Ep #53 – Behind the Brand Golf Podcast | Bobby Jones Great Grandson

Paul Liberatore Paul Liberatore
August 9, 2021

We made it to Episode 53 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast. In this week’s episode, I interview my good friend RJB the Great Grandson of BOBBY JONES and the CEO of Generation Next Project . Robert Jones Black – great grandson of Bobby Jones, businessman and entrepreneur – today launched the Generation Next […]

We made it to Episode 53 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast. In this week’s episode, I interview my good friend RJB the Great Grandson of BOBBY JONES and the CEO of Generation Next Project .

Robert Jones Black – great grandson of Bobby Jones, businessman and entrepreneur – today launched the Generation Next Project, a foundation dedicated to investing in the social and emotional development of the next generation to build the business leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

An immersive digital lifestyle, combined with the isolative effects of a global pandemic has created a mental health epidemic among children, teens, and young adults. The Generation Next Project aims to bridge this disconnect through partnering with specific organizations providing tools and resources for social and emotional development through the lens of golf’s values and Bobby Jones’ legacy.

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Paul (00:00): What's up guys, Paul from Golfers Authority . Welcome to the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast. This is actually Episode 53, which I just had to memorize today. Cause I always forget. So welcome to the show today. I have a very special guest. His nickname is RJB that I just made up, but I have Robert Jones, Black and Robert Jones Black, boy it's a long name, I guess his middle name is to a clue. There's a Jones in it, right? So like the Jones. What does that, where does that come from? So actually he's the great grandson of Bobby Jones. Uh, he's an entrepreneur himself and he is also working on a really fantastic program charity called generation next project, which is really cool. So we're talking about that. So I want to give him a shock. I was like, oh, hell yeah, this is cool. So we might call you today.

RJB (01:56): I want to say like RJB or Robert. I mean, you're already you're you're you're going with the RJP you're going to remember me. That's the thing. And they remember like, oh yeah, Paul is pretty cool in real life. Do you go up to people and say, hi, I'm Robert Jones black. Did you say that? I did well, I started doing it from the business standpoint. I was like, all right. So it was, um, it was very awkward at first, but we felt like it was important from a brand building stamp. I think it's cool. It was a little bit differentiator. Yeah. You're like I'm Bob black. And they were like, no, Bob white and that's in life. I mean, I've gotten Robert, Rob, Bob, Bobby, and then, uh, I played soccer at, uh, at app state back when I was a young guy on the team for whatever reason, my name was bird. So if you run anybody yeah. You run across anybody that played soccer with me at Appalachian state. They don't know me as Rob or Robert or RJV they know me.

RJB (03:04): Oh yeah. Wow. Okay. So let's play a little game. All right. This is a game we're gonna play. All right. So what's the first memory you have of Ooh, good grief. I mean, I have to think like one of the first lessons that I got, for some reason, I remember being at the, remember the driving range. I remember almost literally the, the attempt of getting me to swing a golf club appropriately and how uncomfortable the grip felt. I don't know what the age of what that was maybe six or seven, but I played as a kid off and on, especially summers and things like that. But then once I got to the point where you should really focus on the development of your golf game, I went soccer and I re you know, from the way that my game looks today, I wish I'd stuck the golf really?

RJB (03:57): Yeah. It's, you know, it's, it's got its ups and downs, but, um, I'll tell you, I'll tell you a funny story on, on that a couple, I guess I was maybe a month and a half ago. We were down in Florida. Uh, one of my clients does a production called the celebrity golf classic. We're all like, uh, ESPN plus golf channel because that is it like the one hour show. I think I've heard of that. Yeah. So we had, uh, we were down in Miami and we had a great, great pass by the Anthony Anderson from Blackish. Uh, Chris Spencer, who's just an incredible comedian, but more behind the scenes. They were taken on Lisa, Leslie and Alonzo morning. So we had these, you know, the MBA w MBA going against the comedians, the comedians, um, squashed. And by the way, but a lot of the billion dollars, I think it's the same thing. Again, when you're sitting there spending every waking moment of your day, practicing basketball, you know, you, you've got to kind of relearn golf as the comedians were able to, you know, they get some time to go play and everything, but they were all fantastic. But so, uh, you know, somebody told him that I was the great grandson of Bobby Jones and he listened. They said, what's your golf game? Like so, well, I said, I'll put it this way. Your great grandkids are going to be awful at basketball.

RJB (05:19): But, uh, I play a lot now play a lot more now than I ever have a love the game. I don't get mad at it. I have great shots and I have terrible shots. And that's how I've learned to enjoy the game. You know, like I never come across, like you have a golf website, like there's only so many hours in the day. And like I'm in, isn't all golfers on the, on the quest to get better. Like, that's all, that's all we play. Right. It's not like, oh, I want to know that's why you play. That's what you buy more stuff. And you like trying to figure it out. Like, you know, and I think thanks to my dad's the way it goes. So what do you, I guess, like, so what's your day job? Like, what do you do for a living right now, consulting on the best way to put it?

