Category Archives: General

2016 Season Brings Top Players to 13 Compelling Rees Jones-Designed Courses

Venue List includes PGA Championship, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Amateur Championship and the Ryder Cup

Golf Course Designer Rees Jones

JANUARY 20, 2016 — Legendary golf course architect Rees Jones is no stranger to design and renovation, especially golf courses that host crowd-pleasing tournaments and major championships with historical significance. In 2016 alone, there are 13 tournament that have the design or redesign influence of this masterful architect and his talented team at Rees Jones, Inc.

To date, Rees Jones has worked on seven U. S. Open venues (which collectively, hosted 12 championships), eight PGA Championship venues (hosting 11 championships) plus five Ryder Cup venues, two Walker Cup venues and one Presidents Cup. Do the math, for the number of high-profile golf tournaments/championships that are on courses coveting the design/style and sensibility of Rees Jones, is quickly becoming an impressive number.

“Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work on a variety of existing courses, mindfully assisting with renovations or redesigns, and yet, I’ve also been asked by clients to create newly-designed courses,” said Rees Jones. “I must admit, I never imagined having my name associated with so many courses that would ultimately serve as venues for major championships. I guess one could say, it has become a defining part of my career.”

With all of Jones’ well-accomplished work, it has earned the talented course designer a nickname—folks in golf circles have respectfully tagged him as the “Open Doctor” for his keen work in preparing courses for major tournaments.

In fact, four of the 13 Rees Jones-designed venues in 2016 are major events and/or championships. They include: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club (North/South), Sammamish, WA (June 9-12, 2016); PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course), Springfield, NJ (July 28-31, 2016); U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club (South Course), Bloomfield Hills, MI (August 15-21, 2016), and the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, MN (September 30-October 2, 2016).

Sahalee_17bSahalee Country Club (South/North) Hole #17

Baltusrol4LowerJuly2015Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course) Hole #4

Copy of Hazeltine#10Hazeltine National Golf Club, Hole #10

Also included in the list of 13 2016 tournaments which will be hosted at a Jones design or redesigned course are: The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island Golf Club (Plantation Course, new to the 2015-16 PGA Tour wrap around season), St. Simons Island, GA; Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), La Jolla, CA; Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City, CA; Shell Houston Open at The Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course), Humble TX; Quicken Loans National (formally the AT&T National) at Congressional Country Club (Blue Course), Bethesda, MD; The Barclays at Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, NY and the Tour Championship By Coca-Cola at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA.

It has become apparent that the USGA, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour view Jones’ designed/renovated courses as compelling venues for hosting major championships and prestigious tournaments; courses that test the talent of the world’s best players. “I guess these courses have proven to stand the test of time,” stated Jones, bearing a slight grin.

“Rees makes his golf courses enjoyable challenges for the everyday player while enabling the layouts to be stout tests for those competing in the highest-level championships” said David Fay, the former USGA executive director, who has worked with Jones on a number of USGA events, most notable Bethpage Black. “The fact that a large number of Major-Championship sites have been designed or renovated by Rees speaks for itself.”

One need not look further than Bethpage Black, the site of the 2002 US Open won by Tiger Woods while surrounded by the loudest crowd in US Open history. Since then, Bethpage has hosted the 2009 US Open and has recently been selected to host both the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup.

“Reflecting back, one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in my career was when Bethpage Black hosted the 2002 U.S. Open, (dubbed the “Peoples Open”) because, for the first time, a U.S. Open was held on a state-owned public golf course” said Jones.

Another venue receiving a second nod is Torrey Pines South which has been awarded the 2021 U.S. Open. The 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pine South was considered by many golf enthusiasts to be the most exciting U.S. Open championship ever. No one will ever forget the riveting performance by Woods to outlast Rocco Mediate in a pressure-filled Monday playoff— one that was decided on the first sudden-death hole after both players shot even par 71’s in the 18-hole playoff.

Other venues which have hosted multiple major championships after Jones and his team have remodeled the course include: Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course (2001 and 2011 PGA Championship, 2014 U.S. Amateur), Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course (2005 and 2016 PGA Championship, 1993 U.S. Open), Bellerive Country Club (2018 PGA Championship, 2013 Senior PGA Championship), Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course (1997 and 2011 U.S. Open, 1995 Senior Open), Hazeltine National Golf Club (2002 and 2009 PGA Championship, 1991 U.S. Open, 2006 U.S. Amateur, 2016 Ryder Cup), Medinah Country Club’s Course #3 (2006 PGA Championship, 2012 Ryder Cup), Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course (2008 PGA Championship, 2004 Ryder Cup, 2016 U.S. Amateur) and Sahalee Country Club’s North/South Course (1998 PGA Championship, 2010 U.S. Senior Open, 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship).

