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Rees Jones

Known in the world of golf as the “Open Doctor,” Rees Jones’ impact is evident in the landscape of modern golf courses. He’s spent most of his life passionately designing and refining some of the most prestigious and challenging courses, earning him acclaim in the industry.

Born into a family deeply rooted in golf, Rees was destined to make significant contributions to this sport. He inherited his father’s talent, Robert Trent Jones, a stalwart in golf course design, known for creating Augusta National’s back nine and modeling many US Open courses. Raised in Montclair, New Jersey, golf course architecture wasn’t just a profession for the Jones family — it was a way of life.

Rees received his B.A in History from Yale and later, a degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard. Despite his illustrious academic qualifications and opportunities across multiple fields, he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, driven by an unshakeable love for golf.

One of Rees’ first major accomplishments came through his design of the third nine holes at the Alabama’s Peachtree course. His success set off a career full of triumphs, which led to his evolution from a golf course architect to becoming the sought-after “Open Doctor”. Appropriately named, Rees became the ‘doctor’ of wounded and struggling golf courses that needed design overhaul or modernizing to meet the current game demands. His unique ability brought new life to tournament-caliber courses, stretching across American soil from coast to coast.

He’s sought after by some of the biggest and important tournament hosts. His work on seven U.S Open venues, five PGA Championship courses, and three Ryder Cup sites, among countless others, is a testament to his precision, creativity, and understanding of this sport.

Each of his designs leans heavily on the core principles of strategy, variety, balance, and surprise. He believes golf should be a thoughtful game where players are led to make decisions throughout their game, like opting for a risky direct-path or a safer but more extended route. His courses are characterized by their tastefully demanding design that brings satisfaction to players amidst the challenge.

His redesigning of Golf Club of Houston, formerly known as Redstone Golf Club, is an apt example of his way of working. He transformed this course into one of the top tournament venues nationwide while preserving the natural beauty of wetlands and lakes native to the area. Today, it stands as an epitome of his remarkable vision and respect for nature.

Rees’ impressive portfolio keeps growing. He has been a trailblazer in using environmentally friendly designs that work with existing terrains rather than bending them to meet the architect’s vision. His commitment has earned him several accolades, including the 2004 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America for his lifetime contributions to the game.

Even after creating arguably some of the best golf courses globally, Rees continues to innovate and push the boundaries of course design. A testament to his everlasting contribution, The East Course of The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, has been selected as the venue for the 2022 U.S. Open, which he renovated.

Rees’ brilliance has added a new dimension to the golf world, helped by his humble affirmations: “Before I change a classic course, I think 10 times. Then I think again.” No doubt, the courses touched by Rees Jones are the epitome of thoughtful design, strategic play, and reverence to the game’s traditions.

His constant pursuit of excellence and commitment to the game makes him an inspirational figure. Indeed, Rees Jones’ legacy is firmly rooted, his touch sprawled across the beautiful greens and fairways that etch the landscapes of some of the world’s most revered golf courses. Classic and contemporary, his designs continue to engage, challenge, and thrill golfers with the unique ‘Rees Jones experience.’ Despite all this, he remains authentic and dedicated to his craft, making him one exceptional golf course designer.

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