Tag Archives: Design

World Renowned Course Designer Rees Jones and his Team are in Demand throughout U.S. and Abroad

When you ask famed architect Rees Jones, “What’s up?” be prepared to absorb plenty of insightful information on the topic of golf course design.

This legendary golf course designer, known by many as “The Open Doctor” (tagged with the nickname due to the vast number of golf courses he’s improved in preparation for U.S. Open Championships), has an elevated passion for his work. Jones focuses on creating courses that are fair yet challenging and ones that enhance the playing experience while also being sensitive to the natural environment.

Jones is not only a talented and award-winning designer, he is a wise man, one who values relationships and enjoys collaboration. This is evidenced by his team of talented designers who have been an integral part of the professional staff at Rees Jones, Inc., for several years now. Each designer possesses the same deeply-rooted passion for their work as Jones himself, and all are equally-committed to excellence.

Golf Course Designer Rees Jones

Golf Course Designer Rees Jones

It’s that “commitment to excellence” that propels Rees Jones and his team as they continue to be a leading force in golf course design at all levels – from new course master planning to carefully thought-out restorations, as well as golf course renovations that well-reflect improved playability and sustainability.

Their work also focuses on the actual financial realities that many clubs are encountering today, and as a result, they are developing creative design solutions that help streamline the maintenance process (minimizing operational expenses) while preserving design integrity and improving the overall player experience.

“We recognize that financial considerations have always been a key to most clubs and this is especially true today,” said Rees Jones. “In today’s more competitive marketplace, the need to reduce expenses while still providing a quality experience for players of every level is the key. We work with each club to help in these areas by looking at ways to make the course more playable and more cost effective to maintain. We look at the possibility of altering or eliminating course features such as shrinking bunkers or even converting bunkers to grass chipping areas, creating open entrances to greens and other areas which will help the club reach its goals of adding players, increasing pace of play and lowering maintenance costs.”

There is no project too big or too challenging for this accomplished design firm, evidenced by an impressive client list, one that encompasses compelling projects throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Design Projects in the Works

Playa Grande Golf Club, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
This is a complete renovation of a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (father and mentor of Rees Jones) designed course. The project is in the construction stage and scheduled to open in 2015.
Playa Grande Golf Club

Danzante Bay Golf Course at Villa Del Palmar, Loreto, Baja Calif. Sur, Mexico
Located at the upscale resort of Villa Del Palmar in Loreto, the course will maximize the majestic views of both Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortez to the east and the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range to the west. It is currently under construction with eleven holes scheduled for play by February 2016.
Danzante Bay Golf Course at Villa Del Palmar

Dream Island Resort, Incheon, South Korea
Two, new eighteen-hole courses are in the planning stages, serving as the inaugural design project for Rees Jones, Inc., in Incheon, South Korea. These link-style designed courses will be built adjacent to the ocean.

The Monster, Kiamesha Lake, NY
Adelaar, a meticulously planned, year-round destination resort will feature not only the Montreign Resort Casino but also The Monster Golf Course. Originally designed in 1963 by Joe Finger, the world-famous golf course will undergo a complete redesign using holes from both the current Monster Golf Course and the former International Course. This project is scheduled to begin in fall 2015.

City Park Golf Club, New Orleans, LA
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded City Park with up to eight feet of water. The flooding and damaging winds substantially affected the three courses in operation at the time, leading to the closure of two courses. Following a new golf master plan, a new 18-hole layout that encompasses land previously home to portions of the former East and West courses is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016. The new course meanders through majestic live oak trees and incorporates many of the existing bayous.

Medinah Country Club, Course #2, Medinah, IL
Work has commenced on the restoration of this iconic Tom Bendelow-designed golf course.

Jack Clark South Course at Chuck Corica Golf Complex, Alameda, CA
This is completely new course on the site of an existing one. This municipal course is under construction with nine holes completed and the eighteen hole golf course is scheduled to open in 2016.

Brynwood Golf & Country Club, Armonk, NY
The Brynwood Golf & Country Club project is a major upgrade of an existing Albert Zikorus design with the ultimate goal to meet today’s playability and maintenance standards. The golf course will play like a new course upon completion. Construction is scheduled to commence in late fall 2015.

Urbana Country Club, Urbana, IL
The firm will develop a long range master plan for Urbana Country Club which will assist the club through a complete course renovation. It includes updating features to today’s standards with focus on increasing playability and sustainability.