To date, Jones and his team, have designed and/or redesigned courses that will have hosted 163 tournaments. So, for the avid golfer or golf spectator, when you’re watching your favorite golf broadcasts this season, take note as to who designed the course, for there’s a good chance it’s a Rees Jones Design.

More about Rees Jones, Inc.

Founded in 1974, the firm of Rees Jones, Inc. customizes the design and supervises the construction of new golf course layouts for public, private, resort and planned real estate community developments in the U.S. and abroad. They are also noted for their award-winning work in course restoration and renovation at scores of venues worldwide, of which several have hosted major championships, earning company founder Rees Jones the nickname, “The Open Doctor.” This well-established design firm provides innovative solutions and tailors its traditional yet timeless design to each client’s needs while also building strategic options into courses to ensure flexibility and continuing interest to golfers of all skill levels. As stewards of the environment, the firm remains committed to creating sustainable golf courses that co-exist in harmony with nature. To learn more about Rees Jones, Inc., visit

Photos Courtesy of Rees Jones, Inc.

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf by Dr. Bradley S. Klein

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf by Dr. Bradley S. KleinIn golf the playing field is also landscape, where nature and the shaping of it conspire to test athletic prowess. Bradley S. Klein, a leading expert on golf course design and economics, finds much to contemplate, and much more to report, in the way these wide-open spaces function as landscapes that inspire us, stimulate our senses, and reveal the special nature of particular places.

A mediation on what makes golf course compelling landscapes, there is also a personal memoir that follows Klein’s unique journey across the golfing terrain, from the Bronx and Long Island suburbia to the American prairie and thePacific Northwest. Whether discussing Robert Moses and Donald Trump and the making ofNew York City, or the role of golf in the development of the atomic bomb, or the relevance of Willa Cather to how the game has taken hold in Nebraska Sandhills, Klein is always looking for the freedom and the meaning of golf’s wide-open spaces. As he searches, he offers a deeply informed and absorbing view of golf courses as cultural markers, linking the game to larger issues of land use, ecology, design, and imagination.

An Interview with Dr. Bradley S. Klein

1. What motivated you to write “Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf” and why now?

I’ve been writing short essays and columns for 25 years and I wanted to extend them into longer, more analytical studies of golf – or more particularly, about the landscapes that I think are the most compelling in all of sorts – golf courses.

2. What will readers discover in “Wide Open Fairways” that is absent from most other contemporary golf books?

I’m a writer by basic disposition, and I think there’s a great tradition of golf writing. In the face of all of these coffee-table pictorials about great golf courses there are precious few detailed accounts of what makes these sports fields so special.

The notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is only true if you’re reading people who can’t properly express the feelings and power of what these places suggest to you. I’m someone who works off of feelings and sensibilities. My writing is non-technical; I hardly ever take notes about golf courses and have no interest in describing how you play it – or worse yet, how someone else plays it. So I wanted to convey something that I think is missing in all of the literature about golf – the place of these as cultural landmarks, rooted in specific places and ways of life. So I invoke history, fiction, imagination and politics. I spend so much time on the road – 150 days a year, and I’ve been doing it for 20 years – that I thought I had something different to offer golfers.

Besides that, I think that golf can be made interesting to non-golfers. In fact, my imagined audience as I write is always the non-golfer, someone who reads and thinks creatively but would normally think golf boring and a waste of time. If I can capture them and draw them in, then I’ve done my job. So I had all of these short essays from various publications sitting around and the task was to translate them into a sustained idiom with more depth and context than my magazine space allows me. So I situate these accounts, whether it’s the Nebraska Sand Hills and Willa Cather’s fictional accounts about the struggles of life on the prairie; or the role of the Los Alamos,New Mexicogolf course in the development of the atomic bomb; or the way flooding affects golf inMinot,North Dakota.

3. This book is more than a chronicling of compelling golf landscapes, it is also a memoir. What prompted you to share your personal journey in this particular piece of work?

The immediate occasion for this book was my father’s death in May 2011. I literally started it the day after he died and finished it a year later, on the night before his unveiling – the Jewish ritual of showing the gravestone. The first part of the book is a very personal account of what it was like growing up with a mentally ill dad. He wasn’t wacko crazy, just not quite ‘there” and unable to focus on our needs as kids growing up. I had a powerful but sad relationship with him, and it took a very long time for him to see that I was there as his son.

