A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Dress for the fall, not for the ride” (motorcycle adage) (5/22)
“A leadoff walk always scores” (baseball adage) (5/22)
“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead” (5/22)
“A small carafe of wine is illogical, immoral and inadequate” (5/22)
“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again” (5/21)
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Entry from June 10, 2012
“The longest distance in any race is the six inches between your ears”

"The longest distance in any race is the six inches between your ears” is a popular saying of marathoners and triathletes, indicating how important mental training is as well as physical training. One blog wrote in 2005, “Another great insight comes from the sport’s most decorated competitor, Paula Newby-Fraser, who says the longest distance in an Ironman is the one between your ears.”

The saying originated in golf. New York City-born Eddie Loos (1896-1950) wrote an article on “The Eight-Inch Golf Course” for the March 22, 1924 edition of The American Golfer. Loos said that he had measured the size of his head, but he was later credited for “the six-inch golf course” and “the five-and-one-half-inch golf course between the eyes.” American golfer Bobby Jones (1902-1971) wrote in September 1927 that “golf is to a large extent played between the ears.” Bobby Jones is often credited with a version of the saying that adds Loos’s inches, as quoted in 2008 (citation below), “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears.” By at least 2001, it was said that “the longest distance in golf is between your ears,” although neither Eddie Loos nor Bobby Jones had called it “the longest distance.”


Wikipedia: Bobby Jones (golfer)
Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr. (March 17, 1902 – December 18, 1971) was an American amateur golfer, and a lawyer by profession. Jones was the most successful amateur golfer ever to compete on a national and international level. During his peak as a golfer from 1923 to 1930, he dominated top-level amateur competition, and competed very successfully against the world’s best professional golfers. Jones often beat stars such as Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, the era’s top pros. Jones earned his living mainly as a lawyer, and competed in golf only as an amateur, primarily on a part-time basis, and chose to retire from competition at age 28, though he earned significant money from golf after that, as an instructor and equipment designer.

LA84 Foundation Digital Library
22 March 1924, The American Golfer, pg. 7, col. 1:
Clipping Strokes from Your Score
No. 2—The Eight-Inch Golf Course

By Eddie Loos
EVERY game of golf that has ever been played—whether the medal was 68 or 168—has taken place on a golf course that measured eight inches—more or less.

The dimensions of this golf course, I arrived at by the more or less crude method of taking a ruler and measuring my own head from back to front.

You’ve heard before about golf being a mental game.

19 September 1927, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “Bobby Jones Tells You How to Play Golf,” pg. 20, col. 5:
It seems to me that the only thing we can oppose to these tests is that golf is to a large extent played between the ears. Physical conditions seldom change appreciable within a few minutes, but one pessimistic or aggressive though, one defensive idea may lose a golf match.

LA84 Foundation Digital Library
December 1927, The American Golfer, pg. 17:
It’s All Between the Ears
The Part That Mental Suggestion Has in the Playing of Golf

By O. B. Keeler

11 December 1927, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Speaking Briefly,” pg. 6, col. 6:
Golf is to a large extent between the ears.—“Bobby” Jones.

Google Books
Down the Fairway:
The golf life and play of Robert T. Jones, Jr.

By Robert T. Jones, Jr. and O. B. Keeler
London: George Allen & Unwin
1927
Pg. 77:
But championship golf is played mainly between the ears.

30 December 1929, Springfield (MA) Daily Republican “Indoor Golfing Schools Are Aid to All Beginners,” pg. 10, col. 7:
Eddie Loos, the Annandale professional, properly declares that golf is a game played on a six-inch course, located between the eyes. The mental side of the game is greater than in any other branch of sport, and therefore the necessity of proper and thorough instruction.

Google Books
Collier’s Illustrated Weekly
Volume 97
1936
Pg. 38:
And much of the Open championship, after all, must be played on what Eddie Loos has called the Five-and-a-Half-Inch Golf Course, which is between the ears.

Google Books
How to Cover, Write, and Edit Sports
By Harry E. Heath and Lou Gelfand
Ames, IA: Iowa State College Press
1957, ©1951
Pg. 257:
One of the most respected golf writers of all time, the late O. B. Keeler of the Atlanta Journal, believed that the golf writer should play the game to understand it, and what goes on, “not only on the green, but (as Eddie Loos so well phrased it) on ‘the five and one-half inch course between the ears.’”

