Robert Trent Jones did not invent golf course architecture, but was one of its pioneers. For nearly 70 years, Jones has built or rebuilt some 400 courses in 45 US states and 35 countries around the world, including more than three dozen that have hosted national or international championships. Yet these exceptional numbers are only a tiny part of his legend. Jones highlighted the heroic architecture and institutionalization of the risk-reward shot of modern courses. His philosophy could be summed up as follows: a difficult par, but an easy bogey.

He also had a profound impact on competitive golf, with Jones building or renovating some of the toughest courses the pros have faced, including Firestone, Hazeltine, Spyglass Hill, Baltusrol and Oak Hill.

During his early years, Jones' designs often engendered overly harsh criticism, and complaints reached a crescendo when he remodeled Oakland Hills for the 1951 US Open. After his victory, Ben Hogan boasted of having brought this “monster to his knees” and Herbert Warren Wind lauded himself in a glowing article in the New Yorker. Jones was introduced to a mass audience and it was the starting point for the cult of the golf course architect.

The mark he left on world golf during his 70-year career saw him inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1987.