Rees Jones on the Birdie Act and Affordable Golf

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Business

With a bit of a wry smile, Rees Jones tried to shrug off a question about the so-called “Birdie Act,’’ a bill now before  Congress that – in theory at least – would make golf courses built on or after Dec. 1, 1990, eligible for copyright protection.

Rees Jones

Rees Jones, son of renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was born into the game of golf.

“Sounds like a good law for the lawyers,’’ Jones told me at the recent groundbreaking of his renovation of the Woods course at Boca Woods in Boca Raton, FL. “I don’t know much about it. I don’t think it’s necessary. Golf course architects travel… they get ideas. But you do have to be careful of something like the ‘replica’ courses. I think that’s really what (the Birdie Act) is after.’’

What most concerns the famed “Open Doctor’’ these days isn’t necessarily golf course design as much as it is the prices of golf courses.

“I just don’t want golf to get too expensive,’’ Jones said. “We need to have an influx of golfers coming in. Some of the destinations and private clubs have big numbers.’’

Jones cites the Wellman Golf Club in Johnsonville, S.C., as an example of affordable golf. Along with design partner Bryce Swanson, Jones renovated the 18-hole public course in Florence County last year, which closed in 2010.

“It’s generated a lot of interest,’’ Jones said. “You can play for $50 per round.’’

Photo Courtesy of Wellman Golf Club



About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.