Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pulling

Pulling is not such a common fault, although one which is sometimes very annoying. Generally speaking, a pulled ball is a much better one than one which has been sliced, and there are some young players who are rather inclined to purr with satisfaction when they have pulled, for, though the ball is hopelessly off the line, they have committed an error which is commoner with those whose hair has grown grey on the links than with the beginner whose handicap is reckoned by eighteen or twenty strokes.

But after all pulling is not an amusement, and even when it is an accomplishment and not an accident, it should be most carefully regulated. It is the right hand which is usually the offender in this case. The wrist is wrong at the moment of impact, and generally at the finish of the stroke as well,—that is, it is on the top of the club, indicating that the right hand has done most of the work. In a case of this sort the top edge of the face of the club is usually overlapping the bottom edge, so that the face is pointing slightly downwards at the moment of impact; and when this position is brought about with extreme suddenness the ball is frequently foundered. If it escapes this fate, then it is pulled.

A second cause of pulling is a sudden relaxation of the grip of the right hand at the time of hitting the ball. When this happens, the left hand, being uncontrolled, turns over the club head in the same manner as in the first case, and the result is the same.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slicing

Having thus indicated at such great length the many points which go to the making of a good drive, a long one and a straight one, yet abounding with ease and grace, allow me to show how some of the commonest faults are caused by departures from the rules for driving. Take the sliced ball, as being the trouble from which the player most frequently suffers, and which upon occasion will exasperate him beyond measure. When a golfer is slicing badly almost every time, it is frequently difficult for him to discover immediately the exact source of the trouble, for there are two or three ways in which it comes about. The player may be standing too near to the ball; he may be pulling in his arms too suddenly as he is swinging on to it, thus drawing the club towards his left foot; or he may be falling on to the ball at the moment of impact. When the stance is taken too near to the ball there is a great inducement to the arms to take a course too far outwards (in the direction of the A line) in the upward swing. The position is cramped, and the player does not seem able to get the club round at all comfortably. When the club head is brought on to the ball after a swing of this kind, the face is drawn right across it, and a slice is inevitable. In diagnosing the malady, in cases where the too close stance is suspected, it is a good thing to apply the test of distance given at the beginning of the previous chapter, and see whether, when the club head is resting in position against the teed ball, the other end of the shaft just reaches to the left knee when it is in position, and has only just so much bend in it as it has when the ball is being addressed. The second method of committing the slicing sin is self-explanatory. As for the third, a player falls on the ball, or sways over in the direction of the tee (very slightly, but it is the trifles that matter most) when his weight has not been properly balanced to start with, and when in the course of the swing it has been moved suddenly from one leg to the other instead of quite gradually. But sometimes falling on the ball is caused purely and simply by swaying the body, against which the player has already been warned. When the slicing is bad, the methods of the golfer should be tested for each of these irregularities, and he should remember that an inch difference in any position or movement as he stands upon the tee is a great distance, and that two inches is a vast space, which the mind trained to calculate in small fractions can hardly conceive.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Smooth Downward Swing

The club should gradually gain in speed from the moment of the turn until it is in contact with the ball, so that at the moment of impact its head is travelling at its fastest pace. After the impact, the club head should be allowed to follow the ball straight in the line of the flag as far as the arms will let it go, and then, having done everything that is possible, it swings itself out at the other side of the shoulders. The entire movement must be perfectly smooth and rhythmical; in the downward swing, while the club is gaining speed, there must not be the semblance of a jerk anywhere such as would cause a jump, or a double swing, or what might be called a cricket stroke.

That, in a few lines, is the whole story of the downward swing; but it needs some little elaboration of detail. In the first place, avoid the tendency—which is to some extent natural—to let the arms go out or away from the body as soon as the downward movement begins. When they are permitted to do so the club head escapes from its proper line, and a fault is committed which cannot be remedied before the ball is struck. Knowing by instinct that you are outside the proper course, you make a great effort at correction, the face of the club is drawn across the ball, and there is one more slice.

The arms should be kept fairly well in during the latter half of the downward swing, both elbows almost grazing the body. If they are properly attended to when the club is going up, there is much more likelihood of their coming down all right.