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For the Love of the Fairway

Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Steve Wynn, Jan/Feb 03

(continued from page 3)

His ultimate reward, however, is taking a piece of ground and fashioning a course out of it. He loves to be on the site, dealing with his crew. He has his own shaping company, Calgolf, a crew that creates the greens, the tees, the bunkers and the fairways. "I control my quality by having my own crew," says Jones. "My crew did Ocean Forest, Nantucket, The Bridge, Brookline, Hazeltine, Congressional, Atlanta Athletic Club. That's why when it's done, it is so well received because it is done by accomplished people. Some of them have worked for me a long time, and one of them [construction foreman Austin Gibson] worked for my father when I was working for him."

From his father, Jones learned how to rout a course, how to contour greens, how to cut and fill, how to use ponds for both strategy and drainage. From Gibson he learned how to take a set of office drawings into the field and make them work. And he learned early in his career not to build what are known as signature holes, holes that stand out from the others. "I never tried to make one hole better than the rest," says Jones. "I learned that early on from a real estate salesman: don't make the hole next to the sales office the best one, because when I take the people out to the rest of the course, they are going to be disappointed."

When Jones left his father's business to start his own in 1974, it was a leap of faith. On one hand, he carried the Jones name, which opened doors. On the other hand, his work, like his brother's, would always be compared to his father's. "It was a bit of risky business to go out when my father was at the top of his profession, but it's worked out OK," says Rees. "I've been very lucky."

That phrase comes up often when you talk to Jones. He says he's been lucky to get good pieces of ground with which to work, that he's been lucky to deal with good developers, that he's been lucky to have good people work for him.

But as it is often said, the better you are, the luckier you get.

Jeff Williams is a sports writer for Newsday on Long Island.

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