This is the second part of my discussion about Power in Golf.
The test of a golfer's control is in his ability to play a shot of 70 yards with every iron club in his bag. Think about it: it will give you an idea of what control of power means.
Every shot will be played firmly, but the power applied will obviously have to be varied greatly with the different clubs.
I do not claim that I was ever a great player but I did teach myself to perform this tour de force, for a tour de force it is.
It took me most of my golfing life to learn how to do it.
"And why," you may ask, "should you expect us ordinary golfers to be able to do a thing which it took you, an expert, a lifetime to learn?"
Well, I did not say I expected you to be able to do it ... what I do say is that understanding how it is done and endeavoring to do it yourself will give you a real conception of controlled power in the golf swing.
In my opinion, we cannot lay too much stress upon this matter of getting the right conceptions.
It is surprising what you can get people to do once they clearly understand what it is that has to be done.
To reverse this, I contend that many of us are playing bad golf not because we are incapable of playing good golf but simply because we are thinking of golf in the wrong way.
I have known cases of such players who improved their swings and their games without intending to, simply because they came across and adopted a better conception of the swing.
The truth is, of course, that just as if we appreciate good manners we will become good mannered in spite of ourselves; so also, if we appreciate the true ethics of the golf strokes, we will become good golfers.
Why do I use the word "ethics"? Well, because golf is a matter of ethics, that is (according to my dictionary) "relating to manners or morals."
To prove this, cast your eye round the club room.
The chances are you will find the most modest man in the club is also the best player and that he is out in the caddie shed.
I have never known a great golfer who was not modest, and that goes for Walter Hagen, who in spite of his showmanship was a charmingly modest fellow and a great gentleman.
I hope that the reason why I have wandered off into moral implications in this particular chapter is clear.
Our subject is power and power like fire is a good servant but a bad master. Uncontrolled power is the very devil-in golf or anywhere else.
In golf, power must be controlled in two ways: in the matter of morals and in the matter of mechanics.
The mechanical control we may liken to the control of a motor car.
The power at golf-the gasoline-is represented by the nails in our shoes, no gasoline, no power!
But this power is not applied direct; it works through a clutch, and the clutch in the golfer's mechanism is the hips.
That is where the power is gathered up, given its right direction, and put into action or not. Then the hands we can compare with spark plugs-get them operating too soon or too late in the cycle of operations and your swing backfires.
Your swing like the, ignition on your car must be timed.
Without suggesting that this comparison should be pressed too far, it has its value. One of the points it emphasizes is that clutch slip must be guarded against - that is, there must be no slip, no sloppy movement in your hip work.
I will discuss the role of the operations of your hips in my next entry.
Read the first part of the Power in Golf discussion by clicking the link.