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A fresh approach to golf course design


Chambers Bay, University Place, Washington, USA | Reclamation Site, Audubon International Certified Silver Signature Sanctuary | Photo: © Rob Perry

Many historians and aficionados of golf course architecture consider the period between 1920 and 1935 as the "golden age" of course design in North America.

We at Robert Trent Jones II® believe that the profession has entered a grand new era—the "green age"—in which great golf courses worldwide are being created in harmony with the environment, and with the intention that they will be maintained as sustainable resources.

To that end, we at RTJ II will continue to abide by environmental principles that will help protect the planet while creating exciting, memorable, challenging, and natural golf experiences for the ages. These principles have already guided our work for nearly forty years.

The USGA, ASGCA, GCSAA, PGA of America, Audubon International, and other allied associations who have shown their commitment to protect and enhance the natural environment. In accordance with these fine efforts, we offer the following declaration to our clients and to golfers worldwide.


  1. Create courses on sites that will sustain golf with a minimum disturbance to and maximum enhancement of natural ecosystems, and/or rehabilitate degraded landscapes and environments.
  2. Move earth more efficiently to create courses that fit their sites and respect the natural characteristics of the terrain.
  3. Design and construct courses with ongoing operations and future maintenance and sustainability in mind.
  4. Protect native flora and fauna.
  5. Protect and enhance wildlife habitat and other sensitive environmental areas while providing active corridors for species diversity.
  6. Minimize clearing of trees and other native vegetation and, where possible, revegetate with indigenous plants from the site.
  7. Create courses that use less water, pesticides, and fertilizers than traditional courses.
  8. Protect, conserve, and improve water quality and resources by incorporating wetlands, turfgrass, and other natural site features to clean and filter water.
  9. Maximize the effectiveness of available water through the use of drought-tolerant grass species, and specify soil amendments that lead to water conservation and— where applicable—absorb properly-treated effluent.
  10. Employ new technologies wherever and whenever feasible, that will further these goals.

—Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Chairman and Master Architect, Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects, and Past President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects

—Bruce Charlton, President and Chief Design Officer, Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects, and President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (2008-2009) 


Enhance Anting Golf Club, Shanghai, China | Reclamation Site | Photo: Richard Castka/

“The environmental issue isn’t new. As early as the 1970’s, we were introducing fresh ideas for integrating golf with coastal wetlands and other sensitive environments, and enhancing habitats while creating playable golf courses rich with strategic variety. We believe that preserving the natural beauty of a site contributes to the pleasure of the golfing experience.”

— Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Chairman and Master Architect

Bruce Charlton and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. at Chambers Bay

Bruce Charlton and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. at Chambers Bay | Photo: Wood Sabold

“One of the major environmental challenges facing golf designers today is water use. Because water resources are sometimes limited, especially in warmer climates, we focus special attention on techniques to conserve water. Our designs minimize the quantity of maintained turf while retaining the playability essential to an enjoyable first-rate golf course. We also utilize particular grass varieties and state-of-the-art irrigation systems to maximize water conservation.”

— Bruce Charlton,
President and Chief Design Officer

The Bay Course at Navarino, Pylos, Greece

The Bay Course at Navarino, Pylos, Greece | Environmental Stewardship | Photo: Courtesy of Navarino Bay