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GCBAA Announces Don A. Rossi Award Recipient

The GCBAA, a non-profit trade association made up of golf course builders, has announced Rees Jones as the recipient of the Don A. Rossi Award.
Photo Credit: Golf Course Builders Association of America

The Golf Course Builders Association of America has announced Rees Jones as the recipient of the Don A. Rossi Award, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth and who have inspired others by example.

The award, named for Don A. Rossi, who served as executive director of the National Golf Foundation from 1970 to 1983, was instrumental in forming the National Golf Course Owners Association and served as executive director of the GCBAA from 1984 to 1990.

Jones, known as "The Open Doctor" for his many renovations of U.S. Open Championship courses, has also played a key role in redesigning several other courses for major championships.

Upon accepting the award, Jones told a roomful of his peers that, among the many things he learned from Rossi, for whom the award was named, was how important it was for a builder and architect to trust one another and work in sync during a course project.

"The best golf courses are created when the architect and the construction team walk the grounds together," Jones said. "I have been fortunate to have worked with some very fine members of (the GCBAA) during my career. In many ways, the construction teams are the unsung heroes of golf course architecture.

"So I accept this honor tonight with the acknowledgement that the builders I have worked with have contributed in no small measure to the success of my career."

Throughout his career, Jones has helped remodel seven U.S. Open courses, seven PGA Championship courses, four Ryder Cup courses and one President's Cup site to go along with multiple other well-known remodels. He designed or redesigned courses in China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Spain, England and Africa while working on more than 170 courses including Bethpage State Park (the Black Course), Montauk Downs, the South Course at Torrey Pines and East Lake Golf Club -- home of the PGA TOUR's Tour Championship.

Jones, who earned a degree from Yale University and studied landscape architecture at Harvard University, began his career in golf course architecture in 1965. He worked under his father, the original "Open Doctor," for 10 years before opening his own firm in 1974, Rees Jones Inc. He still runs the company today. Jones has been recognized many times for his contributions to the game, most notably with the Old Tom Morris Award in 2004, given by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the Donald Ross Award, given by the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 2013.

When Jones was selected in the summer of 2013 to receive the award, Justin Apel, GCBAA executive director, said Jones was the epitome of someone worthy of the prestigious award.

"Rees has a unique opinion when it comes to building golf courses and believes courses don't have to be long to be challenging or hard to be fun," Apel said. "He was ahead of his time as this way of thinking has essentially become the mantra of the golf industry."

For more information about the GCBAA, please visit

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October 20, 2019, 5:56 pm PDT

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