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Golf Bogey 1: Last Part.


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Like all good mothers, my golf student took her children to the mountains for the Winter Sports and being an all-round sportswoman — she is a good yachtswoman too— she tried a few easy slopes herself.

I have never been on skis, and probably never shall, as I can't afford to risk my limbs, so I cannot say from personal experience how skiing should mix with golf—but I know how it did in this case!

My golf student came back physically undamaged, fit as ever, mentally happy and untroubled, yet her swing! What a mess! Completely slowed up, I told her.

As is my habit when things go seriously wrong, I began all over again: pivot, width, etc. Yet nothing happened except a further crop of half-tops, scoops, and all the lifeless, hopeless shots that a poor swing produces.

In a sense, we both knew what was wrong without being able to cure it—we knew her club was coming down "outside" the ball every time. Yet to save her life my pupil could not prevent it!

So it went on until one day in what proved to be a moment of inspiration I said, "You seem to be trying to guide the ball down the middle."

"Well," she replied, "that is where you want me to hit it-isn't it?"

"If you insist on putting it that way — yes," I said. "But I would rather you felt that that is where you want the ball to go, not where we want you to hit it. Certainly you must not try directly to hit it down the middle, by making your club head take the line down the middle."

"But surely," she complained, "the ball goes where you feel the club head goes."

"By no means," said I. "From experience I know that unless I feel my club head goes out to the right my ball will not go down the middle — it will be pulled or horribly sliced. I know — by experience again — that if I want the ball to fly straight down the middle I must feel that I swing my club not in the direction of the hole, but at an angle to what I want to be the line of flight."

"Then you feel you swing your club in one direction to make the ball go in another?" she said. "I do. And why? Because I could not be a good golfer if I did not!"

So much for the immediate cause of the trouble, but I wanted to dig deeper. Why had the trouble arisen? Before she went to die mountains my golf student was playing beautiful in-to-out shots — sweeping the ball away gloriously with every club.

Why, oh why the breakdown?

We puzzled over it a great deal, but she could suggest no reason for it. But one day she said: "I do remember faintly that when you took me in hand first you did tell me to swing from in-to-out. You even sketched a line on the ground for me to follow. But I did not realize that was fundamental — I thought it was a stunt of yours to cure some personal fault of mine."
Golf Bogey 1

I was angry! All that trouble because my student had taken me for a stunt merchant!

Whatever I tell a pupil is considered, as are the phrases I tell it in. I told that her to swing the club head from in-to-out because that is an essential feel of good gol f— and for no other reason.

At least, all's well that ends well—and I am happy to say that since that day my pupil has never looked back.

What has that to do with Golf Bogey No. 1? Everything!

We see the stimulus to put the ball near the flag ruining the lady's game — because she became so intent upon reaching that end that she overlooked the means whereby it might be achieved, the correct in-to-out swing that sends the ball down the desired line of flight.

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