December 24 - Bobby Jones, How I Play Golf
Note from TheMirl.com: This is the newest installment of a regular series by Joel Blumberg reviewing
sports movies from all eras.
The title “Bobby Jones, How I play Golf” would lead one to believe that this DVD is
one of many that proliferate such venues as “ESPN”, FSN, and more specifically
“The Golf Channel”. And one would further believe that if you listen to every piece
of advice handed out by these entrepreneurs, you could give up your regular job
and join the tour.
On the contrary, “Bobby Jones, How I Play Golf”, is a series of on screen golf
lessons given to viewers by the man who was the “Tiger Woods” of his day. But
these collections of video shorts become germane to this website because the
eminent Mr. Jones gives his lessons to the greatest Hollywood stars of the
Produced as 10 minute shorts by Warner Bros in 1931, less than a year after Jones won the US
Amateur to complete his grand slam, “Bobby Jones, How I Play Golf” was one of the first directorial
efforts of George Marshall (billed in the shorts as George E. Marshall). He would go on to direct such
classics like “Destry Rides Again”, starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich(as well as the
inferior remake “Destry” starring Audie Murphy 16 years later), “The Blue Dahlia”, with Alan Ladd and
Veronica Lake, and “You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man” with WC Fields. Marshall also directed, Martin
and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy and Bob Hope.
Now these shorts are not just bland instructional videos, Each episode tells a story such as Guy
Kibbee portraying an company boss who’s employee is out on the course taking instruction from
Jones rather than out selling Kibbe’s product. It all ends well when Jones gives Kibbee a lesson as
There’s an episode where Loretta Young plays a woman trying to elope but her father catches up with
her near a golf course. Leave it to Jones to both give the father a golf lesson and play peacemaker as
well, and in another James Cagney and Donald Cook, who played the Powers Brothers in “The
Public Enemy” watch Jones try to practice, but Jones is constantly interrupted by Louise Fazenda (at
the time the wife of Warner’s producer, Hal Wallis). Edward G Robinson, Richard Arlen, Walter
Huston and WC Fields are just some of the many stars who appear in the episodes. Even Director
Marshall appears in an episode
These DVDs are the brainchild of Steve Chamberlain, a former executive and one of the men behind
the launch of Turner Classic Movies. In the tradition of TCM, these full screen black and white shorts
have been remastered and look as good now as they did in the theaters in 1931. Chamberlain
purchased the rights to these videos and with the permission of the Jones Estate, has placed the
Jones name back among those of Palmer, Nicklaus, Nelson and Woods as the greatest ever to play
But the most impressive part of these videos is the fact that while men and equipment have changed
the game dramatically the basics of Golf are still the same. Back in the thirties as is now, less is
more in golf. The harder you swing, the tougher it is to control the golf ball, thus from an instructional
viewpoint the tips that Jones gives still hold up today.
The collection includes all 12 segments of “Bobby Jones, How I Play Golf” on 2 DVDs. A third DVD
produced in 1933, “How To Break 90” has 6 more episodes of Jones giving instruction to Hollywood
legends is included as well. In addition, the collection includes a chapter description booklet and an
8 page book called “Bobby Jones In Hollywood”.
A special collector’s edition includes a lithograph of suitable for framing, and a special Coffee Table
book on Bobby Jones.
This collection is not available in stores. It is available through www.bobbyjonesgolfdvd.com. And
while it may not have won any awards, if you’re looking for a gift for the golfer who has everything, or
the movie buff who wants something different, “Bobby Jones, How I Play Golf” is a Hole In One.