STEVENS POINT, Wis., July 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of hosting a USGA championship, Sentry Insurance paused a moment to honor the architect of its public parkland course on the hole that SentryWorld is most known for, the No. 16 Flower Hole.
The ceremony took place Friday, July 19, just three days shy of the 71st U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, being held at SentryWorld from July 22–27. The architect? None other than world renown golf course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr., who turns 80 during the event. Coincidentally, Jones Jr.'s also the architect of the course that hosted last year's U.S. Girls' Junior Championship—Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach, California.
Standing below the tee box amidst heat reminiscent of Georgia, Jones Jr. explained how he came to think of SentryWorld as not just his "Mona Lisa," but also the "Augusta of the North."
"John Joanis, then (Sentry) chairman and my client, said, 'Bob, I'd like this to be a parkland course like Augusta.' I said, 'You want this to be the Augusta of the North?' He said, 'Aim high.' And we did."
When SentryWorld opened in Stevens Point in 1982, it was Wisconsin's first destination course. Four years later, SentryWorld hosted its first USGA championship. Jones Jr. returned 30 years later to help reimagine the course from 2012–2014. Golf Digest consistently ranks SentryWorld among the top five courses in Wisconsin, and top 50 public courses to play in America.
Describing SentryWorld to those who were honoring him, Jones Jr. said, "Maybe it is the Augusta of the North. I see the conditioning here actually being equal to Augusta. Now, that's a big statement. Augusta may differ with me, but I went out and the greens are absolutely pure. The fairways look like greens. The white bunkers look like Augusta. It's not a sandy links course like you're seeing in the British Open. It's its own self. And it's a great piece of art. My Mona Lisa, but your SentryWorld."