A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf [NOOK Book]


The definitive account of modern golf’s foremost architect from the New York Times bestselling author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

Robert Trent Jones was the most prolific and influential golf course architect of the ...
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A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf

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The definitive account of modern golf’s foremost architect from the New York Times bestselling author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

Robert Trent Jones was the most prolific and influential golf course architect of the twentieth century and became the archetypical modern golf course designer. Jones spread the gospel of golf by designing courses in forty-two US states and twenty-eight countries. Twenty U.S. Opens, America’s national championship, have been contested on Jones-designed courses.

New York Times bestselling biographer James R. Hansen, author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, recounts how an English immigrant boy arrived in upstate New York in 1912, just as golf was emerging as a popular pastime in America. Jones excelled as a golfer, earning admission to Cornell University, whose faculty consented to a curriculum tailored to teach him the knowledge needed to design golf courses. Cornell provided the springboard for an act of self-invention that propelled Jones from obscurity to worldwide fame.

Jones believed that every hole should be “a difficult par but an easy bogey.” As gifted as he was at golf design, Jones was equally skilled as a salesman, promoter, and entrepreneur. Golf Digest’s annual rankings of the 100 Greatest Golf Courses have regularly featured about fifty Jones designs, paving the path for his two sons, Robert Jr., and Rees, whose work would carry on their father’s tradition. Hansen examines Jones’s legacy in all its complexity and influence, including the fraternal rivalry of Jones’s distinguished sons.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most golf books deal with the courses rather than designers, but Hansen (The Life of Neil A. Armstrong) covers here the life of the most prolific golf architect of the 20th century, Robert Trent Jones (1906–2000). The author does a credible (if lengthy) job of conveying the complexity of Jones the person, as well as Jones the golf-course architect. On the human side this is an American-dream story: humble beginnings, bootstrapping and entrepreneurism, success, failure, implosion. (Think Frank Lloyd Wright.) On the golf-course architecture side, Hansen explores Jones's design ideal: that the course should defend par but allow for bogey. This philosophy led him to help redesign several holes at the Augusta National Golf Club, GA, and to assist the United States Golf Association set up numerous U.S. Open courses. Jones also seems to have been the first to recognize the advantage of using a course as a way to develop residential real estate, how improvements in technology would affect course length, and the development of multiple tees that required minimal maintenance. At the end, though, the architect battled with his sons and longtime employees and associates. VERDICT Suitable for those who are very interested in golf architecture.—Steven Silkunas, Fernandina Beach, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Hansen (First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, 2005, etc.) returns with the complicated story of the celebrated golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1906-2000).The author has clearly inhaled the extensive Jones archive at Cornell (which he attended and where he designed nine holes of the university course) and delivers a narrative rich in detail (sometimes over-rich) about a transformational figure in the history of golf. There are really several stories here. Hansen relates the biography of Jones (no relation to golfing legend Bobby Jones, though the two were friends and sometimes worked together), the cultural and social histories of golf in the United States and beyond, the processes of designing and building a golf course and, sadly, the internecine warfare that erupted between his two sons, Bobby and Rees, both of whom entered the business, as well. Young Jones' interest in golf began in mercenary fashion (he was caddying for cash); then he discovered he could play well but not well enough to prosper. He got interested in design, went to Cornell for some courses in landscape architecture and then embarked on a career in golf course design and construction. He made and lost fortunes but by the 1960s was generally acknowledged as the best in the world. Players weren't always happy, however, since his courses were/are demanding. Hansen tells us about the construction of some of his great courses—and redesigns—including Baltusrol, Oak Hill, Firestone and myriads of others. (The author appends a list of them all.) Golf aficionados will appreciate the detail about the courses and about some of the key matches he recounts. Those interested in the business aspects of Jones' enterprises will sigh about his questionable judgment at key points in his career, and those interested in family dynamics will find much to ponder—e.g., a bitter filial rivalry and an embittered mother whose will caused problems for everyone.Hansen ably shows us a life filled with unrivaled success and deep end-of-life disappointment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698157002
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/8/2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 311,439
  • File size: 20 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Besides being an acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, James R. Hansen has always been an avid golfer and plays to a six handicap.  Hansen has played and studied more than six hundred courses around the world. He lives in Auburn, Alabama.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014


    (I can barely spell that so call me Nova.) She walks in and drinks a whole bottle in 30 seconds. She wipes her mouth on her sleeve.

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    Posted July 21, 2014


    She went to the bar and got a brink before sitiing on the stool, her mind driffting to other thoughts. She sighed feeling more lonely than she had in years.

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    Posted July 21, 2014


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