Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Bobby Jones Helping Learners to Learn

I love the introduction by Bobby Jones in his book, Golf is my Game.  He is the source I always go to first whenever I'm encountering problems, or whenever I am asked for advice by someone who is struggling, or trying to learn.  While he didn't consider himself to be a teacher, he has certainly helped, and continues to help, this learner, and who knows how many other learners over the years, to learn.  He was the best and the brightest this game has ever produced, even if he would never admit it himself.

In his introduction, Bobby wrote:

"I have written this book because I thought I could help golfers of all classes to play better and to get more enjoyment from their play.  I have never tried to teach golf, having always been on the receiving end of any such exchange, but I have spent many years trying to learn something about the game.  At times I thought that I had learned pretty well, but I always found more to learn.

Teaching anything requires a great deal more than knowledge of the subject.  It is one thing to possess knowledge or the ability to perform--quite another to be able to impart that knowledge or skill.  I am sure that I do not even know all the qualities needed by a teacher, although I have read several treatises on the subject.  It is enough for me to know that I have no right to pretend to be one.

On the other hand, in golf at least, I can claim to have been a fairly successful learner, and I more than half suspect that any golfer may rightfully attribute more of whatever skill he may possess to his own ability to learn than to the ability of someone else to teach.  At any rate, I have written my book as a learner, rather than as a teacher.  I am not ambitious to teach teachers to teach, but if I can help learners to learn, I shall consider my reward sufficient."

Bobby was humble, almost to a fault, if there can be such a thing as being too humble.  He was, at the time this was written, undoubtedly the greatest golfer ever to play the game.  He is still, arguably the greatest there ever was.  The things he explained and revealed in Golf is my Game, and Bobby Jones on Golf, have more than stood the test of time.  His ideas have been rephrased and repeated by virtually every teacher of any prominence since.  He might not have considered himself a great teacher, but as a great learner, teaching other learners to learn, he had, and still has, no equal. 

I have had the pleasure of reproducing some of Bobby's words in my blog.  His books may not be that easy to find.  But, if you are a learner, looking for help learning, you would be richly rewarded by seeking those books out for yourself.  If you want to try to get a better handle on this game, why not go to the best golfer ever to play and then write about it?