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Trent Jones, Jr. Honored At Chambers Bay
At a golf tournament staged as a lead-in to the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay Golf Course south of Tacoma, Wash., the course's architect, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., was recognized by having a scholarship fund named in his honor.
More than $40,000 was raised by 128 golfers who participated in the 2013 Fairway to the U.S. Open golf tournament on October 23. The event, organized by the University of Washington Tacoma and sanctioned by the United States Golf Association, is the first in a series of events planned to focus the attention of the local community on the impact of the 2015 U.S. Open, expected to draw more than 200,000 participants and attendees to the Seattle-Tacoma region.
Proceeds from the tournament, which include sponsorships, registration fees and donations, will form the initial core of the Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded to UW Tacoma students who might otherwise not be able to afford a college education. Increasing access to higher education is a core mission for UW Tacoma, Washington's only member of the Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities.
Jones delivered a 40-minute lecture at a breakfast prior to the tournament, describing for golfers and other attendees how the setting of the Chambers Bay property on Puget Sound converged with the history of its use as the nation's largest sand and gravel quarry to inspire his design efforts.
In her remarks at the breakfast, the chief executive of UW Tacoma, Chancellor Debra Friedman, compared golf to classical music, noting that the more you learn about either, the more you gain an appreciation for the art form. As she announced the naming of the scholarship fund in Jones's honor, she noted that his design for Chambers Bay made apparent the artistic heart of both the game of golf and the Chambers Bay property.
In his remarks welcoming Jones to the podium, local UW Tacoma supporter Pierson Clair-President and CEO of Brown & Haley - the makers of Almond Roca - noted his 30-year friendship with Jones, and called on those present to celebrate the "brilliant genius of the Chambers Bay design."
A highlight of Jones's presentation was a series of "before" and "after" images of various sites around the Chambers Bay course. He described how the lay of the land, the exposure to wind off Puget Sound, the marine climate and the sandy soil made the site ideal for a Scottish/Irish links-style course.
Jones elaborated how, from the beginning, he was able to translate local community leaders' dreams of a golf course that would serve the public and also be a venue for major championships. He explained that the golf course shaper, the "artist" on the bulldozer, translates the two-dimensional blueprints from the architect into three dimensions on the ground.
Tournament player Yannis Koumantaros, 2002 alumnus of UW Seattle's Foster School of Business, extended credit for the course's impact far and wide. "What an amazing golf course. The brutality and the artistry that you encounter while playing are unforgettable." Koumantaros, an ardent Husky fan, says the winds coming off Puget Sound "are as welcome as the visiting team's fans in Husky Stadium - you don't want to live with them, but you're not really living without them."
A second tournament and five more lectures will be presented by UW Tacoma as part of its Fairway to the U.S. Open community engagement program. The next lecture, on November 5, will feature Golf Channel's Terry Gannon and UW Tacoma professor Bill Kunz - who was an executive at Turner Broadcasting, ABC Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN. They'll discuss television's role in covering the U.S. Open.
In September 2014, a second UW Tacoma Scholarship Golf Tournament will add to the Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Scholarship Fund and give more golfers a chance to play Chambers Bay prior to the 2015 U.S. Open. More information about the remaining events that are part of Fairway to the U.S. Open can be found at http://tacoma.uw.edu/golf.