Reg Jones grew up in one of the meccas of American golf — North Carolina.
And now, as the United States Golf Association’s senior director of U.S. Open championships, he is in charge of formulating the plan for all “outside-the-ropes” activities (admissions, corporate hospitality, facility set-up, security, transportation, volunteers and vendor operations) at U.S. Opens.
A native of Henderson, North Carolina, Jones attended Wake Forest University. In 1994, he took on postgraduate internship with Pinehurst Championship Management to help out at the U.S. Senior Open.
Later, he was hired full-time as Pinehurst’s vice president of championships for 12 years before the USGA came calling.
The 46-year-old talked with The News Tribune on Jan. 13 during a Chambers Bay site visit in preparation for this summer’s U.S. Open in University Place:
I was really fortunate I was at Pinehurst at a time it was really being recognized again, and coming back onto the map.
The more I started thinking about it, and how well things went in 2005 at Pinehurst, it was just something I wanted to be a part of every year. That was it for me to go work for the USGA, and go work at the U.S. Open every year.
Last year (at Pinehurst No. 2) I was probably more in that role with it being a home game for me, and being there on site. But you have to have some good leadership in place when you are not there all the time.
So I think every year for me, it is taking things that have worked well at other sites, and after sort of evaluating the footprint … we apply it to that (new) site.
To me, that (the volunteer quota filling up) is comparable to the general reaction to the way the championship is received here, and how it was back at Pinehurst in 1999.
Chambers Bay is a difficult course to navigate in a traditional way where you are following a group from hole to hole. So we are really having to focus more on viewing from what are some phenomenal grandstand locations.
Most of the courses we go to, you’ve got trees, you’ve got obstructions. But you get into some of the seats here, you can see three or four holes. That is a different kind of spectator experience than you may think of when you go to a place like Sahalee or a Pinehurst or some of the other courses we go to.
That is what they will experience when they come here, whether it be when you see the type of stadium we construct that becomes the outside-the-ropes experience, or watching the players truly try and figure out what for them will be a very different experience.