who succeeded his father in the position in the 1960s. Kelly, father and son, have been the only club professionals that Green Lakes golf course has ever had.

77    “exhibitions at Green Lakes” RTJ Sr. to AK, p. 33. See also GMC, p. 83. Jones had Evans, a “southpaw,” ceremoniously drive the opening ball off the first tee to a group of waiting caddies, with the caddy coming up with the ball in the mad scramble receiving a prize of $2.00.

78    “I couldn’t stop them” Jones told the story about Sam Snead and a $98 “gate” for an exhibition that he and Gene Sarazen put on at Green Lakes State Park golf course in 1987 when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at Pinehurst. After the induction, as Jones told the story, a gentleman came up to him and said, “I loved that Snead story. You’re the only guy who ever put anything over on Sam.” See GMC, p. 85.

78    “gold mine of yours in Syracuse” Handwritten letter, Gene Sarazen, Valley Ridge Farm, Brookfield Center, CT, to RTJ, 26 Apr. 1939, Sarazen Files, JP, CUA.78 “decided to give it back to the state” GMC, p., 85.

78    “more than a dozen railroad fares” RTJ to Mr. Carl Crandell, Executive Secretary, Central New York State Parks Commission, Kilmer Building, Binghamton, NY, 2 Oct. 1944, in Green Lakes Files, JP, CUA.

78    “questioning the expenses” See Jones letter cited directly above as well as Carl Crandell, Executive Secretary, Central New York State Parks Commission, Kilmer Press Building, Binghamton, NY, 9 Oct. 1944, Green Lakes Files, JP, CUA. In July 1945, Evans, in his capacity as Director of State Parks in Albany, wrote to Crandell: “Why can’t you get more money out of Bob Jones? I think we should start on a program of equipping this concession, so that it will be entirely state-owned and controlled—and Bob Jones, or whoever may succeed him, will be in the position of a manager, not the owner.” James F. Evans, Director of State Parks, State Conservation Department, Division of Parks, Arcade Building, Albany, NY, to Mr. Carl Crandell, Executive Secretary, Central New York State Parks Commission, Binghamton, NY, 3 July 1945, in Green Lakes Files, JP, CUA.

78    “a far cry from the $1 per year” License Agreement for Golf Course Concession, Standard Provisions, “The operation of the Green Lakes Golf course and clubhouse, Apr. 1, 1945, to Mar. 31, 1946,”signed and approved July 23, 1945, copy in Green Lakes Files, JP, CUA. Perhaps the questions raised about Jones’s administration of Green Lakes at the nd of World War II explain why his autobiography paints a rosy picture of his tenure coming to an end at Green Lakes. Still, Green Lakes would forever remain one of Robert’s “favorite places” (GMC, p. 85) In return, Green Lakes has remembered him fondly, in 1996 naming its clubhouse after him on the occasion of the golf course’s 60th anniversary.