John Jacobs was golf’s greatest ‘unsung hero’
John Jacobs, described as golf’s greatest ‘unsung hero’ passed away on January 13th 2017.
Mr Jacobs is remembered by Roddy Carr, one of our Directors here at BGC in an article which can be viewed by clicking here.
Below Denny Foster, our Club Professional recalls the time Mr Jacobs visited Barbados and more specifically Barbados Golf Club.
Remembering John Jacobs’ visit to Barbados Golf Club
Quite out of the blue one day, I received a phone call from John Jacobs’ daughter-in-law, Sheila. My name had been given to her by a mutual friend. Could I help her arrange a really special holiday in Barbados for her father-in-law, John Jacobs? She asked. Well, of course, I would certainly give it my best shot, but how could I possibly help? And so, she gave me his wish list. He would like to play a few rounds of golf at Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane and Barbados Golf Club. Easy enough, sure thing. Consider it done. Oh, and he would love to go deep sea fishing. Ok, I thought, not a problem. I knew just the man with just the fishing launch – Ralph Johnson whose son, James, was Barbados’ #1 golfer. Oh, and dad’s sporting hero of all time is Sir Garry Sobers. He would give anything to meet him. Done. As it turned out Sir Garry was more than pleased to meet the greatest teacher of golf of all time.
And that is how I met John Jacobs while he was on holiday in Barbados. But what I arranged for him did not compare to what he did for me.
At the time, I had completed the draft of a Learning manual. Mr. Jacobs, on hearing this, offered to edit it for me. I still havethe copy with his question marks and exclamation marks, corrections and comments – on every page. When he was finished with his editing he sat with me at the golf club and we chatted and discussed the manual in detail. I was completely flabbergasted. Here was arguably the most influential teacher of the modern era taking time out to help me improve my understanding of the golf swing and how to better teach it.
After our discussion, he asked me if there was any part of the game that I found difficult to get across to my students. Definitely, yes, I replied. The standard pitch shot is always the most troublesome. Why do you think that is? He asked. Because most students try to lift the ball in to the air by flicking their wrists. He suggested that we go out to the practice area and, right there and then, he shared with me the concept that I should concentrate on teaching the pitch shot being controlled from the core and its rotation and not by the arms or hands.
While on holiday, Mr. Jacobs insisted on conducting a clinic with my juniors. He was in his element, observing their swings and chatting with them, moving from one to the next, always with a word of encouragement, a witty comment and some little corrective action. “I enjoyed being with your juniors immensely,” he wrote me afterwards. “You must be very proud of them.”
Mr. Jacobs was much more than a knowledgeable professional. He was a most remarkable person. He was generous, sincere and kind; and he was gracious and witty. When in his company you knew you were in the presence of a wise and happy and good man. I still treasure every minute that I spent with Mr. Jacobs and I am sure that I am not alone.