I HAVE already explained briefly why, both in my own game and in my teaching, I have adopted the simplest possible swing and have insisted that as many shots as possible should be played with fundamentally the same movements.
Now that I have outlined the idea of teaching by feel you will better understand why I attach such importance to this point.
To put the lesson of the concept of control by feel as briefly as possible, we must give up thinking about our shots. In place of thinking there must be conscious control, obtained by building up (by constant repetition of the correct action) a comfortable and reliable feel, a feel that will tell you infallibly through appeal to your muscular memory, what is the right movement and which will remain with you and control your shots whatever your mental state may be. Not being a matter of thought, this control stands outside the mental state.
As I have said, this controlling feel is built up through the constant repetition of the correct movements.
We do not know just where in the system it resides, but whether it is muscular memory, or the wearing of certain grooves or channels in the mind, or as is probable a combination of the two, it is obvious that the more often the same succession of movements can be repeated the clearer the memory will be.
Also, and this is most important, it is highly desirable that the memory should not be confused by the frequent or even occasional introduction of other and different movementsas happens when the swing is fundamentally changed for certain shots.
It is mainly for this reason that I teach and preach and practice that every shot from the full drive to the putt should be played with the same movement.
Of course in the drive the movement is both more extensive and bolder than for the shorter shots, but fundamentally it is the same.
The result must be a feeling of "in-to-out" stroking across the face of the ball played not at the ball, but through it.
The "in-to-out" refers to the relation of the feel of the path of the club head to the desired line of flight of the ball.
Editor's Note: It is interesting to read many approaches to the golf swing ("the holy grail of golf"). In my opinion, however, Joe Dante's approach is very effective. If you want to see a very thorough analysis of the golf swing and how to improve it, go to the main Golf Swing section of this website, which is an abridged version of Joe Dante's Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf.