That the obvious way is often in conflict with the right way in golf is clear on the slightest thought.
The most effective swing is artificial rather than natural, and even more closely relative to our point any experienced golfer knows that it is impossible to make a good drive when thinking of hitting the ball a certain distance in a certain direction on to the green.
But that is where it has to be hit, you say? Agreed. But the point is that it cannot be hit there with any certainty unless the end in view is inhibited or at least made secondary and the whole system is concentrated upon performing a proper swing, i.e. upon the reasoned means whereby the desired aim may be achieved.
In short you must not think about and calculate distance and direction; you must feel the swing that will give you the desired distance and direction.
This may seem a simple point, but it is so basically important that I will illustrate it by relating the experience of one of my students.
I had in Paris a golf school where five or six assistants worked under my guidance. So most of my personal work was in perfecting the ground work which my assistants had built up in beginners, or in the more difficult and trying re-educational work for golf students who have got down to 6 or so and then stuck.
It was one of these re-educational cases which gave me an unusually clear revelation of the machinations of Golf Bogey No. 1.
The lady, an International golfer nearer fifty than forty years of age, was in a thoroughly bad patch.
Her handicap was 3 but she could not play anywhere near it at the time.
She came to me and asked me to "overhaul her swing." I asked if she realized what that meant and whether she would have the pluck and perseverance to carry through what might amount to a complete re-formation of a swing which had, when all was said, brought her considerable success. I suggested that she should think it over for a week.
During the week I inquired of her friends, who assured me that she was persevering and intelligent. I knew she was of good physique.
That was enough for me, for though I did not feel that she had any greal natural gift for the game, I knew that intelligence and perseverance were qualities which could call others to their aid. So I was willing to take the case on, and after thinking it over she decided that she would like me to take her in hand.
She proved to be a most delightful and receptive golf student and in a short time was sweeping the ball away magnificently with all her clubs.
I admit that I began to think I was something of a teaching genius and indeed my delighted golf student told me I was! But then came disaster....
... And I'll continue this golf bogey storey in my next entry. ;-)