RJB (06:13): Uh, we work on a couple different areas. So we really started focusing, um, kind of on the latter part of last year, uh, back into the golf industry. And so we're doing some golf treats stuff for corporations, a little gift box program, uh, doing the golf sponsorship for the celebrity golf classic. So we've got a nice little, a nice little piece of golf business going now and kind of bringing it up prior to that. Uh, I've created something called legacy branding that enabled me to launch the company. And that was essentially, I was the first of the third generation coming in behind the grandkids. So my dad's generation to start, I guess, putting my nose into family business and wanting to really help the Bobby Jones brand, uh, which was, um, just really awesome to work with the family. And that generational in that what I saw was I was like, there's a template here where I've created the definition and kind of the, the pieces are the variables of legacy branding, which, uh, at the end of the day is, uh, you know, something or someone that has a, a monumental or iconic story or piece to them, you know, making sure that you have value in that intellectual property that's done every day.

RJB (07:27): Get that. The difference is that there's a real big focus on how that looks in terms of, um, going down generation for generations. So we did a little bit of work for Richard Petty and the family, especially on their charity side and then actually spend a year and a half working with a band or holy field. So that was a fascinating, uh, incredible human being. And we, uh, um, I just think, unfortunately as the pandemic did was so many businesses, uh, Vander, as we're building out what this brand would look like. Long-term, you know, the, the appearances and the speaking engagements were such a huge part of his life, um, leading up to the pandemic. So when all that was removed, uh, we lost an athleisure deal when manufacturing was shut down. So Vander kind of turned back and I think naturally back to what he was comfortable with boxing.

RJB (08:18): And so I think even, uh, I know it was supposed to be Memorial weekend, but they've pushed it to July where he is going to box McBride, but, um, boxing promotion, not my strong suit. So we, uh, you know, just kind of said, all right, we're going in different directions here. But, uh, so, so we do, uh, look, look at, you know, future opportunities there where I do want to, uh, work with a couple more athletes and create that bridge where you're not just creating a short term value to your intellectual property, but you're really focused on how that sustains for a hundred years, which that allows me to kind of reflect back on Bobby Jones that back, I mean, this is like your third generation, right? Yeah. So, I mean, like, I mean, there's all kinds of Bobby Jones stuff out there. I mean, there's tons of it.

RJB (09:08): Like we both know that, right. So then how does it intellectual property work on that? Because like, it's, it's really interesting to think about your great grandfather was like one of the first iconic athletes, right? Like, or if not, right. Like in a sport. And so it's almost like, how does that work going forward? That's really interesting. That's a really interesting question. It is. And there were some, there's some really great pieces to that to assist the process. And one of those being the masters every April and the second of those now being for the past, however many years, it's been, since they've moved the torch championship to east lake, and hopefully it stays there. Undoubtedly, you almost have Bobby Jones, bookending the PJCC. And we had that for a wonderful one year, and then they moved the player's championship back to March before the masters, but still you look at it and you have the ma the master's opens up the major season, and then the tour championship closes the PJCC.

RJB (10:10): Now. So you, you have the natural storytelling of Bobby Jones and both of those, um, you know, those golf courses with Augusta national and then east lake being the home of Bobby Jones and really a fantastic almost museum feel when you go into that clubhouse to see everything that they have celebrating his life and career, but he was, you know, the funny thing in terms of the brand creation, which the second generation the G-tube did all on their own was, you know, when Bobby Jones finished golf, he did have a, uh, a Warner brothers and didn't be able to Spalding. And this is all before was really these endorsements endorsements in 1985 or whatever Jordan came along. I mean, seriously, it wasn't, no one was forcing anybody. And so, so there was this long period of his life then, you know, about 20 years after his, after his death, when you pass away 71, oh my gosh, 19 71 69.

RJB (11:14): So he w he was diagnosed, uh, um, I think around 46 years old with syringomyelia, um, it's a neurological disorder. It happens up in the right around your brainstem and neck area. Um, there's a couple sister diseases around it. Uh, the other one's called Chiari. He always a little bit more manageable, but Serinda Milias is a really devastating disease. And, um, I think it affects 3 million people in the U S alone. And one of the things we've always talked about serving the mycelia number one is we get anybody to attempt to say it their first time, try it.

RJB (11:56): So that's the first piece, but, but one of the things seriously, it's, uh, it's, it takes over your nervous system. It really causes a lot of, um, like a cyst or a Searing's is created in your brain stem NOLA, resulting from an injury. And there is potentially an issue or a, uh, an accident that happened in Bobby Jones life that we could say fascinating. He, um, he was at east lake playing, they were on, and they had the old setup, not how it's set up today, but they were on, I think the 10th or 11th hole when the severe thunderstorm came up and it started, uh, just, I mean, just pounding lightning down on them, and they're making the charge back to the clubhouse. And as they approached the clubhouse, a lightning bolt hit the chimney of east lakes country club and just blew it to smithereens and they get Bobby and everybody into the clubhouse.

