Well, the 2009 Fedex Cup is almost over and the golf season is winding down. Where did the time go? I feel like it was just yesterday we were watching The Masters and talking about the legendary Bobby Jones, as we do every year when the azaleas are in bloom.
Well, this year, we get to remember him twice because this year the Fedex Cup ends its season at East Lake, the oldest course in Atlanta, where Bobby Jones started his golfing career at the age of 6, and ended it at the ripe old age of 28.
Mike Southern at ruthlessgolf.com thought it would be fun to have a bit of a blog-a-thon about Bobby Jones during the Tour Championship. Cool idea, don’t you think? Check out all these great posts from fellow bloggers!
Art Murphy from LifeandGolf gives us …We Play the Ball Where It Lies, a collection of miscellaneous quips and quotes about golf and golfers from Bobby Jones.
Mike Southern at Ruthless Golf wonders Could Bobby Jones Have ‘Cut It’ Against Today’s Pros?, and shows us what science and Jones’s own notes have to say about the debate.
Vince Spence from The One-Eye Golfer writes about An Affair to Remember – Bobby Jones and St. Andrews, as he looks at the affection of the champion golfer for the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland which started in 1921.
Greg D’Andrea at From the Rough talks about Golf’s Proper Place. “Bobby Jones played competitive golf only three months of the year, always keeping in perspective the game’s original intent – ‘a means of obtaining recreation and enjoyment.'”
Charles Boyer from Me and Old Man Par has chosen Bobby Jones’ Competitors: Many of Them Were Good, One Was Great. “It is often thought that Bobby Jones showed up and crushed his competition on the way to another victory,” Charles says. “The truth is that he had many worthy competitors and one, Walter Hagen, stood above all the others as Jones’ most worthy competitor.”
Michael Green at Aussie Golfer tells about Searching for Bobby Jones, where a search for Bobby Jones in Australia finds remarkable similarities to modern day golf.
Jon Blackburn from The Common Golfer looks at Bobby Jones: Golf’s Original Common Golfer. It’s a celebration of Bobby Jones’ life, and what made him unique amongst his golfing peers.
Apryl DeLancey at Women Like Sports features in her weekly Wild World of Wednesday post about how good friends Alexa Sterling and Bobby Jones continued to play golf during WWI in order to raise money for a good cause.
And Ryan Ballengee from Waggle Room sends us a vlog from East Lake about how Jones’ spirit influences the club and community today.
At first, I was wondering what to write about, but it didn’t take me long to remember how much I enjoyed watching his series on TV (filmed in 1931) “How I play golf”. I have watched all 12 episodes and am still in awe of his fluid swing and uncanny ability to make golf look easy.
Now, many of his swing techniques would not be considered “proper” these days (e.g. turning his lower body too much, lifting his left foot so high, coming inside quickly on his backswing, and his unorthodox re-gripping of the last 2 fingers of his left hand on his transition from backswing to downswing), but there were some gems in his TV shows that I still remember today and try to apply to my own game. Here are just a few…
1. Forget your right hand – only think of the left. If you try and use your right hand to “help” the ball, you’ll probably hook it. Yup…happens every time! I remember Camilo Villegas saying something similar in this month’s Golf Magazine. “Keep your left wrist flat when you strike the ball.” CV says that’s his all time favorite swing tip. It’s mine too.
2. Tuck your right elbow close to the body on the downswing. This is one I have to really think about when I practice. I’m not sure why, but I have a chicken wing problem that needs constant attention. And when that wing tries to fly, Shankerella rears her ugly head.
3. Get your left hip out of the way. Although I don’t like to lift my left heel on the takeaway like Bobby did (I lose all control if I do that), I do think about smacking my heel down in my shoe to help me start my downswing with my lower body. It’s really more of a weight shift trigger for me, but it started by watching Bobby Jones’ left foot on his downswing. If I don’t do this, I tend to use my arms too much, blocking my hips and getting a big fat slice.
Two other traits of Bobby Jones’ swing I’d love to copy are his tensionless body and his balance. Those two goals are still a “work in progress” for me – especially the tension. By the 18th hole my left forearm is often in pain because, in my effort to keep it straight, I end up creating enormous tension. Bobby Jones’ left arm had a curve to it. He didn’t lock it stiff like so many of us are told to do when we first start playing. It is very hard to have a straight arm without tension. Actually it’s very hard to play golf without tension, period!
And then there is the mental tips/quips…
Bobby Jones was quoted as saying, “Some people think they are concentrating when they’re merely worrying.” Boy, did he have that right! How many of us think we are focused, but really, we just have too many swing thoughts in our heads. How many of us walk up to a ball in fear? Bury my ball in the sand and my concentration will turn to worry in very short order.
He also said, “Sometimes the game of golf is just too difficult to endure with a golf club in your hands.” Haha…isn’t that the truth? Yup, even the great Robert Tyre Jones Jr. understood that as easy as he made golf look, it just isn’t. Nope…as my golfguy always says, “Life is easy – Golf is hard”. Something tells me even for the greatest golf legend of all time would probably agree with that.