ASGCA Past President Rees Jones has been selected by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) as the 2013 Donald Ross Award recipient. The award will be presented April 22, 2013 during the 67th ASGCA Annual Meeting in Reynolds Plantation, Ga.
The award is named for ASGCA’s honorary first president, and is presented to an individual who has made a positive contribution to golf and golf course architecture.
Jones, noted for his redesign of courses in preparation for major championships, has applied his remodeling skills to seven U.S. Open venues, seven PGA Championship courses, four Ryder Cup, two Walker Cup sites, and a President’s Cup site. Several of his redesigned courses have been selected as FedEx Championship sites including East Lake Golf Club, the permanent site of the PGA TOUR’s Tour Championship.
“Rees’ influence in the golf industry is profound, and was most recently felt during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah,” said President Bob Cupp, ASGCA Fellow. “His moniker ‘The Open Doctor,’ taken over from his father, Trent, has allowed him to be a spokesman for our profession to those outside the business of golf development for years. And he has handled the responsibility well, doing good work and speaking in public forums about the art and science of golf course architecture.
“His commitment and support to ASGCA and our members has been exemplary,” Cupp said. “Rees was ASGCA’s youngest president at age 36 when he served in 1977-78, and has not only been a fixture at our Annual Meetings but has had a positive impact on all aspects of the ASGCA since he first became a member, including service on numerous committees and the active support of many golf course architects, including four from his very own firm.”
He earned a B.A. from Yale University and studied landscape architecture at Harvard University. He began his career in golf course architecture in 1965, working for 10 years under his father, Robert Trent Jones, the first Ross Award recipient in 1976. He opened Rees Jones, Inc. in 1974 in Montclair, N.J., and has led the firm ever since.
Jones has designed or redesigned more than 170 courses worldwide, including courses in China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, England, Spain and Africa. A few of his many new designs include: Atlantic Golf Club, Bridgehampton, N.Y.; Nantucket Golf Club, Siasconset, Mass.; and Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga.
Jones has also served on the United States Golf Association’s Environmental Research, Turfgrass Research, and Green Section Committees; New Jersey State Golf Association’s Executive Committee; the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Executive Committee and Long Range Planning Committee as well as the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Golf Association Foundation.
He has donated his design services to remodel and restore the courses at Bethpage State Park (the Black Course), Duke University Golf Club, Montauk Downs, the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course and East Lake Golf Club.
Jones has been recognized many times for his contributions to the game. His awards include the 1998 Metropolitan Golf Association Distinguished Service Award, the 2002 Metropolitan Golf Writers Distinguished Service Award, Golf World Magazine’s 1995 Golf Architect of the Year, the 2004 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s Old Tom Morris Award and two architectural awards from the International Network of Golf. In 2012, Rees was inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. The Foundation for Long Island State Parks and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation honored Rees with the Robert Moses Master Builder Award in 2012.
The Donald Ross Award was established by the ASGCA Board of Governors in 1976. ASGCA’s Donald Ross Award Committee is led by Steve Smyers, ASGCA.
Past Donald Ross Award Recipients
2012 Bill Kubly, golf course builder
2011 James Dodson, golf writer/editor
2010 Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
2009 Ron Dodson, sustainable golf advocate
2008 George Peper, golf writer
2007 Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA, golf course architect
2006 Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer, PGA of America
2005 John Singleton, irrigation pioneer
2004 Thomas Cousins, philanthropist, urban golf developer
2003 Bill Campbell, president, USGA, captain, Royal & Ancient Golf Club
2002 Byron Nelson, professional golfer
2001 Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA, professional golfer, golf course architect
2000 Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner and president, Valderrama Golf Club
1999 Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
1998 Judy Bell, president, USGA
1997 Gene Sarazen, professional golfer
1996 Ron Whitten, golf writer
1995 Pete Dye, ASGCA, golf course architect
1994 James R. Watson, agronomist
1993 Brent Wadsworth, golf course builder
1992 Paul Fullmer, ASGCA executive secretary
1991 Michael Bonallack, secretary, Royal & Ancient (St. Andrew’s)
1990 John Zoller, executive director, Northern California Golf Association
1989 Dick Taylor, editor, “Golf World” magazine
1988 Frank Hannigan, executive director, USGA
1987 Charles Price, “Golf World” magazine
1986 Deane Beman, commissioner, PGA Tour
1985 Peter Dobereiner, “London Observer” columnist, author
1984 Dinah Shore, sponsor of women’s golf tournaments
1983 Al Radko, director, USGA Green Section
1982 Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA, golf course architect, historian
1981 James Rhodes, governor of Ohio
1980 Gerald Micklem, captain, Royal & Ancient
1979 Joe Dey, executive director, USGA
1978 Herb and Joe Graffis, founders, National Golf Foundation
1977 Herbert Warren Wind, “The New Yorker” columnist, author
1976 Robert Trent Jones, ASGCA, ASGCA founding member