Rees Jones – son of the legendary designer Robert Trent Jones Snr and younger brother of renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr – is perhaps not as prolific as the other two when it comes to the number of courses he has designed around the world but he still plays a very important role in the American golfing world.
Nicknamed “The Open Doctor,” Rees has been involved in the redesign of more than a dozen courses in recent years in preparation for national or international competitions – seven US Open circuits, five USPGA venues, three Ryder Cups courses and one Walker Cup site. Some might feel this amounts to unnecessary interference, others will vouch that it’s something that needs to be done to ensure the integrity of the layouts.
Best known for designs at the likes of Nantucket, Atlantic and Ocean Forest, Rees was responsible for setting out the course at Huntsville Golf Club over rolling terrain within a massive 470-acre site in the early 1990s. “What golfers will enjoy at Huntsville is the beauty of the site and the way that the holes fit the land so perfectly,” says Rees Jones. “This course will reward excellent shot making, yet it will not overly penalize a poorly played shot.”
The par four 2nd doglegs left from an elevated tee position and is rated one of the best holes in the Keystone State. Another series of holes worth noting on the front nine are the three strong par fours that start at stroke index 1, the uphill 6th. On the inward half, the 448-yard, par four, 11th is a real feature hole, with a split fairway separated by a stonewall and an enormous bunker.
I believe Huntsville is underrated on this list, and likely because of its location. It has some of the best holes you may ever play in holes 2 and 12, and winds its way through the mountains as well as out on the open farmland. Although it may have some holes that are considered too difficult or will leave you scratching your head, it is a very strong golf course that is in the top 15 in Pennsylvania.