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Best Robert Trent Jones golf courses

With over 400 courses under his belt, Robert Trent Jones could be called a connoisseur of golfing architecture. We take a look at just a few of his masterpieces.

Luke Brown
Luke Brown 7 mins read

Robert Trent Jones is arguably one of the most famous designers in golf, having built and rebuilt more than 400 courses around the world. His basic philosophy was that golf should be a “hard par, easy bogey,” and this certainly rings true at almost every course he designed.

Whether it be Capitol Hill on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, or Valderrama, one of Europe’s best courses, a round on an RTJ golf course is one that will live long in the memory and that’s probably why we’re often asked, what are the best Robert Trent Jones golf courses? To give you a helping hand, we’ve picked out ten of the best Robert Trent Jones golf courses from around the world.

Spyglass Hill (USA)

The first five holes at Spyglass Hill, part of the Pebble Beach collection, is renowned as one of the greatest opening stretches in golf, with five sand-splashed holes that run alongside the intimidating dunes. For those struggling to make par, the sublime oceanfront scenery more than makes up for the strong test of golfing ability. One interesting fact about this course is that all the holes are named after characters and places from the book Treasure Island.

Spyglass hill golf course

Real Club Valderrama (Spain)

Not only is golf at Real Club Valderrama some of the best in Spain, it is also arguably one of the best golf courses in Europe. Having played host to the Ryder Cup in 1997, this legendary Robert Trent Jones design is kept in immaculate condition all-year-round and its strategically placed bunkers, tree-lined fairways and undulating greens make for a challenging round every time. This is most certainly one of Robert Trent Jones’ finest designs, anywhere in the world.

Real Club Valderrama

Capitol Hill (USA)

Capitol Hill is one of the most popular sites on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and is described by many as one of 10 public course in America worthy of hosting the U.S. Open. A real testament to Trent Jones’ design. There are three courses at Capitol Hill in the Judge, Legislator and Senator courses, with the latter being the most popular. Its Scottish links style, with more than 160 pot bunkers and mounds of up to 40ft high, it is no wonder those who play it love it.

Grand National (USA)

Built on the 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, Alabama, and it is reported that Robert Trent Jones described it as the single greatest site for a golf complex. There are three courses here in the Lake Course, Links Course and Short Course, with the Links Course being the cornerstone of the Grand National complex. For those who like courses with water, then all three courses at Grand National are a must-play.

Real club golf Sotogrande

Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course at Palmetto Dunes (USA)

This pinnacle of design is home to one of the only two oceanfront holes on the whole of Hilton Head Island, and has been named South Carolina’s Golf Course of the Year in the past. This inviting layout offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, but don’t let that distract you from the course’s challenges. The par-5 10th hole’s sweeping ocean views stands apart as one of South Carolina’s most breath-taking golf experiences.

Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course

Troia Golf Course (Portugal)

Located between the Sado Estuary and the Arrabida Mountains, and stretching 6,317-metres alongside the beach, Troia Golf is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe, let alone Portugal. What is impressive about this course is that Robert Trent Jones selected the 3rd hole at Troia as one of the best he has ever designed, and even included it in his list of ideal 18-hole courses. This truly is a Robert Trent Jones masterpiece.

Troia golf course

Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor (Wales)

The Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor was the resort’s first golf course, opening in 1995. Overlooking the Severn Estuary, this course hosted the 2015 Wales Senior Open, with long open fairways combined with twists and turns through trees and across streams challenging golfers. The course actually gets its name from the old Via Julia Roman highway that ran through its fairways.

Roman Road course, Celtic Manor

Ross Bridge (USA)

This course is another that features on the RTJ golf trail and if you like to let rip with the driver, the fact this course is one of the longest in the world should entice you. Ross Bridge is beautifully carved into the rolling terrain of the Shannon Valley, Alabama, and the beauty of each and every hole leads many to believe that there is not one signature hole here, but quite possibly 18.

Quinta da Marinha Golf (Portugal)

Located just outside Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, the Quinta da Marinha Golf Course’s natural, tranquil setting will feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon. Every hole is different here and feature classic Robert Trent Jones design features such as elevated greens and tees, strategically placed bunkers and water hazards. The course also boasts stunning views of the Sintra Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, with the Par-4, 3rd hole one of the most famous holes in Portuguese golf thanks to its stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Quinta da Marinha golf course

Fancy a top-quality golf break?
With over 400 course designs to show off, Robert Trent Jones is a genius when it comes to golf architecture.


Luke Brown avatar
Luke Brown

Senior European Travel Consultant

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