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Golf and Concentration Final Part


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This is the final part of Percy's discussion on Golf and Concentration.

I suppose everyone would agree that "self-control" as effective as that possessed by men like Hagen and Harry Vardon is a priceless quality. But how achieve it? It can only be done by building one's golf into a closed, self-controlling circle, and then keeping extraneous matters outside that circle.

The reason why the beginner and the player needing re-education find control so elusive is simply that their golf has not yet been built into ouch a closed circle. And if they only knew it they make things far worse by trying to learn golf and play golf at the same time. When that happens, pity the poor teacher!

The beginner is making good progress. He is beginning to coordinate his game and build up his controls, when he suddenly takes himself off for an afternoon in an entirely different atmosphere — that of competitive golf, in which style means nothing and immediate results everything.
Of course his budding style and incipient control go overboard and end-gaining dominates. Everything is subordinate to getting the ball into the hole, so Golf Bogey No. 1 wins again. It is only an intentionally established set of controls that can resist the temptation to force and guide the ball when much is at stake.

These controls are the tiling! Their creation and development mustbe the constant aim of both pupil and teacher.

Everything helping their development must be encouraged, everything hindering it avoided. Their building up is largely unconscious and unnoticed, indeed even a successful pupil will often feel that little progress is being made — until perhaps quite suddenly he will be surprised to find himself playing effective, confident golf.

I remember with special pleasure how that happened to a young pupil of mine, Mile Aline de Guns-bourg. She had been in my hands since her childhood and her first experience of a major tournament was when she went over to England for the Ladies' Open.

She actually led the field in the qualifying rounds and was only put out on the last green in the semi-final by Pam Barton, the eventual winner.

On her return she said to me, "I did not know I could play like that! No one was more surprised than I was. I just played — and everything went right."

I was delighted, but not so surprised. I knew she had the golf in her and that sooner or later the controls we were building would enable her to play it. But I was delighted, because you would not normally expect a young pupil to play a bit above her best on such a nerve-testing occasion.

So when a golfer says to me, "I must learn to concentrate — concentrate— concentrate!" I counter with: "No, you must build controls — controls — controls!"

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