Congratulations to bestselling author James R. Hansen for another notable literary achievement. Following are major portions of the USGA's announcement from earlier this week.
FAR HILLS, N.J. – In recognition of its high standard of achievement in golf literature, 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 renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. is an expertly researched and written reflection on the life and career of one of the most prolific, well-respected and transformational figures in the history of golf.
“To have the USGA and Herbert Warren Wind associated with a book that I wrote is a huge honor,” said Hansen. “There is no name in golf writing more respected or more prestigious than Wind. As a writer, it is the ultimate distinction in my career.”
With the help and cooperation of Jones’ sons, Robert Jr. and Rees, who shared letters, documents and personal stories of their father, Hansen pieced together the life events and struggles that the British-born Jones encountered on the way to creating his legacy. A Difficult Par focuses not only on Jones’ achievements in design and architecture, but also on the personal and financial challenges that he faced throughout his career. Hansen carefully details the family dynamics and professional rivalries that occurred during the latter part of 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.
Hansen, a professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University since 1986, has written 10 books about the history of aerospace, including First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, as well as numerous articles for golf publications.
The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award will be presented to Hansen on at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in New York City.