31 May 1959, Fort-Pierce (FL) News-Tribune, “Indian River Roundup” by Tom Cope, pg. 1, col. 1:
CAUSEWAY CHARLIE says: ‘The longest distance in the world is equal to the shortest distance between your ears.”

10 January 1988, Aiken (SC) Standard, “Book of Golf Quotes May Relieve Boredom” by John Boyette, pg. 7B, col. 4:
“Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch course, the space between your ears.”—Bobby Jones.

13 August 1990, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “Golf psychology having its day” by Jerry Tarde (N.Y. Times Service), pg. 34, col. 5:
But on the pro tours today, psychology is an increasingly accepted part of any player’s arsenal. The six-inch course between your ears is recognized as the game’s toughest challenge.

5 August 1995, Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald, “From Tee to Green” by Dean Spriddle, pg. B1, col. 1:
Moe was asked which was the toughest course he has ever played. He said “the toughest course is five and one half inches long—it’s the one between your ears.”
(Moe Norman—ed.)

Google Groups: 24hoursupport.helpdesk
Classic 42
Jan 15 2001
The longest distance in golf is between your ears.

BuffettNews.com
hikingontuesday
Posted: October 2, 2005 11:34 am
“The longest distance at this point is the 8 inches between your ears” We’ve trained for the physical, so the rest is mental!

Carolyn Gebbie, Personal Trainer/Triathlon Coach
Troy’s IMC 2005 Race Report
Posted November 17, 2005 11:24 AM
The following race report was written by Troy Lanigan
(...)
Another great insight comes from the sport’s most decorated competitor, Paula Newby-Fraser, who says the longest distance in an Ironman is the one between your ears. In other words: think about what you’re doing and be prepared for the mental aspect of what’s before you. Think through your pacing, your nutrition, your pain, the unpredictability and adversity of what that one day will hand you and how you will deal with it!

Six’s junk thought theorem
Paul said...
Hi Ja, you’re right about psychology - I remember a golfer (either Nicklaus or Watson) saying the longest distance on a golf course was the one between your ears.
(...)
November 25, 2006 11:03 AM

Slowtwitch Forums
kitboo
Feb 15, 08 7:46
IMLP was my first IM last year. It was an amazing experience--not just the race, but the preparation leading up to it. I learned alot about myself and what was in “the space between my ears” (which is, BTW, the longest distance in the race).

come ALong with me...
Thursday, March 6, 2008
HTFU almost SATC
(...)
A quote Marit and I picked up while running with Heather, “the longest distance covered in a race is that between your ears.”

19 July 2008, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “Sharing advice with the golf pros” by Charlene Adam, pg. A2, col. 1:
“Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears.”
-- Bobby Jones

Mile for Mile
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Marathon
(...)
COMMENTS
David
March 1, 2010 8:19 AM
ooh, thanks for the reading list. I will check them out. My high school coach liked to say “the longest distance you’ll ever run is right between your ears”. Ironically this seems especially true for the marathon--the distance between M18 and the finish felt like approximately 1 astronomical unit.

Erica Jill
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Everything I need to know about life I learned from running a marathon.
(...)
20.  The longest distance in the race is between your ears.  I saw this somewhere else, and it couldn’t be more true.  Running is both physically and mentally challenging.  My legs hurt, but my mind was the real challenge.  My legs could keep moving, but would my mind convince them not to?  Mental battles can be tough - often we are capable of so much more than our minds will allow us to believe.  Believe in yourself, challenge your mind to go after what seems impossible

I Could Go On and On and On...
Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Longest Distance In Any Race. . .
When I decided to get my feet wet in the sport of triathlon, I immediately resigned to the fact that I would always be limited to short, super-sprint distance races.
(...)
Race morning arrived and we left before sunrise.  Chatting with the hubby and my brother in the car helped to keep my nerves at bay.  When we arrived at the race site, I stood in my transition spot and looked at the calm, clear water.  As I fought back tears, Coach E looked at me and said, “Remember, the longest distance in ANY race is the six inches between your ears.” At that moment, I knew I could do it.

Byline to Finish Line
Methods of mental training
By admin on May 4th, 2012
Oh yes, the track workout was hard.
(...)
Regardless of what it’s called, mental training can be just as important as physical training. The cliche goes something like this: The longest distance of any race is between your ears.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • (0) Comments • Sunday, June 10, 2012 • Permalink