Picks and Pans Review: Bobby Jones: "how I Play Golf"

updated 05/16/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Here's a real treat not only for golf fans but for movie buffs as well. Made in Los Angeles in 1931 and 1932, the 18 lessons on these two pricey tapes—lasting about 10 minutes apiece because they were made for between-features theatrical showing—feature golf legend Jones interacting with such film stars as W.C. Fields, James Cagney, Loretta Young and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Although only 29 in 1931, Jones was already an international celebrity for his golfing feats—he won golf's Grand Slam in 1930, among other things—and before he was 30, he had been given two ticker-tape parades up Broadway.) The crisp black-and-white photography is superior to today's mushy videotape too. Director George (The Perils of Pauline) Marshall was creative, placing a camera, for instance, in the direct line of Jones's shots. Not only is the angle a great teaching aid, but it's fun to watch balls whiz by the camera. In one instance, Jones drives a shot right through the lens from about 50 yards away. What's more, everything Jones discusses is relevant today, except perhaps for his putting technique, which is wristier than today's stroke. Each lesson is part of a little story that makes these tapes more interesting than anything else on the market too. In the lesson on trouble shots, for instance, slapstick comedian Joe E. Brown bets Edward G. Robinson dinner that he can beat Jones. The catch is that Brown hits all of Jones's second shots and Jones hits Brown's. It's a great scenario for Jones to show how to hit shots that are in long rough or nestled up against a tree. For the tree shot, where he can't take his normal stance, Jones stands with his back to the hole and banks the ball off the tree. The ball ends up 10 feet from the cup. (SyberVision, $245 for two tapes and a book about Jones)

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