RJB (12:49): And everybody's like, are you okay? Are you okay? We're fine. Everybody's okay. And they look, and Bobby Jones had blood going down the whole back, his back and around his neck. And a piece of the chimney had actually punctured his neck area. So very likely that that could be what calls syringomyelia to take place, but it ends up the best comparison for syringomyelia is ALS, but in a, sometimes in a slower process and there's no cure, it's very hard to fund. There's only one MRI, I think maybe two MRIs that can even detect the Searings in the neck area. Um, so doctors often misdiagnosis and patients go through years of, um, headaches too, you know, with their limbs, fingers, digits, everything, and you end up starting to lose some functions. And this would Bobby Jones especial with no research on this disease when he was diagnosed the last 30 years of his life, where, um, 25 years, 46 even knew it was going on back then pain wheelchair, I mean, just daily pain.

RJB (13:57): You're never not in pain. He was in the wheelchair for the last 10 years of his life. No more golf, golf away from him. It is so, um, but he, uh, you know, I think, you know, back to the, to the brand side of it, and, you know, I think the, the interesting piece was, you know, I guess probably trying to do my math quickly here, 15 years after his death, before there was the first approach. And it was, um, Ellie Calloway was the first one to come in and say, Hey, I've got this signature of Bobby Jones and I want to create a brand out of it. And, uh, and he actually, yeah, he actually had the meetings in here. I'm in Greensboro, North Carolina. Uh, we've got, uh, a fair contingency of the Jones family here. And he went in to see my grandmother twice on two occasions, uh, trying to tell her, cause she was the daughter of Bobby Jones, you know, about what this could do for him and for his legacy.

RJB (14:54): And she turned it down twice and then third time she was open to it. And since then the second generation created a company called Jones air and Jones, uh, owns the intellectual property of Bobby Jones and the six person board, all family members, cousins, uh, of, you know, obviously each other and the original family. They make all decisions. They do everything. So our apparel, uh, we've got a whiskey brand out there now, the Clover, which has some fantastic, um, we've got a link, a golf course management company called Bobby Jones links. They've done fantastic. We partner with the Chiari Serino Emilia foundation where that's now Bobby dune CSL. So we've got some great pieces in that, that, that, you know, when you look at that legacy branding, things that like what a smart generation, right. Because like essentially people steal everything nowadays. Right. So they would have, you know, very protected the, the, the, the Jones name is, is, is incredibly well-protected.

RJB (15:56): And they've always been that generation that like gather those assets, you know, essentially, because it was asked for, and the name itself, I mean, it's like, I dunno. It's like, that's brilliant. So that was like, was that your, like, are you, is it your mom or your dad? Yes, my dad. So my dad's mother was Bobby Jones first born. So my grandmother, my grandmother on my dad's side. Yeah. How many kids? Bobby Jones tab three. And then the top. And then how big is your family now? Privately small? Uh, both my aunts, both my dad's sisters. Neither one of them had kids. Um, and yeah, I have no cousins. I have no first cousins. My mom was an only child. And, uh, and then my family had the RTB, all fam RGV pal. That's my middle. So now they're starting to get along again. RGB is a good, big name.

RJB (16:54): You know, that that's a good name. Yeah. We use it a lot around the office and everything, especially in emails where you don't want to type out Robert RJP. Yeah, we do that at my law firm. Like when we built, like everyone just goes by their initials so that we know who we know who's who, right. Like early, we do like a little note or a time entry, but like RJ, you know, RGB re PA our laptop. So, uh, smart. So your dad, so really, okay. So, oh, then your dad had his kids, right? So he was your dad. I mean, sorry. Bobby Jones had to be kids, right. One and only one had kids after that. We had, so there were three. Yes. So three and out of that, there were seven grandkids of Bobby Jones. And then my aunt Mary Black, who was very close to shields Greensboro, she unfortunately passed away last a battle lung cancer.

RJB (17:53): So now we have six in that generation and in my generation. So what around, what time did they like collect the, well, it's hard, like taking control of the name, I guess. What was it like in the sixties and seventies then when it was, oh, you already passed. Right. So it was probably like, it was probably until we did this deal, I think it was like 1991, I think. And so Austin and bird, which was the law firm that was originally what Bobby Jones had started and partner with. Once he retired from competitive golf, that's now Austin and bird today. So Alston and bird up where they base out. This is a really neat story. I got to get. The guy shot was the original attorney on, uh, to do the, to structure the deal and to create Jones airs and to create this intellectual property protection and holding company operations. Brilliant. Still to this day, he is still our counsel.

RJB (19:00): I mean, that's how I on mine. So my clients it's like family seriously. Like it is, they take care of you. They're, you're, uh, you know, better than your other guard, right? Like other counsel, like, uh, with, with your law background and everything, it's always like, you come up with these incredible ideas and you're so excited about it. He goes like that to me, it's like, no, no, don't do that. I'm like, I already made, you know, whatever it is, don't even don't ever even put it out in the world. I'm like, oh, and then, yeah. And I respect them. So I'm just like, whatever you say, man, you know, like I have a couple IP attorneys I work with and I'm friends with, you know, we do like, we do a lot of like my best friend who works with me is an IP litigator.

