Famous Quotes From Bobby Jones and About Him

Golfer Bobby Jones, circa 1928
Golfer Bobby Jones, circa 1928. Central Press/Getty Images

Bobby Jones is one of the giants in golf history, not just for his on-course accomplishments but for what he did after retirement: He co-founded Augusta National and The Masters; he starred in the first golf instructional films, movie shorts that screened in theaters.

So when Jones spoke, people - especially golfers - tended to listen. And other golfers - his contemporaries and those who followed - had plenty to say about him and his impact on golf.

Did You Know?

Bobby Jones favored a roll-back of golf ball technology to arrest increasing distances — even arguing in a 1927 newspaper article for a return to the gutta percha ("gutty") golf ball. "There has been a constant stretching of courses to cope with increased distances. That makes up a vicious circle," Jones said. "Championship caliber links that once were 6,000 yards, then 6,500 yards, now they are close to 7,000 yards, and, if it keeps up, may have to go to 7,500."

Here is an assortment of quotations, some from Jones, others about Jones:

Quotes from Bobby Jones

  • "The secret of golf is to turn three shots into two."
  • "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."
  • "Some people think they are concentrating when they're merely worrying."
  • "No putt is too short to be despised."
  • "Bad putting is due more to the effect the green has upon the player than it has upon the action of the ball."
  • "The moment the average golfer attempts to play from long grass or a bunker or from a difficult lie of any kind, he becomes a digger instead of a swinger."
  • "Too much ambition is a bad thing to have in a bunker."
  • On his temper and club-throwing: "Some emotions cannot be endured with a golf club in your hands."
  • On the pace of a golf swing: "No one ever swung too slowly."
  • "Many shots are spoiled at the last instant by efforts to add a few more yards."
  • On his belief in playing quickly overall: "Don't give the ball time to get set. If you do, it may duck."
  • "Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears."
  • "The enemy in golf is tension."
  • "If there is a watchword or slogan that a golfer should always remember is to avoid tension. His first position should be as natural and comfortable as he can possibly make it."
  • "You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about."
  • "I have seen many good players attempt shots they should have known were impossible."
  • "The object of golf is to beat someone. Make sure that someone is not yourself."
  • When he was praised for calling a penalty on himself: "You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this game."
  • "The best exercise for golfers is golfing."
  • "Golf is the only game I know of that actually becomes harder the longer you play it."
  • "The difference between going in a sand trap and getting in water is like the difference between an auto wreck and an airplane wreck. You can recover from one of them."

Quotes from Others About Bobby Jones

William Campbell, onetime USGA president: "What Jones did was create a model that everyone, consciously or unconsciously, followed. It is why we have so many fine people in golf. He showed the world how to do it."

Sportswriter Grandland Rice: "One might as well attempt to describe the smoothness of the wind as to paint a clear picture of his complete swing."

Grantland Rice: "Bobby Jones is not one in a million persons ... I should say he is one in ten million - or perhaps one in fifty million."

Writer Herbert Warren Wind: "As a young man, he was able to stand up to just about the best that life can offer, which is not easy, and later he stood up with equal grace to just about the worst."

Herbert Warren Wind: "In the opinion of many people, of all the great athletes, Jones came the closest to being what we call a great man."

Jim Barnes: "Defeat will make him great. He's not satisfied now with a pretty good shot. He has to be perfect. That's the way a good artist must feel."

Dwight Eisenhower: "His gift to his friends is the warmth that comes from unselfishness, superb judgement, nobility of character, unwavering loyalty to principle."

Jack Nicklaus, age 20, in 1960: "Jones is the greatest golfer who ever lived and probably ever will live. That's my goal. Bobby Jones. It's the only goal."