Along the way, I found golf as a refuge; thus the attraction of getting out of the house early in the day and exploring the freedom that “wide open space” afforded me. So the book starts off there, in a sad but weirdly comic way. And it ends with a chapter describing how I was able to create my own golf course, so to speak, through a municipal project in the town where we now live inConnecticut, where we got Pete Dye to design a course for $1 that we spent nine years building.

So the book, while personal, also is a public account of how golf can provide a refuge. And in this I doubt I am alone. I’m sure many others have shared in the sense of freedom and joy that golf provides. What I tried to do in this book was explain that sense of freedom – something you can’t get from a picture of a beautiful golf course.

4. This certainly isn’t the first book that you’ve written. What other meaningful golf books have you written and/or published?

Well, they were meaningful to me. I’ll let others decide if they had any meaning for them. My first collection of short essays, called “Rough Meditations,” came out in 1997 and in an expanded edition in 2006. I also spent three years writing a very detailed biography, “Discovering Donald Ross” that won the USGA International Book Award for 2001 and was reissued in an expanded edition in 2011. Along the way I also wrote a club history, “Desert Forest Golf Club: the First 40 Years” (2004), that is actually a history of golf inArizona. And another club history about “Sebonack” (2009), which manages to convey a good bit of the history of golf course design onLong Island. These last two projects involved very close work with a skilled graphics designer, Carol Haralson, who has the considerable virtue of knowing nothing about golf – until now. We seem to work well together and I’m looking forward to working with her again on another project.

About the Author

Bradley S. Klein is architecture editor of Golfweek magazine and runs its national golf course rating system. He is a former PGA Tour caddie and has been inducted into the International Caddie Hall of Fame. He lectures widely to professional trade groups throughout the U.S. and overseas on topics relating to golf design, the golf development industry, and golf course operations and maintenance. Additionally, he makes himself available for speaking engagements and/or book signings at public, private and resort facilities. He can be reached at (860) 508-7696.

Wide Open Fairways: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf is available through University of Nebraska Press or at

An Interview with Annie Loughlin, Author of The Golf Letters: Tee Tales

Ann LoughlinYou might say that golf runs in Annie’s blood. She had uncles who were captains of the Notre Dame and Georgetown golf teams and began her golf career as a tournament official for the Women’s Professional Golf Tour out of Palo Alto, Calif. She was the 5th woman in California to obtain her PGA Class A status–today only 500 women out of 22,000 PGA professionals hold Class A status.

A teacher for more than 22 years, Annie has compiled a number of stories and anecdotes into a little book she calls The Golf Letters. It’s available in print as well as the Kindle ebook format.

Annie shares a few of her thoughts about teaching and golf.

1. Do you ever tell your students stories from Golf Letters? Which ones get the most laughs or get people to think the most?

Yes, all the time. I find that the student needs to have levity brought to the lesson as this enhances the learning. Sometimes they tell me an anecdote, and I say, “Oh, that little story will be in my next book.” They like that idea. The student is my best source for everything I learn while teaching. Here are a couple of short anecdotes that are included in the book:

Playing Through
A friend of mine was playing with his regular group of buddies. They came upon a foursome of ladies on a par 3. The ladies were not moving along expeditiously. They hit their tee shots on the par 3 and were chatting up a storm. There was some extra room between the ladies and the group ahead who were already on the next hole. The women waved the group of buddies up and said, “Why don’t you play through here?”

The buddies agreed and they hit their shots and began walking to the green. They noticed the ladies were now hurrying up which they thought a bit odd. However, they continued on up to the green. They arrived at the green, only to see the ladies there ahead of them and hitting their shots.

The buddies exclaimed, “We thought you wanted us to play through?”

The ladies looked at them, smiled and exclaimed, “Yes, we did, but we got here first!”

Golf and the Pyramids
The pro shop, the driving range, the clubs, the bags, the balls and many things about golf can be intimidating to someone who hasn’t been educated on its procedures. I have a good friend who runs programs for Girl Scouts in Montana. She recounted her first foray to the driving range and her first time at a very nice resort. All the range balls were piled pyramid style, as they sometimes are for presentation and appearances only.

My friend told me she thought the pyramids were very nice and she began to hit. She figured it was going to take forever to hit all those balls. Yes, she thought she had to hit every last ball in the pyramid. No one told her otherwise.

So, she proceeded to do just that. She had to hit fast, though, because it was a warm-up for her game. She was to tee off in 15 minutes. She did manage to hit the whole pyramid, but obviously, was worn out for her round of golf!

