You may be ever so nervous and eager to win. Your match, yet if you have the ability to concentrate upon the one idea of seeing that ball clearly throughout the swing until your club-reaches it, your confidence in yourself will remain unshaken and you will be bringing off your shots even though your knees are quivering with nervousness.
Take two players of equal ability, one with. Plenty of tournament experience and the other without, and the chances are much in favor of the player of experience, simply because the lessons he has learned have been driven home harder.
He knows from experience that anxiety to see the result of his shot has caused him to look up too soon and he is on his guard, while the other player has not had the lesson driven home by such a failure at a critical moment.
The bulk of golfers I have met are successful business men, and I think they will average pretty much alike in their capacity to master themselves, but the difficulty is in properly impressing them with the importance of the fundamental principles.
My experience is that the majority be-come bewildered in the maze of instructions they hear as to the playing of the game and they lose their sense of proportion, or that sense becomes dulled and their minds are concentrated upon the wrong thing. I don’t care at what stage of the game a golfer may be, if he will limit his effort to his ability to see that ball clearly until he connects with it he will get his stroke away in pretty fair shape, and the first and most elementary thing in golf is to hit the ball.
Every course is one mass of temptation and pitfalls for the unwary and every hole presents a new feature to take his mind from the essential thing in golf, and that is that he must see his ball clearly to hit it accurately.
Every kind of a lie on the links is a temptation to divert the mind from the essential thing. No matter how badly your ball may be cupped, or in long grass, or on a down slope, or up slope, or with hazards in front of you, or around you, this one thing is the supreme factor in getting the ball away.
Your opponent, lying dead to the hole, is the supreme temptation of all, but when you have once mastered the lesson of seeing your own ball clearly until you hit it, you will be able to smile to yourself when you walk up to your ball and say, “if you think that will make me look up, just wait.” Mastery of this one item will pull many a hole “out of the fire” and save many a match which looks pretty desperate.