I opened up an Instagram account dedicated to golf (1502golf) in October 2017. I did so primarily because I felt I should be doing something with my collection of quotes, which had grown steadily over the last 25 years. After close to 1,000 posts, I have learned that the quotes/photos featuring the all-time greats consistently get the most “likes” and the most “comments.”
The golfers who go to Instagram react “nicely” to the thoughts, tips and observations from younger players such Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, but they “love” reading the words of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros.
With the golf season in full swing, I thought sharing the timeless wisdom of Instagram star Bobby Jones (1902 – 1971) would be both instructive and inspirational. Just for the record, while I consider 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus to be the greatest player of all time (The GOAT), you can actually make a very good case for Jones.
During his era, the four Majors were the British Amateur, The (British) Open Championship, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. All told, Jones, who never gave up his amateur status, played in 31 Majors from 1923 to 1930, winning 13 times* and finishing in the Top 10 27 times.
His BIG YEAR, of course, was 1930 when he won all four Majors. He retired that same year from competitive golf despite being just 28.
“Too much ambition is a bad thing to have in a bunker.” (I think Jones was looking at me when he said this.)
"We think, talk, and write so much about the details of the stroke that we sometimes lose sight of the thing which is all-important -- hitting the ball. It is a matter of well-timed acceleration rather than of physical effort of the kind that bends crow-bars and lifts heavy weights."
How To Best Prepare For A Golf Tournament: “I have a good dinner in the evening in my room, prefaced by two good, stiff highballs, the first taken in a tub of hot water; the finest relaxing combination I know; and then a few cigarettes and a bit of conversation, and bed at 9 o’clock.”
“I get as much fun as the next man from whaling the ball as hard as I can and catching it squarely on the button. But from sad experience, I learned not to try this in a round that meant anything.”
“Golf is played at such a slow pace that you don’t have an opportunity to work off steam in physical activity. Playing around that golf course in four hours, you get so weighted down by the strain and the responsibility and the difficulty of concentrating that you just wish to goodness you could hit a carless shot – just hit the ball without thinking. And if you ever yield to that temptation, you’ll always pay for it.”
The Hips: “I should say that the most important movement of the swing would be to start the downswing by beginning the unwinding of the hips. … There can be no power, and very little accuracy or reliability, in a swing in which the left hip does not lead the downstroke.”
“It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many years to realize it. And it is easy to forget, now. And it won’t do to forget in tournament golf.”
"Some people think they are concentrating when they're merely worrying."
And just accept the fact that “No-one will ever have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf is the greatest of games.”
*Jones’s Major wins were: 1930 British Amateur; 1926, ‘27 & ‘30 (British) Open Championship; 1923, ‘26, ‘29 & ‘30 U.S. Open, and 1924, ‘25, ‘27, ‘28 & ‘30 U.S. Amateur.