2. What do you talk about in your speaking engagements?

I usually gear my speaking engagements to the audience, just like I do with my golf lessons. I start by telling a few of The Golf Letters, Tee Tales anecdotes and go on from there. There is usually a universal common theme found in the anecdotes, whether it be humor or fear or another human emotion that golf seems to bring out. I elaborate on this particular thought and give suggestions and tips on how to overcome obstacles. I find that stories are the true teachers. In a way, these are parables. They bring forth a point without hitting the reader/golfer/audience member over the head with it. Humor seems to allow the sensory system a chance to not “try” so hard. After all, golf is a difficult game! Here is an example from my book that tries to make a point, subtly:

Golf Letters-Print and Kindle ebook editionsSmith Barney
I was teaching a group class on using the woods. The driving range was full of other golfers practicing. I purposely said a bit loudly, “Now I am going to tell you the secret of golf.” I wanted all the golfers on the range to hear, because it was like that Smith Barney commercial where everyone stops what they are doing and cups their hand to their ear so they can hear the secret. As soon as I saw the other golfers who were not in the group perk up to listen, I whispered to each student in the group very quietly so it appeared that they were, indeed, receiving the secret to golf! What I whispered was, “There is no secret!” I wish I had a camera to record some of the looks I received. They were forlorn looks. No secret for them, at least not that day!

3. You use the word recovery when talking about golf and life, why?

This book is about both golf and life. And, they are nearly synonymous, don’t you think? Life. Golf. Both 4 letters to start off with, and then, you add in a defined playing field that has a start and an end, and yes, life comes to mind. As does golf. And, in the end, the day by day of golf and life boils down to one word: RECOVERY. We are always recovering in some form from our last swing, our last encounter, etc. This is true whether it is a positive outcome or a not so good outcome.

4. You’ve worked with men, women and children. Can you describe your favorite type of student?

As an instructor, the politically correct thing to say is that I don’t have a favorite type of student. However, being human, I can tell you that after giving thousands of golf lessons over 22 years, the student that is the easiest to work with is one that has truly defined their golf goals and wants to have FUN in the process of meeting these goals. They know, inherently, that golf is a GAME and that there are many parts to it, aside from the scoring alone! Through the years, I have really learned a lot from teaching kids. They know how to PLAY! As adults, most of us turn into critics and we are always criticizing ourselves for the various outcomes we produce on the golf course. Not so with the kids. They are out there naturally having fun and being “present” to their experience. In a way, this is the “state” that I attempt to allow my students to enter into as they take their lesson and continue to play the game of golf.

5. You were recently appointed to The PGA National Instruction Committee. What does this committee do and what is your role?

Yes, thank you. This has been an honor. Allen Wronowski, current PGA of America President, appointed me to this committee. It is a collection of PGA leaders called together to discuss the current state of golf instruction in America. We met this past March in St. Louis and will meet again in the Fall in Maryland. The concern is that more people are leaving the game of golf and we, as an industry, need to do better to retain them. What we are discovering is that we need to make golf fun, allow it to take less time, and become more welcoming to the non-traditional golfer, as well as get more creative in our programming.

6. People are playing less golf and fewer are entering the game. As a tenured teacher, what is your perspective on making the game of golf more accessible?

I am in agreement. And, at the National Instruction Committee Meeting, we all agreed, based on some extensive research, that we need somewhat of a paradigm shift in order for golf to improve its numbers. However, my take on this is also that not everyone should really play the game. It is a hard game. We can’t force people to play. They need to have a passion for it. We need to keep the players we have and invite more women and juniors into the game. We need to make the game more family friendly. More programs may not be the answer. Some of the complaints are that golf takes too long, is too difficult, and is too expensive. I believe all of this to be true in a lot of cases. I think we need to promote more playing of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 15 holes in addition to 18 holes. This would not have to interfere with the regular golfer’s game, but maybe people should be able to “pay per hole” in golf. This might help. And, maybe we need to involve more technology on courses using smart phones to entice the younger golfers. Their lives are spent texting, using apps, and on Facebook and Twitter. In a lot of cases, kids are not comfortable outdoors. They find it boring. Hard to believe, but if we somehow included some technology, this might entice them.

But, remember, golf is not for everyone, just like knitting or bowling is not for everyone! Let’s encourage people to have fun and the passion will follow. We can’t coerce people to come play golf. Maybe the game just grew too fast and now we are seeing a correction. Time will tell. But, in the meantime, my love and zest for the game will never fade! Thank you!

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