RJB (19:55): I mean, we just, yeah. IP is crucial, right? Like I, you can't do it after the fact, but you got to really grab that up and make sure you protect it before someone tries to 100%, I mean your dad's name. Right. Like, know what your, your family's name? Because like, I could see people do that all day long, you know? So then is that council does, so then the holding company then has counsel then to go after infringers I would say, right. Like, yeah, we'll sell it pictures of your dad or your great grandfather, or sorry, I can send your dad and like, or whatever, that's the that me off to be honest, like, cause you go to these websites, like red bubble or Etsy or whatever, and people like it's completely stolen. You know what I mean? Like that's completely opposite, you know, like, like a photographer, like the photos of your grants or your great grandfather behind you.

RJB (20:45): Right. Like somebody took those. Right. So somebody would put that on a website, be like, oh yeah, Bob Jones, well, technically you don't have a license. Right. I mean, photographers really get screwed over. I represent pretty famous photographer and like, I love going after people that like that. Yeah. Yeah. So, so then what, so then if you're with your company, right? So then you help manage like larger, what's the word, like setting up the leg, helping people set up their own legacy of what that, you know, family can do. Right? Like there's, you know, the deal, right? Like, cause they don't know because of when the person is, it's one thing when you're, when you're the tip of the spear. Right. What happens after that? If you don't have the right planning and figuring out how to really, because you could see somebody selling like a bander, Holyfield gloves, 30 years from now, right.

RJB (21:35): Or whatever, you know, or a picture of Evander, wholly, same thing would be the same. There's always so many iconic athletes in the ever right. That you just, so it's almost like, I don't know. Does it, so then, and then you do a lot of marketing too, with those you help kind of structure those yeah. Jumping in on the social media side of it. And you know, so that was, that's always a big piece of, you know, for that. But when we looked at legacy branding, it was essentially, there's kind of like four categories to it. So like the brand itself, and we've talked about the brand, um, you have to talk about like what the retail or commercialized brand is versus also the personal brand. And so there's a really big balance there and that commercialized brand in the success or the measurable there is how well can you bring their story into that commercialized brand?

RJB (22:27): Which again, I think, uh, prior to me being involved, I take no credit for, but I think the family has done such an incredible job with that with Bobby Jones. So, you know, with a Vander, we went on this. I mean the journey was incredible because what we started seeing, he actually, uh, Paul say this the generation X project, which we'll talk about was all based on, uh, me learning about emotional intelligence and I was educated on emotional intelligence, doing the work for a Vander where we really had him identified. This guy has an unbelievable perspective on how to deal with adversity and you know, just challenges in life. And he, and he did not mean to, I don't think have such an incredible characteristic of it, but when he tells us stories and his stories are fascinating and how his mom impacted his life, he, uh, you know, the one that we really, really liked was, um, setback just paved the way for a combat.

RJB (23:26): And that's how, uh, Vander's always lived his life. So we were like, you know, you need to be this mentor person you need to really, and he loves kids. He loves work with kids. So he loved the idea, but every bit of messaging that comes out from a brand standpoint or from an a band or a holy field standpoint, needs to be about that mentor you, what you've done in your boxing career. Everybody has noted, right. Um, four time heavyweight champion of the world, Olympian. I mean just, uh, the Tyson fights. Everybody can regurgitate these incredible accomplishments of all we feel, but the value to Amanda long-term was, uh, impacting in kind of educating kids on how to deal with adversity and all this. And so I started learning about emotional intelligence all through bander. Um, but that's, you know, I think just again at the end of the day, so you have the, the brand side of it, the commercialization or the products themselves, the philanthropic, which is absolutely critical.

RJB (24:26): Uh, you have to be that long standing value intellectual property that can go generations. The best train of carrying you through time is the charity side. Uh, and then the final piece is just continuous content storytelling over and over and over. So those are the four things that the brand itself creating products from the brand charity and content storytelling, managing those four together is what creates legacy branding. And so you will come across athletes that maybe doing one or two of those, but not doing all four or not having someone sitting in a position to balance all four, explain it. Right. Because they don't, they don't understand and they have plenty of money and they are whatever, you know, they're very successful, but then they probably get to a point where like, what the hell do I do right now? What do I do? I don't, they can't.

RJB (25:22): And so it's like, I mean, that's, I haven't really thought about that. You know, like the smart, the smart people, the athletes that are like, what am I doing? Or, you know what, what's the next step for my brand, because you know how many there's athletes that come and go all the time. Right. And make us a bunch of money. And then you never hear back from them like that. And it's like, there's a lot, there's tons and tons, but the ones that really have made a difference in the sport that are synonymous with that sport. Right. Automatically. That's really cool. I mean, honestly, I didn't even know. I bet you, it was really cool for you too. Right. Because when you met at Bandra and you said like, when he started talking to you and some of his little sayings and he says, you're probably like, holy crap.

RJB (25:58): This is like, what? It sounds like, same stuff. Like the Bobby Jones used to say, you know, like he gets it like, that's crazy. Right. Without having to, and it was like an unknown. It wasn't forced, you know what I mean? It was like, you read it. He was like, well, you know, blah, blah, blah. It was like, this is how I live my life. BA BA BA you know, and then you look at when your grandfather, your grandfather, his sayings are like, that's literally what my grandmother was saying, but differently. I know when we talked with people when I was working with a band or, uh, one of the most interesting, I think in compelling pieces to, it was, you're not just fortunate enough to represent Bobby Jones and abandon or Holyfield, but to represent a two of Atlanta's artists, sports icons that they grew up, uh, now originally abandon was Alabama before he moved over to Atlanta.

