To keep one’s balance may seem simple enough, and the majority of golfers will say that they do. True, indeed, they do; they waste the majority of the effort of their swing in doing it. Comparatively little of the energy expended goes into the ball; most of it goes into a death grip on the club, one leg trying to maintain the balance which the other leg is trying to disturb, a stiffening of the arms, shoulders and countless other losses, and a wild endeavor as the club nears the ball to throw everything into it and get the ball away anyhow.
When the ball is struck the instinctive effort is to restore the equilibrium by pulling in the arms in order to keep from falling over. Every beginner I ever saw had to be warned to go at it easier. Now if the experience of all good players agrees. That this is so, be sensible and at least consider what they say. All golf wisdom boiled down will only teach you to “master yourself.”
That is where golf is so peculiar. This is the real foundation of golf, but I despair of ever putting that clearly enough before any one to have him understand it, so I start with the matter of balance, presuming that it is useless at the outset to try to bring out the philosophy of golf. That will be learned in what some one has called “the seven years it takes to become a golfer.”
Few experienced golfers will deny that a little energy well directed and smoothly applied will drive the ball farther than a more vigorous effort which does not connect the ball and the center of the club. The more easily the balance is pre-served, the more freedom you will have for the making of the stroke. If you can devise some way of keeping your head in one spot, by that I mean not swaying the head, your eyes will be able to see the ball (the object to be struck) clearly. To illustrate what I mean by keeping the head in one spot:
You will remember that when you have your photograph taken in a gallery the photographer places a rest back of your mead, with a couple of prongs on it, to keep your head from swaying to the right or left, or up and down. Your head occupies one spot or position with reference to the camera. If the man jars the camera so that it sways during the exposure of the plate the image will be blurred more than when you sway your head.
Now, then, if your eye represents the camera and the ball the image, the more successful you become in keeping your head in one spot the better chance you have of seeing the ball clearly. No matter what method you use, this one thing must be mastered if you ever expect to play golf well. Certainly anything which tends to destroy your balance will make it impossible to see the ball clearly, and you cannot do this if your head moves from the spot you started from.