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This Day in Georgia History

March 17, 1902

Bobby Jones Born

To view an image of Bobby Jones, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Lawyer and golfing great Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. - better known as Bobby Jones - was born in Atlanta. Growing up across the street from the East Lake Country Club, Jones learned the game of golf early, winning his first tournament (a junior championship) at age nine. In 1916, he won the inaugural Georgia State Amateur Championship, and in 1917 and 1922, the Southern Amateur Championship. During this time, he was attending school, graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in 1922, a B.S. from Harvard in 1924. After two years at Emory Law School (1926-27), Jones was admitted to the Georgia bar and began the practice of law in Atlanta. Amazingly, during much of his time in college, Jones was amassing string of victories as an amateur on the professional golf tour, He won nine major tournaments in the 1920s, but the culmination of his career occurred in 1930, when he won the four major championships of his time - the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open. A sportswriter coined the term “grand slam” for this remarkable achievement. Jones retired from competitive golf soon afterwards, but remained very active in promoting the sport, primarily by producing short films demonstrating golf fundamentals. Jones was one of the primary designers of the Augusta National golf course, where the first Masters tournament was held in 1934. Jones went on to serve as an intelligence officer with the Air Force during World War II, then began a successful business and writing career as a spinal condition limited his ability to actively play and teach golf. He authored or co-authored four books - Down the Fairway, Golf is My Game, Bobby Jones on Golf, and Bobby Jones on the Basic Golf Swing. Jones died in Atlanta on Dec. 18, 1971, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.