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Chambers Bay (above) in Washington reflects Jones’ modern beliefs in course design. The old first hole (right) at Poppy Hills typified Jones’ former style: dramatic, unnatural shapes. The 11th hole (below) is the only brand new hole at Poppy Hills.


Or consider No. 15, a


par-3 stretching more than 200 yards from the back tees. The old green was popped up in the air, but it has been lowered six to eight feet to let the land dictate a right-to-left shot. Players might be tempted to bounce their tee shots toward the right side of the green, illustrating an important element of New Poppy—the ground game.


J


ones revered his father, acclaimed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones (whose notable


works include Spyglass Hill). So when the older Jones visited Spanish Bay for the first time, strolled the course and told his son, “Bobby, you got this right,” Jones Jr. took it as a high compliment. He finds even deeper


satisfaction in the way Chambers Bay turned out. Much as New Poppy reflects modern theories in course design, and the evolution of Jones’ ideas, so does Chambers Bay improve upon his work at Spanish Bay more than 20 years earlier. Jones called Chambers Bay, set to host the U.S.


30 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2014


Open in 2015, a more au- thentic links. He had a large swath of land as his canvas, an old gravel mine alongside the shores of Puget Sound. Jones created a distinctive links layout on which golf- ers must contemplate what will happen when the ball hits the ground. If you want to picture


Watson metaphorically whispering in Jones’ ear from the 1980s, go right ahead. This embrace of the


ground game prompted Jones to essentially elimi- nate rough at Chambers Bay and New Poppy—a stark contrast to Spanish Bay and Old Poppy. But it makes for a creative and interesting golf experience, even if the outcome for wayward shots isn’t always favorable. “If you hit a long shot off line at Chambers Bay, it will run 30 yards and it might run in the wrong direction,” Jones said. “It’s not just distance, but it’s distance and control. Chambers Bay is asking players to think about both those things on tee shots, and that’s a big difference.” Jones and Charlton are posing the same question, in many ways, at Poppy Hills. This cuts to the heart of larger issues in the 21st- century game, with design- ers trying to combat bigger, stronger, longer players


smacking their tee shots into distant frontiers. “We’re on defense,”


Jones said. “I’m a goal- keeper, so I’m saying, ‘These guys are hitting the ball forever and they don’t care where it lands.’ The USGA rough is something of another era, in my opinion. That’s their traditional phi- losophy, especially on classic courses that are smaller.


“I’m a strategic archi-


tect. If you hit it long or hit it improperly, I want you to have options to get back in the game. You can play carefully, but if you do you’re going to face a much harder second shot.” Many second shots


at New Poppy will carry intrigue. If the course plays firm and fast—and that’s part of the plan—players


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