My postings about Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus set me thinking. Many of Thailand’s over 260 golf courses have been designed by some of the world’s best and most famous golf course architects. Today I shall begin a 2 or 3 part series about Robert Trent "Bobby" Jones, Jr. influence on the Thailand golf scene.
Robert Trent Jones Jr. was the international golf course architect that put golf in Thailand on the world map. Born in 1939 and the son of legendary golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and the brother of golf course designer Rees Jones, Robert Trent Jones Jr. joined his father’s firm, Robert Trent Jones Incorporated, after studying at Yale and Stanford Universities.
He become vice-president of the company and, in the 1960s, began designing courses. He is responsible for the design or remodeling of more than 200 golf courses worldwide. Today, Jones continues to design courses and currently resides in Woodside, California. He has also served as the president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and has even published a book to help players understand golf course layout entitled “Golf by Design”.
I would say that the Trent Jones designed golf courses in Thailand are some of my favorite courses to play because they are both scenic and at the same time I must think about how to play every shot to score well. As visual as his courses are, you also need to bring your brain along as Jones insists that you think and see. If you see but don’t think, what you see may not be exactly what you get.
He is a master of visual legerdemain and prestidigitation on a grand scale, and has been called “the David Copperfield of golf design”. By looking before hitting, you’ll see that Jones courses gives hitters of all abilities several options for playing each hole. There are many instances of elevated tees. Most of his holes follow the natural contours of the land they were built on. There is always lots of native plants and wild grasses lining the fairways, which explains why each of his courses is so different. One of the Jones’ design philosophies is the creation of a high quality course that appears to have been designed by its setting. He shoots for golf courses that have the appearance of always having been there. The players who golf in Thailand agree that all the layouts amongst all of the courses he has designed are both enjoyable to play while at the same time quite challenging.
My next post will begin speaking about the specific Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf courses in Thailand. Does anyone know how many of the 260 Thailand golf courses can be credited to Robert Trent Jones Jr?