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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Golf is my Game by Bobby Jones

I'm sure I must sometimes must sound like a broken record.  Most of my golf references or discussions either begin with, or at some point include, the phrase, "Bobby Jones said..."  While I hope this isn't too annoying to those who bother to listen to me, or read my blogs, I simply find it necessary to give credit where credit is due.  

Bobby Jones--see, I'm referencing him again--wrote what I consider to be a rather important introduction to his book Golf is my Game.  I think it provides a glimpse into the mind of this great champion, and brilliant man.  Golf has produced many great champions and fascinating characters.  Most of them have contributed to the betterment of the game in many different ways, and especially by sharing their insights on how to best play the game.  But, for me, Bobby Jones was the greatest of them all.

I thought I might quote from Bobby's introduction to his book as a way to hopefully interest others in finding a copy for themselves.  For me, Golf is my Game and Bobby Jones on Golf, have become my golf Bibles.  Golf is my Game was written by Bobby well after his playing days were over and he had had time to reflect and observe the next generation of champions.  

Although the game might have changed to certain degree, with better agronomy and improved equipment, I think Bobby was satisfied with the fact that his ideas about how to play the game did not have to be modified, changed, or updated to any significant degree.  His original writings were as sound as ever, and were in fact being repeated, or paraphrased, by new teachers.

In introducing Golf is my Game 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 have 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 quite on 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 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...

Just now, I do not intend to try to produce a guide for real study of the game.  I may attempt such a thing later on, but even if I do, I shall be ever mindful that this sort of development takes a lot of time and is best done under the supervision of a competent instructor.

What I have attempted in this book, although less ambitious, I believe will appeal to the vast majority of people who play golf.  I have suggested ways of making a mental approach to the game, of thinking through the playing of shots and of managing one's resources so as more often to enable the player to approximate the highest level of performance to which he has a right to aspire..."

Golf is my Game is a wonderful book.  It reveals the mind of a great, and thoughtful, champion.  It makes no promises of instant added yardage, or immediate reductions in your scores.  It simply invites you to think about the game in much the way Bobby Jones did and, by so doing, become the best player you can be, given your physical ability, and the time and energy you have available to devote to learning the game.  

Get a copy if you can.  You'll be glad you did.  If not, you'll still find me quoting liberally from the master.