Posted:  Oct. 27, 2014

The Slam: Bobby Jones and the Price of GloryAn intriguing and detailed look at the greatest season a golfer has ever had--when Bobby Jones became the first golfer to win all four major championships in one year
The year 2005 marks the 75th anniversary of Bobby Jones's remarkable 1930 season. No one had won the Grand Slam before--and no one has since. In a splendid narrative that is worthy of Jones's singular achievement, Curt Sampson, acknowledged as one of golf's best writers, captures the magic of his feat and the high cost he paid to achieve it, set against the backdrop of the Depression.

Jones was such a sickly child that he was unable to eat solid food until the age of 5. At 6 he found golf, and by age 14 he was nationally known as a golf prodigy. He had matinee idol looks and dated Zelda Sayre before novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald wed her. His 1930 golf season glittered so brightly that he got two tickertape parades. Then, at the top of his game, he shocked everyone and quit the sport.

The book focuses explicitly on Jones and 1930. His fast run to glory was a dark, intricate tale that has never been told until now. The public Jones waved to the crowd in tickertape parades and smiled for the newsreel cameras. Meanwhile, the private man endured agonies. He couldn't eat or sleep, and morning drinking became his norm. Jones won with skill, courage, a lottery winner's luck--and some truly shocking help from George Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of presidents.

Jones conquered the world just as it was falling apart. His triumphs represented hope for the hopeless. In many ways, Jones was the horse the world followed before Seabiscuit. And like Laura Hillenbrand's mega-bestseller, this is a sports story that captures the essence of an era--equal parts compelling sports biography, sweeping social history, and stirring human drama.

I found this book “The Slam”, about Bobby Jones very fascinating. Besides being a great golfer, he had also graduated from Georgia Tech University with a degree in engineering, then went to Harvard and graduated with a degree in English, not being done went to Emory Law school and after 3 years took the Georgia State Bar exam and passed. He then started working in his father’s law firm. While he was attending Georgia Tech he did play on their golf team, he did not play on Harvard’s golf team but he is in their sports men hall of fame. I should also point out that he started at college at the age of 17, so he was a very smart young man. Having already started a job and starting to play golf he married his long time sweetheart they meet his freshmen year at Georgia Tech, they would go on to have three children and that is one of the reasons why he went after the Grand slam, as it was called back then. He was already competing against pros like Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen. He won his first major the U.S.Open in 1923, won the U.S. Amateur in 24, and was the first golfer to win the double the U.S. Open and the British Open, back then they just called it the open. So by the end of 29 he was actually thinking about going for it and winning all four big major championships in 1930. He was getting tired being away from his family and he was being offered more was ways to make money and one of them was a set of films on how to golf. He thought that this might lead to him losing his amateur status and he did not want that to happen or anyone to question his status. Some golfers were now changing to iron shafts from wood and were trying to get him to make the change along with them. He did not what to make any changes and stuck with wooden shafts. You also have to remember that here in the states they traveled by train and by ship to go over to England. While in England in competed in both the Open and a short while later the British Amateur would take place. I do know that Tiger Woods thought he won the Grand Slam a few years ago but not all of the victories were in the same calendar year and after reading this book I can see why those golf historians were saying no. for me the biggest reason and I did not know this until reading this book is that on Saturday of a tournament they played 36 holes of golf. They would come early in the morning play 18 break for lunch and then you went back out and played and played another 18 holes unless it was tied then you played more. So yes I now understand that playing golf back then was different and you must win the four in the same year. I will say that he was pretty confidante in himself for he placed a wager on himself to win all four when he was in Britain, you had been able to wager on yourself up until this year for some reason they stop allowing players to bet for the first time. Any way he won 60,000 betting on himself in 1930 not a bad retirement, since he left playing after he won all four in the same year. The stories of each tournament are exciting and very interesting and make up a great deal of the book. The book is well written and you buy know means need be a golfer to appreciate this book, it is written that well and is a very good story. I was entertained and like always amazed how men and women can get that ball in the cup when I had the knack to find any water anywhere. A good read. I got this book from net galley. 

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