Resort at Cayo Largo, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
A complete redesign of an existing golf course will serve as the centerpiece of the Resort at Cayo Largo. The unique topography and views of Vieques Sound will make this course a fitting amenity to this new five star resort.

Hodogaya Country Club, Kanagawa, Japan
Established in 1921, Hodogaya Country Club is considered one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious golf clubs. Using old photos, coupled with other pertinent historical data, the Rees Jones design team is working closely with the club in developing a long range master plan. This plan will help guide the club through a complete restoration of the golf course while also updating golf course features to today’s standards.

Golf Course of the Everglades, Naples, FL
In an effort to introduce a new residential development on site, the relocation of several holes was required on this original Rees Jones-designed course. The project will be completed in November 2015 and re-open for play by year’s end.

Ballantyne Country Club, Charlotte, NC
This project focused on the renovation of an original Rees Jones-design. Work included the reconstruction of all tees and bunkers, including the addition of many senior and forward tees, as well as a re-grassing/conversion of the putting surfaces from bentgrass to ultradwarf bermudagrass. The club has celebrated its reopening and members are now enjoying a completely updated course.

Ash Brook Golf Course, Scotch Plains, NJ
This project is a comprehensive bunker restoration at an Alfred Tull-designed public course and it is slated for completion in November 2015.

Atlanta Athletic Club, Highlands Course, John’s Creek, GA
At the Atlanta Athletic Club’s famed Highlands Course, renovation will include rebuild and removal of select bunkers, replacement of all bunker sand, rebuild of No. 14 green surface to increase the number of hole locations, as well as the addition of new forward tees on 12 holes to improve course playability. This project will commence in spring 2016.

Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, WA
In collaboration with Sahalee Country Club, a plan to develop a comprehensive tree management plan is underway. The club is scheduled to host the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

And There’s More

The Rees Jones design team is conducting ongoing work on a number of classic golf courses in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts at clubs which include Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper and Lower Courses, the famed Lower Course is the site of the 2016 PGA Championship), Bethpage State Park (Black Course which is the site of The Barclay’s in 2016, 2021, 2027; PGA Championship in 2019 and the Ryder Cup in 2024), Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Deal Golf & Country Club, Echo Lake Country Club, Essex Fells Country Club, Galloping Hill Golf Course, Hackensack Golf Club, Montclair Golf Club, Old Oaks Country Club, Marshfield Country Club, Nashawtuc Country Club and two Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designs, The Tuxedo Club and North Hills Country Club.

Ongoing work is also occurring on Congressional Country Club (Blue Course) (Bethesda, MD), Bellerive Country Club site of the 2018 PGA Championship (St. Louis, MO), Lambton Golf and Country Club (Ontario, CA), Belle Meade Country Club (Nashville, TN), Baton Rouge Country Club (Baton Rouge, LA) and Lyford Cay Club (Nassau Island, Bahamas).

In The Planning Stage

Other noteworthy courses that are in the planning stages with the Rees Jones design team include Carolina Country Club (Raleigh, NC), Seabrook Island Club- Crooked Oaks (a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design) and Ocean Winds Courses (Seabrook Island, SC), The Breakers Ocean Golf Course (Palm Beach, FL), Ibaraki Country Club- East Course (Osaka, Japan), Hidden Valley Country Club (Sandy, UT) and four original Jones’ designs–The Santaluz Club (San Diego, CA), Peninsula Golf Club (Cornelius, NC), Huntsville Golf Club (Shavertown, PA) and Piedmont Driving Club (Atlanta, GA).

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 http://www.reesjonesinc.com/

Photos Courtesy of Rees Jones, Inc.

An Interview with Forrest Richardson, Author of On Course, a Dictionary of Golf Course Terms as well as Routing the Golf Course and Bunkers, Pits and Other Hazards

Forrest RichardsonCourse architect Forrest Richardson founded Forrest Richardson & Associates in 1988. His work includes golf planning, new courses and historic renovations. He has authored three books on golf course design as well as the dictionary we’re discussing today.
1. What motivated you to write (and publish) On Course?
I have been collecting golf course words and terms for several years. It began when I wrote Routing the Golf Course in 1999-2000. I planned a glossary and it just got out of hand. Before I knew it I had nearly 1,000 words.

2. You refer to On Course as a dictionary, isn’t it more than that…isn’t it a guide too?
I suppose. It gets into the mind of the golf course architect because many of the entries are local and personal terms endeared by designers.

