And now... (rolling drums effect)... the long awaited conclusion of the Golf Rhythm series of entries by Percy Boomer! (Learn and Enjoy!).
Now we must go into the question of contact with the club through the hands. I know that this is a chapter on rhythm not on grip, but ninety-nine times out of a hundred when we break up the rhythm of a swing we do it by using our hands wrongly.
My own grip is a variation of Vardon's, with only two knuckles of the left hand showing and three of the right hand.
My left hand is not turned over the shaft and the right is very much on top.
As my wrists are fully up as I address the ball, I feel as if I am pointing a revolver down at it and my trigger finger is waiting for the trigger pull.
Obviously if you use a different grip, you will experience a somewhat different feel.
Personally I find that the trigger finger of my right hand plays a great part in my rhythm.
The right-hand power, which we feel (mainly in the trigger finger) as we come into contact with the ball, must be induced by resistance set up in the body, not by forward force set up by the right hand.
For though the feel of golf may be largely right-handed, the power of golf is: centrifugal.
Next, we will never get effective rhythm into our swings unless we have a proper conception of that word "wait" or, as I have told you I now prefer, "delay."
I have told you that I dislike "wait" because it seems to imply stopping, and stopping breaks up the flow or rhythm of the swing.
I used to wonder what I was to wait for and when and how it would catch me up.
The club head perhaps? But what would it catch up? The body? If so, if we stop the body at the ball and allow the hands to catch up, we make a direct hit at the ball which we know to be wrong.
So I analyzed it out to this conclusion: We begin the up swing all in a piece and naturally our leg and foot and hip movements are completed long before our wrists are fully broken back at the top, long before the club head begins its return journey.
Since we must keep our feet, legs, and hips moving smoothly, they get far ahead of the club head.
We actually encourage this gap by not clinging tight onto the club with our hands, but leaving our wrists flexible.
What we are waiting for is the return power, the forward pull of the body that pulls the right hand and throws the club shaft back onto the trigger finger.
We must not intentionally pull with the right hand, we must wait for the body to pull it.
We take up the feel of this pull mainly with our trigger finger; in a strong player the resistance may be so terrific as to burst the finger open.
So we delay while all the time we are going forward. We are waiting in movement.
You will now see why I explained my grip to you in some detail.
But the regulated succession of movements is the same in every good swing, the point of contact (in my case the trigger finger) being the varying factor.
The detail of the grip is important only in that it must have a point of contact and resistance.
This can be and often is in the left hand, but I personally much prefer my own grip which I have developed out of vast experience from the so-called Vardon grip.
Perhaps I should add that although I have what might be termed a family affection for this grip-for was not the genial Harry a pupil of my father?
The reason why I adopted it is simply that it is the best suited to giving you the sense of connection between power and feel.
You will realize that in developing my ideas on rhythm in golf I have come up against many interesting points which are not immediately obvious.
I remember telling a pupil of mine the Blue Danube story. "Oh," she said, "do you really believe the ear has an influence upon golf rhythm?" Well did I? I suppose I did, as I told the story in all sincerity, but I had not thought the point out.
The actual sound of a "swishing" swing cutting the daisies is different and suggests a different rhythm from the "sweeping" sound of a good shot.
The swishing sensation of the daisy cutter is too directly a simple one-two sensation; the sensation of the sweeping shot includes drag (from the "wait" or "delay").
When the Americans say they put draw on the ball (in English, impart a slight pull) they swing the ball slightly from right to left at the end of its it.
That is the result of the feeling that we are drawing the ball in.
This is the basis of the in-to-out theory; we feel that, as we come in behind the ball, the club head goes out with a corresponding reaction by the ball in flight.
As I have suggested, I do not think either "pull" or "draw" suggests the right sensation.
Drag suggests it much more nearly. A horse pulls SL cart, a car draws a trailer (directly linked in each case) but we drag a fishing net, or a kite. In short, if we want to draw the ball, we must drag the club head. We drag the club head in order to draw the ball.
But you may say, "What has drag to do with rhythm?" It has all to do with it, with our feeling of flowing continuous movement.
Golf rhythm is a delayed dragging feel of the club head, developed from the power of the legs, kept under control by the braced turning of the hips, and finally loosened into a free, untrammeled movement of the arms outward and around the left side.
If to this we add a sense of balance, a sense of unhurried calm, a feeling that there is lots of time to feel each movement blending into the others, we shall begin to feel the true golf rhythm.
We must swing slowly yet determinedly.
When children are lost in the dark, they hurry; when we are lost in our swing, we hurry!
This rhythmic swing seems slow, seems to take a long time to develop.
We must cultivate this feeling and see slowly and feel slow. We lose rhythm as soon as we hurry, and we hurry as soon as we are afraid.
The fear complex beats every golfer at some time of his playing career.
Don't mind admitting it; you will be in gallant company - the late Lord Beatty told me at St. Cloud in 1920 that every man is a coward when he steps onto a golf course!