Let's turn for a moment from learning golf to teaching golf.
Most of the teaching of golf is completely negative and a purely negative thing can have no positive value.
Why do I say that golf teaching is negative? Well we can all find faults in each other's game, millions of them, and we all start off to teach golf by pointing out these faults and "curing" them.
I did this for twenty-five years, but I have now discovered that the right way to get a pupil to hit the ball satisfactorily is to watch for any good natural qualities that may be there and to build up the swing around them.
We all hit a good ball sometimes.
Maybe with the beginner this is an accident, but the good teacher will use such an accidental shot, photographing it in his mind and starting away to build up controls around the qualities which made it possible.
In this way the beginner can retain his natural capacity to hit the ball and will gain confidence in his ability to do it and so go on enjoying his game and improving it.
But if the teacher merely points out to him a dozen or more faults in his swing he will become perplexed, confused, and fed up.
For that reason I never tell a pupil his faults (which is negative teaching). I notice the faults, of course, and suggest the necessary corrections (which is positive). So I never tell a pupil that he overswings and breaks his left arm, I explain width to him.
That is to say I give him a positive conception and by working on it he actually cures his faults without even being aware that he had them.
Now there is another point about teaching which I would like to emphasize. You will find that in this work I have not tried to set down a set of controls in one way and leave it at that.
I have tried to set the same things down and explain them in many different ways. So when you find me repeating myself do not think it is carelessness! All good teachers must repeat, but never in exactly the same words or with just the same connections.
I want to give you a clear idea of the controls which will enable you to produce an effective golf swing, and I do not mind if I have to say the same thing in a dozen different ways so long as one of the twelve gets home with you.
I hope you will not mind either, because you should be able to pick something new out of the other eleven also.