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An Architect's Life

As a child he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from his native England just two weeks after the Titanic sank. When he died in 2000, he had redefined the job of golf course architect. The life of Robert Trent Jones Sr. is admirably detailed in James R. Hansen’s new biography — A Difficult Par – Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf (Gotham Books, $32.50). This thoroughly researched effort uncovers plenty of interesting facts about Jones. One is that he added Trent to his name in 1930 simply to distinguish himself from a more famous golfer of that era. That would be the same major winner he would later work with in designing Peachtree Golf Club (site of his first runway-style tee boxes) in the 1940s and then help in remodeling various holes at Augusta National. How he acquired the “Open Doctor” nickname is well-documented, and so are the inglorious disputes between father and sons Rees and Bobby, as well as the two brothers themselves. It all adds up to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the golf’s legendary characters.

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