Robert Trent Jones, a leader in the founding of ASGCA, started his golf journey when moving to the United States from England in 1911. Jones began his impressive golf resume early by becoming an excellent amateur golfer, who had the opportunity to compete in the Canadian Open. Jones also attended Cornell University, using his education to prepare himself for a career in golf course architecture.
In 1930, Jones teamed up with Stanley Thompson; the firm had offices in Toronto and New York. Due to the Depression, the partnership dissolved and Jones decided to practice golf course architecture on his own. By the mid-1960’s, he had become one of the most influential golf architects in the world. He designed over 400 golf courses in 43 states and 23 countries, not including his remodeling work. One of Jones’ greatest and largest golf design projects would be considered his grand finale, The Alabama Golf Trail.
Jones’ enthusiasm, energy, and innovative talents allowed him to become one of the top architects of his era. He was responsible for the start of architects becoming international, established “signature” courses, and developed a form of “branding” that had not been used in the golf design industry. Due to his ability to position and brand himself, Jones was at the forefront of many newspaper and magazine articles, which helped cement his architectural presence. He also stayed in the spotlight by building high-profile courses that would host major golf events and received national television exposure.
Jones would be one of the 14 ASGCA founding members. He served as ASGCA President from 1950-1951, and an ASGCA member for 53 years.
In 1976, Jones was presented with the first ever ASGCA Distinguished Service Award, (which in 1977 was renamed the Donald Ross Award) for his outstanding contributions to the game of golf.
Jones’ two sons, Bobby and Rees, followed their father’s footsteps as course architects and both served as ASGCA Presidents. Bobby set up his firm in Palo Alto, California and Rees stayed in Montclair, New Jersey. ASGCA members Roger Rulewich, Cabell Robinson, Bill Boswell and John Harvey were part of the RTJ worldwide design team as well.