James R. Hansen’s “A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf” has earned the United States Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for 2014.
Hansen’s profile of golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. is a reflection on the life and career of one of the most prolific figures in the history of golf. He wrote the book with the help of Jones’ sons who shared letters, documents and personal stories of their father. With their cooperation, Hansen pieced together the life events and struggles that Jones encountered on the way to creating his legacy.
A Difficult Par focuses on Jones’ achievements in design and architecture an the personal and financial challenges that he faced throughout his career. “Of all the architects, I think Robert Trent Jones was the most significant in the development of American golf courses,” said Hansen. “It wasn’t just the longevity of his career, but also how his courses came to be the dominant venues for championship golf.”
Jones designed or redesigned nearly 450 courses in 42 states and 28 countries, including 11 courses that have hosted a combined 34 U.S. Opens. His design philosophy of challenging the best golfers while making the game enjoyable for players of all abilities became essential in making the game attractive to casual players and made him an archetype for future designers.
The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award was established in 1987 and recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award will be presented to Hansen on Feb. 7 at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in New York City.