RJB (26:47): But in terms of mileage, they grew up in the more than, you know, obviously different timeframes. But I think it was about five or six miles from each other, but the dynamics of, of Atlanta from that time period to abandon his child, you know, his, his child years. And he was, you know, he was saved and kept off the streets with the help of the boys and girls clubs of America. Um, and then his mom just had this just, she was not going to let him, you know, go to the streets or anything. And you think about that, like just the societal differences, but when they both came out and into their sport, what I saw and what I've really was just honored to really be a part of was exactly what you just said. They both had such an amazing understanding of how life and sport dance together and Bobby Jones on how he tied in, you know, um, golf and, and then, you know, kind of accommodating that life was on the call last week, where we were kind of talking about slogans and things like that, where it was like, you can almost say to someone, do you play golf where they say, I don't play golf.

RJB (27:55): And you say the, the hell you don't, you play golf every single day. When you wake up in the morning, when you crawl out of bed, that's the first tee box, and you're going to find yourself in the rough, you're going to find yourself a bunkers in it's all about how you manage the next shot. You have a short, short memory of what's gotten you to the place what's short. You're on for that whole, by the end of the day, we're all chasing in Bobby Jones terms. Oh man, oh, man is life and life does not mess up. Life is always making part. It doesn't make Bowden, doesn't make party. It's just, and we have to try to manage that. You look at how Bobby Jones interprets that. And then you, then I was switching over and I'm looking at how Evander Holyfield would, uh, handle forgiveness.

RJB (28:40): And like we talked about the Mike Tyson ear. And when did you abandon, when did you forgive Mike Tyson? And he was like, about the time I got out of the room were like, you know, just a permanent change to your head and your face, uh, a fight that a lot of people don't think of Bandera included would like to forget or redo. And he just was like, he made a mistake. And I think he actually said in the quote that, uh, the first don't get me wrong. The first thing that I want to do is I want to bite my back, but it's emotional intelligence that you realize that that's a reaction and that's a reaction. That's not going to have a positive outcome on you and those around you. So it was just, it was, it was a wonderful time period to have where I was.

RJB (29:23): I was looking at how a banner Holyfield perceive life and then reading about how Bobby Jones is perceived life. But they, at the end of the day, when you break it all down golden rule and just understanding that your actions have consequences. And so we talked about Bob regions, temper, um, a little bit in our storytelling about generation next project. And he had an instance where he heard a spectator throwing his golf club. Um, and he was, you know, that the USDA came down with him with a letter saying, do it one more time. You're out. And Bobby Jones, just from an emotional intelligence standpoint, shut it down. No more temper. And as a matter of fact, uh, Paul, he took it as a kind of a competitive edge to really tell himself the more I showed my competitor, my emotions, the more they're going to understand.

RJB (30:15): So, so he, so he made that conscious decision between 1922 and 1923. So we call this the lean years, pre 1923, where he didn't win a major. And then 1923 to 1930, he wrote software team. You can call it coincidence on that, but you gotta think that emotional management got his head into the place. It needed to be, to be a consistent multi major, a year champion for seven years, which isn't there, which has never been done, you know, not to that level three majors in your career. You know what I mean? Like, I mean, that's crazy, but see, it's like, by, like you said, well, it's like, I don't know if you've watched that tiger woods documentary. What has, I was fascinating about, like the way he's able to shine, like everything out when he's playing golf. And I was like, that's crazy, you know, like the stress, but it's a gears and years of years and years of training.

RJB (31:12): Right. And being able to like, but on the flip side, when he was done with that, then, you know, he didn't know he didn't have the emotional intelligence. Right. Because all of a sudden he started doing stuff that like probably, well, the, uh, you know, we all know what he did. So like the opposite of the emotional intelligence side, because he'd never developed those skills. Right. Because he was so, you know, and the balance of like, that's crazy, you know what, my favorite, my favorite part of, of him Paul, and some people know, but not everyone does. And it's an interesting story that once people hear it, they go, that's just amazing. But yeah, I finished the golf career, launched the Augusta amputational later, we called the masters and we get a little conflict in Europe. And then the age of conflict arises and us has to go to war.

RJB (32:00): And Bobby Jones is 40, 41 years old when that happens and enlist in the army. I mean, he's got 13 majors, the only golfer to win the grand slam contractors, Spalding Warner brothers started Augusta national and the gusset and felt it to be his duty to enlist in the army and was actually D-Day. Plus one came in after they got Normandy taken down and he was a prison interrogator, which I find this fascinating prison interrogator for the U S army during world war two. Um, and I don't have it here, but I do have a letter that was given to me by my aunt who passed away. That was written from Bobby Jones to my grandmother, Clara for her 17th birthday. And he's in Germany and, um, her, and it's a four page letter. And just, you know, just the admiration of cuteness that he had, this father daughter relationship or whatever, and, uh, hopes that she would get everything she wanted for her birthday. And I'll be home soon, but crazy. There'll be things like this. And there's a lot of these stories of Bobby gyms that are out there, but because of everything that he did with golfing, because of the shadows, I mean, who's going to go in list in the army at that age.

