Bobby Jones' name already was linked to Sarasota when he attended the dedication ceremony February 13, 1927, for Bobby Jones Municipal Course, which had opened the previous June. The course, 2-1/2 miles east of downtown, replaced one just south of Main Street that had been built in 1904 by Sarasota's first mayor, J. Hamilton Gillespie, a Scotsman. Jones headlined the dedication match, paired with Sarasotan Louis Lancaster. Jones shot 73; amateur runner-up Watts Gunn, 75; Lancaster, 77, and Sarasotan Jim Senter, 83.
Jones first came in the fall of 1925 to Whitfield Estates, just north of Sarasota, at the request of the Whitfield developers, the Adair family of Atlanta, Georgia, where Jones grew up. The Adairs employed Jones to assist in the sale of Whitfield lots. Jones was featured playing against another famous golfer, "Sir Walter" Hagen in the much publicized 72-hole opening golf match and other early matches at Whitfield. That course and the Bobby Jones course were designed by Donald Ross, the foremost golf course architect of the day. With Tommy Armour, Whitfield's first resident pro, Jones played seven matches at Whitfield during the winter of 1926 against pairs of the best pros.
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When Bobby Jones won the 1926 British Open, the Sarasota
Herald wrote, "Sarasota's Own Wins Title." That July, community leaders presented him with a Pierce-Arrow sedan at a ceremony at McAnsh Park in downtown Sarasota.
From 1923 to 1929, Jones dominated both British and American golf by winning nine major tournaments. He was national champion eight years in a row. He often broke course records with clubs made of hickory without the steel shafts that today add power and distance. In 1930, at age 28, Jones won the four major tournaments of his day. a "grand slam" feat that may never be equaled. During his 14-year golf career, Jones earned degrees in law at Emory University, engineering at Georgia Tech and English literature at Harvard. He joined his father's law firm in 1928 and withdrew from tournament golf after 1930. Later he starred in golfing films and designed clubs for A.G. Spalding. He wrote numerous articles and three books about golf. He joined New York financier Clifford Roberts in building and founding the Augusta National Gold Club and, in 1934, established the Masters Tournament there. Jones, who is still known as one of the greatest golfers, died in 1971.