Saturday, 3 September 2016

Bobby Jones

I'm probably accused of being a broken record.  Bobby Jones said this; Bobby Jones said that.  But, for my money, Bobby Jones said it best, and he often said it first.  

There was no greater champion than Bob Jones.  During a seven year stretch before winning the Grand Slam and retiring from competition, he won more than sixty percent of the Major championships he entered.  At the same time he was going to school, earning degrees in mechanical engineering and literature, and passing the State Bar after one year of law school.  He was essentially a part time golfer who could whip his game into shape and go out and beat the best in the world.

His tremendous intelligence made it possible for him to comprehend the essence of a game that continues to baffle most of us.  His wonderful command of the English language allowed us to savour his ideas, observations, and experiences without the intervention of a co-author.  What you read is pure Bobby Jones.

The fact that he competed and won on the world's biggest stages, but continued to play regular weekly rounds with his father and his cronies, meant that Bobby had the opportunity to observe and come to understand not only what it takes to be a champion, but also the weekly toils of the average golfer.

So many of his insights continue to be used by teachers today.  I don't know how many times I've had people tell me about something they picked up on Golfchannel or Youtube that they thought was new and been able to say, "Bobby Jones wrote about that."

The other thing that uniquely qualified Bobby Jones to be a great teacher was the fact that he started the Masters tournament and year after year was able to observe what the new kids were doing.  And stricken by a crippling disease, Bobby could no longer play.  But, rather than sink into a depression, he simply spent more time thinking about the game and how he could help other golfers.  His writing is his greatest gift to the game.

If I could offer any serious golfer a piece of advice, it would be to find and read the books of Bobby Jones.  They provide a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a champion along with some fascinating golf history.  And, chances are, it won't be long before I'm writing about Bobby Jones again.  I can't help it.