RJB (33:27): Like they, he would never, like at that age, they were in the list. Number two, he would never have been drafted, right. Because, oh, you need to be in the USO and you can do some trick shots or something stupid, but he's like, no, I'm like, I'm an American. That's what they wanted him to do too. By the way, he said, no, he said, no, I want to go. And that's what I love when you like that generation Brio, the older, like go to Maggio and all these guys, they all the military, like, that's what you did. Like who cares what your sport is like, you know, like maybe they're not gonna go to the front line. So they don't want to like, you know, but you made that decision to go do it. It wasn't like somebody forced your hand or you're going to hide behind a wall or something.

RJB (34:09): Like, I didn't know that that's crazy. I thought, honestly, ignorant. I just thought like, okay, you probably just, you know, do the masters and the ALS money. I don't know what I had no idea what he did, honestly. I mean, when he got, when he got out, what did he do? Did he just started working on Augusta natural shutdown. And they actually, another really cool decision made around the war was while Augusta national was shut down, they grazed cattle to create a beef for the troops. Did they really see if we can pull some pictures up? I know Getty images has a picture of you sitting out there. Yeah. So when the war ended and he came back, know they had to re reload, um, Augusta national get, you know, new funds funding in and everything to get it going. So it took quite a few years. So was he working on it the whole time then? Absolutely. Yeah. And then doing his law practice, he was a lawyer. I didn't know that. Let's see. I'm sorry.

RJB (35:19): My dad loves that's. Holy. He was, he was a lawyer. And so that's when he wanted to go to law school in the war? No, he did it while he was playing golf. He passed the bar after I never knew that I was going to be like, oh, Paul you're you're dumb. Paul, you should've known that. I think our religion is, it was on that like, almost like a, I bet you can't pass the bar. Right? He was brilliant. Like, yeah. He's different. You know what I mean? Like, like people like that, like they're just completely, your education degrees are Georgia tech, Harvard and Emory. And Emory's like private, right? I mean that's yeah, that's expensive. I know that I went there. So when you hear the Georgia tech, what did he like? What was his mic? What did he major in as an engineer engineering there. And then I think he did, uh, one of them. I know one woman, I think the English degree came out of Harvard and then Emory was law, but I don't think he had to finish Emory because he passed the bar. So he went straight into practice. So he was practicing law as he was. Yeah. This was so different back then. Yeah. Through the bar is like the hardest test of all time. Like for reals. That's the hardest. It sucks. It sucks. I don't want to ask you to put you on the spot.

RJB (36:51): No, I failed by three points. Three points, three points, three points. Oh, you want yeah. Big time. Right. Taking the nuts. Like it was horrible, but you know what? I like your grandfather, you know what I like, I know it's even worse. I'll tell you. What's even worse is like, okay, so we take the, take the bar now. Right? And then you go to the, um, judicial website for the state, whatever. And it says, okay, here's all the people that took the June, July bar as the February bar starts bars twice a year. And so here's all the people that pass, they say, who passed those who didn't pass. Right. So you are scrolling through your name. Right. And like, you know, so your name will be like, well, first of all, your head explodes. And then you're like, are you kidding me? Right. And then all of a sudden, like now social media is blowing me up.

RJB (37:44): Like, oh, I'm so sorry, because I went to law school with and whatever. But I was like, yeah, but like, like a great-grandfather. Right. Okay. This is part more. Sorry to take the bar in July three months to grade it. Okay. So you don't find out until the end of October, like life goes on. Right. So at the end of October, you find out you did pass. Well, then the next was in February. And so it's like, well, and so what I said, I was like, all right, fine. And I like, like game of life, I just started studying again. Right. It's a setback and this, and then the second time I took, I think in February, I crushed it because I learned from my mistakes. Right. I spent too much time bars made up of two parts. Right. It's all it's written and it's multiple choice.

RJB (38:29): And so like, my written was crappy because I didn't do a good job. I'm a good writer. I just didn't do a good job. Here's the thing about the bar to all nerds out there in law school, they like purposely put red herrings in like fact pattern. And so like, you go, oh, well the guy, you know, drove the car and then it doesn't do with anything legal. So then it's a red herring, but in the bar, everything counts. Right? Like every little fact has to be talked about. So it's like, anyways, so I passed, I, I blew, I did really well. I scored like 40 points higher. And that's it. No one cares. Like, it doesn't mean anything. Like, I mean, it's, it's the necessity of law to be a lawyer. I mean, a lot of people didn't go that route. A lot of people just quit.

RJB (39:12): If they fail. I know people that are smarter than me, like top of my class, or like high up, not number one, but like top that failed the bar and never retook it, which blew my mind. Cause they were like super smart. I was like, what the hell? You know, because he, like, I went to law school, I had a full-time job. I went to law school at night for three years and I had two babies during that time. That was, that was a crazy time. So I imagined so, yeah, I just, but like you said, it's the setback. It just makes you stronger. Like I can remember memorizing either memorize. Like my second note cards are probably three feet long. Right. I think I had to memorize and like I'm walking, pulling my two little boys. One was like less than a year old, almost like six months old, nine months old men and was like three in a little wagon behind me with headphones on walk and walk and walk and memorize it. I remember I spent back vision in my head, so yeah. That's crazy, dude. I did not know. Wow. So did he have any okay. Is a dumb question. I'm probably going to be fun. Did he have ownership stake in Augusta then, or know how that works?

