(Just received a nice piece from friends over at Hunter-PR who do work for Robert Trent Jones II. Some good insight into what one architect is thinking these days in a rapidly changing marketplace.)
PALO ALTO, California, Dec. 17, 2009 — For many in the golf business, in the wake of one of the most challenging years on record, the new year can’t come soon enough. Despite the difficult state of the industry, the staff at Robert Trent Jones II (RTJ II) golf course architects recognize some stars in the darkness of 2009 and are looking ahead to new highlights in 2010.
Both Master Architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Chief Design Officer Bruce Charlton point to a number of 2009 accomplishments, including additions to the firm’s legacy of awards. Golf World rated eight RTJ II courses in the Top 100 in Europe, and two recent courses in Denmark were ranked No. 1 (Lubker Golf Resort) and No. 3 (Skjoldenæsholm Golf Center) by Danish Golf Magazine.
In the U.S., highlights included Chambers Bay (University Place, Washington), which will host the U.S. Amateur in 2010, being ranked by GOLF Magazine among the Top 100 courses in the U.S., the Top 100 Courses Worldwide, and the Top 50 Courses of the last 50 years. Golfweek also chose a number of RTJ II courses among its Top Residential Courses (The Bridges, Rancho Santa Fe, California; and Miramont, Bryan, Texas), Top Municipal Courses (ThunderHawk, Beach Park, Illinois), and Top Resort Courses (Osprey Meadows, Donnelly, Idaho). The firm also was proud to debut its Sequoyah National Golf Club in Cherokee, North Carolina, designed in collaboration with PGA Tour player Notah Begay. The course was recently cited by GOLF Magazine as a Top New Course You Can Play. Other awards included Golf Digest ranking RTJ II’s Rainmakers Golf Club among the Best New Private Courses in 2009. In addition to debuting great new courses, RTJ II completed fresh course renovations in Indonesia, Australia, and Hawaii.
Also, in keeping with the firm’s Green Proclamation, which attracted industry and media attention worldwide in 2009, the firm currently boasts 22 Audubon International Sanctuary Courses.
In a year that saw Charlton successfully complete his term as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Jones, Jr., was recognized for his contributions to the game by Golf Inc., which awarded him its lifetime achievement award. Jones also was recognized by GOLF Magazine as an Innovator, and “Game Changer” in 2009. “For many, 2009 was tough from a business perspective, but we also learned great lessons,” Charlton said. “In the downturn we found opportunity and modified our business practices to offer different services (such as an increase in renovation work) and participate in projects more collaboratively. We have noticed a sense of urgency in clients’ voices recently—they want to move ahead, plan, prepare drawings and approvals, and ramp up again. I’m cautiously optimistic about next year.”
In 2010, RTJ II expects to open several highly anticipated courses, including Hickory Stick (Lewiston, New York), The Patriot (Owasso, Oklahoma), Bro Hof Slott’s Castle Course (near Stockholm, Sweden), The Scandinavian Golf Club (near Copenhagen, Denmark), Bahia Principe Golf Resort (Riviera Maya, Mexico), and Palmeres Golf Club (Lagos, Portugal). The firm will also complete significant renovations to Pondok Indah in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Princeville Makai in Kauai, Hawaii. Work will continue on new projects in Greece, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Egypt, Scandinavia and Vanuatu, as will renovations proceed in Puerto Rico, Canada and England.
RTJ II will also begin work on new projects in China and Russia, which, according to Charlton, “were dark in terms of development not very long ago, but have emerged into significant lands of opportunity.”
In addition, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. expects the announcement that golf will reappear in the Olympic Games in 2016 to have a significant impact by bringing new players to the game and increasing the need for training grounds. Demand will rise for full-length courses and also modern practice venues, such as the innovative six-hole facility RTJ II recently designed at Stanford University, Jones suggests.