3. Was this book designed for industry professionals, golfer fanatics, or simply those with an appreciation for golf course architecture?
I think it appeals to people who love golf and golf courses. I am surprised when some friends I play golf started using some of the words…Which meant they actually read it!

4. How many words/terms are listed within this handy pocketbook?
I am not sure the exact number of entries, but thanks to Microsoft Word I can report that the complete text is more than 60,000 words. I think there are nearly 3,000 entries.

On Course Dictionary5. When it comes to golf terms, which ones are most often misused or misunderstood?
Links comes to mind. We know that a true links cannot be found in the Sandhills of Nebraska, yet we hear it all the time. “Links-ish” or “Links-like” yes, but not a links. You also hear a lot of terms that have come to mean something just because they get used over and over.

I am not sure there is ever a right or wrong 100% of the time because we are dealing with a game and people simply have fun expanding the vocabulary and use of words.

I suppose one of the widest definitions is “Strategic Design” to which I have always held a skeptical viewpoint. I have never bought into the notion that Strategic Design was somehow a product of the 1950s or 60s, or that Robert Trent Jones, Sr. invented this ideal. Mr. Jones certainly brought golf architecture to the forefront of golf and golf development, and he gave us a new-found cause to support heroic and risk-reward holes. But, to say he invented the idea that a golf hole is “strategic” is to say that MacKenzie, Ross and even Old Tom were in the dark and had no clue about strategy.

My take is that strategy is the heart and soul of golf holes, and it is evident it was present on those very first, rudimentary designs even before the 1600s.

Strategic design is why golf became popular. People longed for a game where it was a treasure hunt to get from A to B. Golf provided that fun and enjoyment, and it was all due to strategy and how a given hole presented a puzzle to be solved.

We should never be fooled to think that the brilliant professors and minds of St. Andrews were not constantly devising more interesting ways to set up Pilmoore Links [the Old Course] for the enjoyment and “frustration” of the local golfers.

6. You are a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. What are your colleagues saying about this detailed dictionary you’ve developed?
Many of my friends in the Society contributed, so they have no choice but to love it.

7. Any plans for another book? If so, might it relate to the game of golf and/or course architecture?
I believe at last count there are three books rattling around in my head. One is likely to see the light of day in another few years, but I have no deadlines. A deadline to a writer is like a 50 yard wedge over water to a short cup placement.

I have always wanted to write about the psychology of the game as it relates to courses. There is a large and uncharted series of topics out there that relate to the built and natural environment. Our DNA has some built-in preconceptions about land, space and journey. Golf courses and golf design either play to that, or play havoc with this human condition.

If the golfer can understand more about why they feel a certain way on a certain type of hole then it can lead to a better round and a better overall experience. It is just as much a part of the puzzle as selecting a club and executing a good shot, yet we rarely think about the psychological factor.

Bunkers Pits and Other HazardsRichardson is the founder of Forrest Richardson & Associates, a Phoenix Arizona-based golf course design company, incorporated as Golf Group Ltd.  He is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), the Shivas Irons Society and the prestigious Keepers of the Green of St. Andrews, Scotland. He is frequently asked to share his knowledge at golf conferences and symposiums and is a contributor to various golf-related publications.

Forrest is the author of four books on golf architecture: Routing the Golf Course, a book about the routing and planning of golf courses, Bunkers, Pits & Other Hazards, a title covering the nuances of hazards—golf’s most essential elements, Of Course, a collection of the firm’s designs and stories, and On Course, a Dictionary of Golf Course terms.

Richardson is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the prestigious Keepers of the Green of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Golf Has Never Failed Me: The Lost Commentaries of Legendary Golf Architect Donald J. Ross (author)

Golf Has Never Failed MeEast Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Georgia—home course for the PGA Tour Championship—may have been originally built (started actually) in 1906 but the officially recognized date is 1913.  Why?  That is the year legendary golf course designer Donald Ross completely redesigned the course. 

Ross’s commentaries on the rationale behind his architecture, penned before World War I but only recently rediscovered, are filled with wisdom:

“Holes should be trapped so that par golf depends upon skill rather than upon strength.”

“Make all the short holes difficult.”

“Hazards are placed so as to force a (golfer) to use judgment and to exercise mental control in making the correct shot.”

Golf Has Never Failed Me is an insightful look at the game by one of its most famous and beloved people.