RJB (40:21): So I guess yeah. Club decisions, membership decisions and all of that. But in terms of founding Augusta national, everybody knows that co-design being co-designer and all that. Yeah. I mean, that's crazy. So, I mean, so then did he practice law until he got, until his medical conditions were like, that's horrible. I mean, somebody who's that mental, you know what I mean? Like, uh, and then having a, uh, a disease like that is probably horrific and he died too young, 60 nines, young man. Seriously. That's really, it is. And then, and then just how much your age when you're going through a terminal illness, um, that, that 69 89. Right. But that's, you know, that's the neat thing. And my dad's always been very, very humble and almost kind of quiet about this. I think that was one of the neat things about growing up where I understood the connection and maybe I understood to a degree, the significance of Bobby Jones, but my dad was always very humble in that.

RJB (41:33): So when you get stories from my dad or he asked him a question about, you know, what was it like? He'll give you, you know, just a, uh, a nice, modest stance, but that's one thing that he and my aunt and the other cousins all will say, you never, once her Bobby Jones mentioned anything about pain, discomfort, you know, anything like that. So most of their lives. So my dad, I think it was like 22 or 23 when Bobby Jones died, grandfather. Yeah. I don't know about you, but I was always close to my grandfather. Like I love my grandfather, you know, I feel like with kids, especially boys, I feel like boys are always more connected to their grandfathers. Like, you know, like my kids are super kind to my kids or my kids' father, which is crazy. My dad's nuts. So I'm like, I'm like the guy you guys liked so much. It was not that cool when he was younger.

RJB (42:34): Like, there's like a Chilvers well, they got an easy now the grandparent job, you can kind of pop in, pop out, they get to do all the fun stuff. So. All right. So then what made you like start thinking about generation max? Like, tell me about that. Okay. Um, so the pandemic 100%, you know, got this to happen and, you know, go back to a Vander real quick. We, we launched a banders foundation February 22nd of last year, and it was on the Eve of the Tyson fury Wilder. And we did it on ESPN, maximal boxing, right before the way in, it was phenomenal. It was just a nice announcement that our banner made. And, um, you know, I still say to this day, like that was the last major sporting event before the shutdown, if you want to constitute, which I think that fight or flight was maybe one of the more exciting fights in the past 10 or 15 years.

RJB (43:35): And then we were all hearing about this troublesome, uh, spread of the virus and what would it do to sports? And I think it was March 13th is the iconic date where everything just went, ACC tournament, canceled all the basketball conference. I was looking at stocks last night and like I was looking at actually Shopify stock last night. And it's like, it's worth like $1,600 right now. Right. But I was like, I'm looking at the last year and like right around the same date, it was like March 13th, March something like, literally it was like price per share was like $400. I was like, you know, I mean, yeah, I remember that. I remember that timeframe.

RJB (44:17): It was, oh yeah. It was like, we were sitting there going, what does this all look like? And then when they shut the schools down and everything, and, you know, we, we kind of, you know, from our standpoint, once we, and it was like this one week, um, late March, I think it was after March 13th, where in one week we fielded, I don't know what it was five or six calls of cancellation for a Vander appearances. And I knew that was hurting him. And so we just kinda said, look, let's, let's focus on the foundation that we've got a really good message here, uh, where we need to focus on the kids impact of this pandemic and of the shutdown. And so I started bringing in the, you know, emotional intelligence and social and emotional learning of contacts and network that we had. And we created a little miniature campaign called unite for our fine.

RJB (45:10): Um, and so we did that and as that was happening and I, and sorry, I'm going to just get into a little bit about tragic situation, but I think it's the whole key to why I decided to do this, but on April 17th, we're, you know, we're over a month into this. Uh, and no, really no real end in sight in terms of, is there going to be a stop and spread? Can we open schools back up? Can we go see friends or whatever? My business partner, who was one of my initial investors and now just an absolute dear friend, they, uh, they had had just kind of a normal day at the house in terms of shut down. They had to fix their well, they live out in Texas and so their well water, and they did that. Everything was fine. Uh, and he has a 12 year old son named Hayden and Hayden went up to go play video games while Brad went into the home office to do, uh, his work.

RJB (46:06): And, um, his nine-year-old daughter came down and said, Hey, hurt herself. And so Brad drops everything and runs upstairs. And, um, and, uh, unfortunately, uh, painted homes and they did nine 11. They had neighbors the whole thing, but they couldn't save him. And the saddest piece to that was, it was four days shy of his 13th birthday. And so, um, Brad and us sort of talking kind of through the days and weeks and everything. And I could tell he's a west point grad, he's one of these people that he sold his first company, IBM is building a monster second company, just a driven guy. Um, and he took ownership of what had happened. Um, some responsibility and his Ash tag his conversations matter because he didn't feel like he needed to talk to his 12 year old son about suicide. And I don't think a lot of people really felt like they had to, but when it's too late, you know, you have to live with that.

