Ernest Jones – 1887-1965

Countless golfers have let it be known that in the roaring 20’s there lurked a golf instructor with a philosophy that bears a striking similarity to our very own. Could it be?…Another genius some 75 +++ years past? Perhaps a Cuz from the old country where the dress for men is a plaid skirt…..Undies? No one knows fer shur.

I never read golf books. The only thing I give into is tempation, thus I will admit to eyeballing some of the previews while I wait for my copy of his book.

So far I do see some common Tartan threads, but I also see where he could have strayed out into the heather a wee bit. Jones’ teachings revolved around the thesis that by swinging the clubhead rather than worrying about what all the body parts were supposed to do would provide the straightest and fastest path to a golfer reaching his or her potential. Echos of King James McLellan.

“The most amazing thing about the game,” said Jones, “is the fact that the poorest players are the ones who try to do the most. I am not speaking of the rank beginner, but rather of the golfer who has been struggling along for years trying remedies suggested by every person with whom he plays… I believe, rather, in simplifying the game by giving the pupil one definite and positive axiom to keep in mind every time he plays a golf shot. That is, ‘swing the clubhead.’ “The less you know about what your muscles are doing, the more pleasure you are going to get out of the game.” (Bravo rings from our chorus) Jones said that the hands control the swing, with the large muscles of the body — upper arms, shoulders, and legs — performing as “admirable followers.” “Who Ray”! Not a question, rather an excited hoot.

And that came from the days of the flappers, boot-leg gin, speak-easys, and the mob. I like the guy…and so far we agree. Get the hickory shafts and bagpipes out of the closet Mate, and we’ll have a go at it! Och aye!

The Anti-Pro

Jim McLellan

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12 Responses to Ernest Jones – 1887-1965

  1. I have studied his teachings for over ten years and i am always torn between his teaching methods and jims way.

    Ernest never believed in hands high or still head he believed these where effects not causes, but the only time i won a club championship under pressure was using jims teaching methods.

    There are a lot of great Ernest Jones Students today and there are a lot of great Mclellan golfers who use to be Ernest Jones Students.

    P/s My only consistent games where the ones that followed the mcgolf golden rules of practice, now i have to find a way to get back to it before i start hating the game.
    I strayed away from Jim’s teaching and now i have to re commit for 3 to 4 weeks of practice to try and get it back.

  2. Hi Masked Man AKA Anonymous.

    Congrats on winning the club championship! I will be posting
    a critique on Ernest Jones in the future. For now..The only factor
    that determines the value of golf
    instruction is results.

    Thanks for writing & keep us posted on your progress.

    Jim “Anti-Pro” McLellan

  3. I don´t see many differences between Ernest Jones and Jim´s swing. Maybe the bigger difference is that Jones proposes a more circular swing (pendulum) with the hands and Jim uses a closer downswing (more compact) with a quicker body turning. The background philosophy is quite the same in both methods. Anyway, I am not an expert. Are there more differences?

    In youtube there is a video about Ernest Jones´ swing to compare it with Jim´s swing:


  4. I have found those posts quite useful and pertinent (as you said-). I have just started at golf and I want to find the best way of swinging the club. Searching in the Internet I found your website and many more info. By now I am a golf student but without intention of keeping on it forever, just until getting a simple and fine method.

    Thanks for your wise comments, I will try to follow them. Maybe soon you will know more about me.

    Regards from Spain, and good luck in everything in life, music and golf,


  5. I had written to you previously about Ernest Jones and at that time, I recall you saying you had “never heard of him”……Well I am glad you finally got a chance to “find” him….as so much of what he taught… have been teaching as well….There are some definite differences between him and you in your approach….I keep going back and forth between Ernest’s approach…..and yours….thanks Jim, and I will look forward to your review on Jones’ work! take care

  6. Two questions I have that may be of interest to our readers. What are your perceived differences in the instruction and why do you go back and forth between our teaching and Jones?

    Thanks for you comment!


  7. Hey Jim

    Thanks for your reply! I think that the perceived difference that I see most is that your approach has more “structure” to it. The swing is built in “Parts” in many ways….being the 3 main components…..and it is brilliant.. Ernest Jones believed that the swing was ONE continuous motion, that there was no backswing and forward swing….you simply SWING the clubhead….very simple swing thoughts…although when you are “off” in your swinging of the clubhead during a round…it seems sometimes hard to get it back…..The reason that I go back and forth between the two…I think involves that structure that I referred to in your approach sometimes leading to “tension” in the body trying to maintain the three tenets to the letter……I think also I can get caught up in HITTING from the top after trying to take that effortless windup…..SO, often I go back to Ernest’s more free flowing…….one swing thought approach….and it has positives and negatives too…….I hope that wasn’t too long winded……I think that both approaches have similarities and differences…but again are both BRILLIANT!! (as the Guinness guys would say)….Appreciate your review of the book whenever you get a chance to post it….and what your perceived differences are between you and ole’ Ernest as well….Thanks Jim!!!!

  8. Well, Anonymous…you are an interesting character, Mr. D.A! Jones was a fine instructor, however I do NOT believe that a still head and a full backswing are the effect/result of something else. A still head is KEY to all great swings!…Jones doesn’t cover this salient point!..massive mistake to OMIT this KEY POINT in golf instruction, in my not so humble opinion. Jones has many excellent ideas but also has “filler” material in his book that has no value.

    To be very clear, I advocate the 3 key factors need to be memorized___one at a time___as quickly as possible!!…and later to be checked from time to time through video taping to make sure they are still correct. I suggest that the golfer forget about the parts ASAP and just have one big beautiful golf swing___now here’s the key___WITHOUT conscious thought. In fact, the goal of the serious golfer is to have the sensation that “something or someone else” is swinging the golf club and that you are NOT. The fine golfer is NOT THERE during their best shots. Think about it…when you hit your best shots You’re NOT thinking. You can’t swing and think at the same time, effectively. So, I’m definitely NOT a parts thinker or teacher! The swing is too fast to do this, now this, now this…and will never be pretty with “economy of motion” unless the swing is seamless!!
    It is TIME for YOU and all other golfers to stop relying on this or that method ___ and to OWN your own swing…Not Jones’s, or Mclellan’s…but YOURS!

  9. The origin of golf is unclear and open to debate however the most accepted golf history theory is that golf (as practised today) originated from Scotland in the 12th century, with shepherds knocking stones into rabbit holes in the place where the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St.Golf holidays in Costa del Sol

  10. Golf needs simplicity in its teaching and in its approach. Jim provides that. Golf is challenging enough with all its other variables so why complicate the golf swing and then get on some huge debate about why it can’t be so simple. The bottom line here is that the majority of golfers don’t trust their swings and don’t want to be embarrassed. So they read every conceivable tip out there looking for nirvana. Been there, done that. Perfection and golf don’t exist so let’s trust our swings, practice the short game and enjoy a beautiful day out on the course. And oh, copy Jim’s swing.

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