The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones And The Story Of Golf ,library Edition (Anglais)
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An interesting side note is that, as Mark Frost points out, East Lake Country Club, in Jones' native Atlanta, was an incubator for golfing talent. Besides Jones, another golfer, the longest hitter, Mike Austin, practiced at East Lake Golf Course during that time. His story is told in the fascinating book IN SEARCH OF THE GREATEST GOLF SWING.
The only omission from GRAND SLAM is a more detailed analysis of Jones's swing. What made him such a great ball striker? Also, the book gets into idol worship at times. But the author certainly makes his case convincingly. Read it -- you'll be glad you did.
Ouimet defeated golfing giants Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in his Open upset. After the tournament was completed, Vardon and Ray began a tour of the United States before returning to their homeland. One of their stops took them to the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Eleven-year-old Bobby Jones was a spectator at that match. Several weeks later, young Jones accomplished his first milestone in his golfing career when he posted a score of 80. Three years later, at the age of fourteen, Jones became the youngest player ever to qualify for and play in a U.S. Amateur Championship. For the next seven years he struggled to overcome self-imposed feelings of inferiority and a violent temper before finally winning his first U.S. Open Championship in 1923. Until his retirement in 1930, Jones dominated the game of golf, winning thirteen of golf's major championships of that era: the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the Amateur Championships.
In 1930, Jones accomplished the grand slam of golf, winning the four Open and Amateur championships held that year. The feat has never been matched. Frost's saga of those four tournaments is the culmination of THE GRAND SLAM, covering the final one-third of the narrative. Long before the account of the 1930 championships, Frost paints an elaborate portrait of Jones, golf, and the history of post World War One America and Europe.
Viewing the life of Bobby Jones through the lens of the contemporary sporting world dominated by money, money and more money, it is difficult to imagine the truly amateur career accomplishments of Jones. In addition to dominating the game of golf, Jones found time to graduate from Georgia Tech, undertake graduate studies at Harvard University and attend law school, passing the Georgia Bar Exam after only three semesters, an extremely difficult feat. During Jones's lifetime, the rules regarding amateur golf were exacting. Unlike modern amateur athletes, Jones could not train year round. He had to maintain full-time employment in order to support his wife and children. Under those circumstances, Jones's golf accomplishments are even more remarkable to contemplate.
If THE GRAND SLAM was merely the story of Bobby Jones, it would be a worthy book. But it is far more. In addition to the life of Jones, we learn of avid presidential golfers Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding. While in the White House, the widower Wilson remarried. The President and his new wife honeymooned at a golf course. Jones's life is also set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, and the literary era represented by authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. In addition to Jones, sports heroes including Red Grange, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey dominated the '20s. All of these legends contributed to a golden age of sports skillfully chronicled by Mark Frost.
The 1920s also saw the rise of professional golfers, including the legendary Walter Hagen, whose career intertwined and benefited from the attention paid to Jones. Beyond their confrontations in multiple U.S. and British Opens, Hagen and Jones had occasional highly publicized and well-attended exhibition battles. The two men were polar opposites in their approach to golf and life. Hagen was flamboyant and self-assured, while Jones was nervous and often wracked with self-doubt. In addition, Jones spent a substantial portion of his career battling a temper that he found difficult to control. Only as he matured both physically and emotionally did he reach his true potential.
The career of Bobby Jones and the 1930 grand slam year has been the subject of many books. THE GRAND SLAM goes far beyond the narrative of the golfing life of Bobby Jones. Mark Frost's two books effectively serve as volumes one and two of what could be a magnificent history of American golf. Avid golf historians can only await the next installment in the saga from a splendid golf writer.
--- Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
The fact is, Bobby Jones was and is irreplaceable. Period! Frost's marvelous biography, if read carefully, paints such a portrait that honest assessors of the game of golf have no choice but to agree with Oscar Bane "Pop" Keeler: "There will never be another like him!" Not the Tiger Woods of another era. Far from that. Frost's volume clearly points out that every other golfer -- from Hagen to Sarazen to Palmer to Nicklaus to Woods -- is but a shadowy also-ran when compared to the inimitable Robert Tyre Jones, Jr.
GRAND SLAM tells the story of Jones' unlikely and never again equaled feat of winning all four of golf's major championships in a single calendar year. And if you are remotely interested in the game of golf -- beyond taking the sticks out once a year -- you cannot read this book and come away with any other notion than that, very likely, the greatest golf every played on this planet was played some 80 years ago! And there is nothing wrong with that fact. Who says that, as time passes, we need to see better and better golfers? Just because the equipment is supposedly better and the conditions are supposedly better doesn't for a minute mean that the best to ever tee it up has already finished his round. And please don't come to the table with arguments that today's competition is greater or that life on tour is harder or that today's Majors are more rigorous.
Yes, there is Eldrick Tiger Woods and, yes, there is his amazing Tiger-Slam. A great sporting event in its own right. I admit it. But, despite Tiger's claims that he has already matched what Jones' did, it doesn't even come remotely close to equaling--as retold in Frost's GRAND SLAM--what Jones accomplished in 1930. Not hardly! That's it and that's all. Let's just all take a deep breath and accept it!
Like THE GREATEST GAME..., GRAND SLAM is masterfully written, telling the story of Jones' early experience in golf, his brush with death at East Lake, his steady rise to golf's greatest pinnacle and his elegant retirement from competitive golf at the ripe old age of 28. And Frost's narrative regarding the four majors of 1930 is simply riveting reading for any true golf aficionado. The volume also presents wonderful biographical sketches of the other major players in the drama, including Walter Hagen and Chick Evans.
GRAND SLAM is a must read for anyone who fancies himself a devotee of the grand game. Read it and allow yourself to be amazed, as I was, that such a one a Bobby Jones ever, in flesh and blood, played the game that we love!
THE (GOLFING) HORSEMAN