RJB (47:05): The rest of your life. Brad decided he wanted that to have an energy to it, to try to keep this from happening to other families. And, um, so, so I'll go real, real quick here on this. But he ended up a couple of days after they had had a burial for his son and obviously limited because nobody could go and they just had some of his friends show up and all that. He went on to live and he recorded for like 22 minutes. Just he unleashed it and nothing, nothing bad, nothing attacking. He just talked about that, the decision making in the policymaking, um, which he felt like undoubtedly changed his son's state of mind. Some did not have a history of mental health, but they took away athletics. They took away school. They took away social life. When I say they took it away, we had to, and we understand that, but Brad felt like there was this maybe a, I think he called it irrational empathy, where if you're trying to save one group, but in doing so, you are sacrificing, you're hurting another group.

RJB (48:08): That's not a good policy. And this video went viral. And to this day, there's an edited down version. That's about 12 or 13 minutes. That video has been seen over 150 million times. Brad's been on NBC nightly news. He's been on Fox news with Tucker Carlson, daily mail covered on people. Magazine did a feature on him like a month ago. The story hit really hard because Brad and we did not understand this. We kind of suspected it. But prior to April 17th, we were having these discussions on the Vander's unite for our fights, with the experts in the child, psychology industry and social and emotional learning companies. They were all saying there is going to be a tsunami of mental health issues that is coming. You cannot isolate kids, especially in this very vulnerable, like eight to 16, where development is so key. And we kind of look back at that now and say, geez, we were ground zero.

RJB (49:13): I mean, this was the first known case where the parent came out and said, my son would be alive if it were not for COVID. So, as I'm trying to process this and process getting through the pandemic in general, and I have a six-year-old son where he turned six, last August is going to be 70 or nub just right around the corner. I was like, this is a big thing. And nobody's talking about it or they're not talking about it, right. They're not, it's not a captive conversation is coming in attacking conversation. And, uh, the entrepreneurial side of me was like, what can you do? What can you take already that Brad and a business partner and Hayden's dad had already started? How can we take this to a new level? And that's when I had just kind of a moment in, I think it was October where I sort of rereading quotes of Bobby Jones rereading down the fairway.

RJB (50:08): And I was like, this guy a hundred years ago, wrote things that are so absolutely relevant to today. And I can take that as kind of my starting point and embrace what my lineage gave to me and say, I want to accept and really take in what Bobby Jones did, but I've got to make it my own after that. Otherwise you're kind of just riding coattails. And I was like, but this is my motivation. And I'm going after golf. And I th this is a really interesting part of this because I think, I think a lot of people feel like that I need to generate an output that has golf related to it. And I'm pushing back on that a little bit and maybe dangerously. So, because my point is, no, you really, it doesn't have to be that golf is the actual fixer of this issue or the subject around it. What we have to understand is a couple things. One golf is so family oriented. I said on a call two weeks ago, and this is a stretch, but you're going to go with me on this because you're PL and I'm RJP, you could literally have in this sport, four generations playing the same sport. You could have a six year old kid.

RJB (51:27): And I was like, that's one piece. The second is the private country club side of golf is, is magnificent and within the industry, but that's also a lifestyle and there's people in there. The number one private country club can hold a business leader, community leaders, community influencers, funding, so many things that sit in there. But at the end of the day, take all that off. The way I looked at it was a private country club. Also, I would imagine this is a guest. I need to get the w I want to try and see if we can get an actual stat on this. I don't know how long that would take. My guess is north of 60% of members have a kid between the age of five and 12 years old. So I was like, this is, this is, this is a great way to get into the family discussion.

RJB (52:15): And I've got this great industry that has this close knit family ability that other sports just do not have you don't go to a building with 300 other families to go play basketball, sorry, but golf provides that golf gives you that. And I was like, if I can give the story and the compelling nature of how golf and life really emulate each other show, how Bobby Jones illustrated that, just so that we can all say, okay, there is a problem. And this isn't just pandemic. This is technology. Uh, and how much things have changed when you and I were raised to how we are raising our kids. Now that we have a lot of things and variables, we did not have to have disciplined when we were growing up, then now have to be disciplined. So we're just here to say, there is a problem. We're not the answer, but we're going to search for the answer. Let's search for it together, but I need the ears and I need people that can make a change, get involved and make a difference. And I felt like golf possessed. That, does that make sense? Well, thank you for being on the show. Uh, I think it's really cool. I think you're doing, and I hope you start listening to the show now. You know who we are? Just kidding. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. No one else calls you RGB like me. So remember that, remember who gave you that nickname on the air and I'll see all you guys the next episode. So thank you again for being on the show.

Paul (53:49): Thanks for listening to another episode of behind the golf brand podcast. You're going to beat me, like stay connected on and off the show by visiting golfers authority.com. Don't forget to like subscribe and leave a comment. Golf is always more fun when you're winning, stay out of the beach and see you on the green.

Paul Liberatore

Paul Liberatore

Founder of Golfers Authority

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