Golf Course Architecture - Issue 75, January 2024

50 told me to go to Michigan State, and consequently that’s where I ended up.” At the end of his time at MSU, another remarkable set of circumstances played a part in Slessor’s life. “Three months before I graduated, Robert Trent Jones Sr came to give a lecture to the students,” he recalls. “I lined up to shake the great man’s hand, and after I had introduced myself, he said to me, ‘You sound as though you come from England’. I explained that was so, and how I got there, and he said, ‘I came from Wales originally’. I thought to myself, well, I’m never going to get this chance again, and so I asked him if there were any opportunities within his organisation. He gave me his card and said one of his colleagues would contact me. A little later, someone did, saying, ‘If you can be in Orlando on such-and-such date, we have a construction project starting, and we’ll give you a job for three months’. And I ended up working for them for almost ten years. For the first seven, I worked in their construction operation and essentially lived out of a suitcase – I never had a proper base.” After several years in the Jones construction team, Slessor had an opportunity to move into design. “I was doing a job in Boston, and the end of the construction season was approaching,” he says. “I got a call from Roger Rulewich, who said, ‘You’ll be finished there in a week. Rather than going to another job in Florida, can you draw?’ I said of course, and he explained that one of their draughtsmen had just quit and would I like to train to replace him. So instead of spending the winter in Florida, I spent it in the New Jersey office. After a while, they said to me, ‘We’ve got a few problems in the European office, will you go over and take a look?’ That was in 1989, and they had 11 projects in construction. They were doing design/build and had some issues with the contracts they had signed. Jones had a few options, including closing the operation. He thought about it Slessor (fourth from left) with the EGD team at Marco Simone for the 2023 Ryder Cup JEREMY SLESSOR “ A letter to Frank Hannigan, who became the USGA’s fifth executive director in 1983, was the action that kick-started Slessor’s career” Photo: EGD