Bobby Jones’ Psyche Perspective by Ed Gowan
While Mike Vandermark”s analysis of your golf “phyche” is helpful, a few of Bobby Jones’ perspectives are just as valuable. You may recognize one or more and not have realized they emanated from the outstanding golfer of his era. They were never more appropriate than they are today. Enjoy them!
Let’s begin with the basic, “…Sometimes it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.” How true, but just consider the number of drivers purchased under the assumption it’s the arrow!
His ability with the English language is an art rare these days. Just consider, “On the golf course, a man may be the dogged victim of inexorable fate, be struck down by an appalling stroke of tragedy, become the hero of an unbelievable melodrama, or the clown in a side-splitting comedy, all within a few hours.”
Some of his most intelligent commentaries were simple one-liners we would all do well to remember:
“More short pitches are missed because of an abbreviated backswing than for any other reason.” ‘No putt is short enough to be despised.” For the Health Club crowd, “The best exercise for golfers is golfing.” “In putting, as with every other stroke, the player ought to forget about his head. Think with it, not OF it.” Remember this one? “Never up, never in.” “A good part of the game is played between the ears and is often as important as any mechanical skill.” And lastly for today, “Rhythm and Timing are the two things which every golfer must have, yet no one knows how to teach either.”
Bobby’s approach to psychology on the course (sorry Mike Vandermark) was simple and direct “Employ courageous timidity…”, and “Golf is said to be a humbling game, but it is surprising how many people are not aware of their weaknesses.” “Golf is a game of temperament and, for some, of temper.” “No virtue is so often rewarded as perseverance.” “Mental tension does no harm when combined with physical relaxation.” And one of the best ever, “The average player ought to realize that he must study his faults and learn to correct them during the course of a round.”
Jones’ philosophies have been copied, rephrased, repeated and remembered like no others before or since: “Golf has been called a reflection of life.” “A strong back and a weak mind have made many a golfing champion…” When praised for his honesty in calling a penalty for something no one witnessed, “You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this Game.” Here’s one that’s been lost on many recently, “No man learns to design a golf course simply by playing golf, no matter how well.” There are way to many examples of that statement. “A Golfer who is devoid of imagination will never rise far above mediocrity.” And here’s one final thought with the USGA/R&A’s distance statement in mind, “With modern equipment and modern players, we cannot make a good course more difficult by adding length, but only by the introduction of subtleties around the greens.” Oh, so true!
One final thought as it relates to the present game as much or more than in yesteryear. “There seems to be little appreciation today that golf is an amateur game, developed and supported by those who play for the love of it. Amateurs have build the great course where the player pros make money; amateurs maintain the clubs and public links that provide jobs for the working pros; amateurs spend millions of dollars each year on golf equipment and clothing; and, amateur rules and administer the game throughout the world. In this way, golf has prospered for several centuries. It would appear to be the best possible arrangement.”
Pat yourselves on the back…YOU are the heart and soul of the future of golf!