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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Bobby Jones on Slow Play

In the book, Bobby Jones on Golf, Bobby Jones devotes a short chapter to the subject of slow play. "Golf," Bobby writes, "depends for its growth upon public interest. Nothing can be less entertaining to the spectator than a round of golf drawn out by minute examinations of every shot."

Bobby concedes that "the deliberation necessary depends entirely upon the man who is playing the game; it is his business to play the shot, and he should never be required to play until he is ready." However, Bobby points out that there is "one very cogent reason why the older heads and more prominent players should make an especial effort to avoid unnecessary delay; that is, because of the effect of their examples upon the youngsters coming along."

"When I see a much-considered shot go astray," Bobby continues, " I can't help thinking of the lawyer who had unsuccessfully defended a client charged with murder. The trial had been long drawn out, lasting nearly a month, and the lawyer had made quite a lot of noise and stormed eloquently in his argument. Meeting a brother lawyer on the street a few days later, the case came up in discussion. The lawyer, whose client had been convicted, asked his friend what he thought of his conduct of the trial. His friend replied, 'Well, I think you could have reached the same result with a whole lot less effort.'"

"More often than not, the first impression in golf is the best. There is no man," Bobby concludes, "capable of hitting a golf ball with sufficient exactness to warrant concern about the minute undulations a very close examination might reveal. If he can care for the difficulties he can see at a glance, he will have done well enough."

I wonder, what would Bobby think now of the state of the game and it's four and a half hour rounds.