Common sense should tell you that you cannot watch the line and the ball at the same time. The purpose in taking the stance is to give you your direction. How seldom you see an amateur rely upon that, however.
He takes his stance and then commences to tire his eyes and muscles by a further study of the direction. Once you take your stance you should never again think of the direction. One more glance to gage the distance and then everything should be devoted to hitting the ball true.
Have more confidence, and the best way to get that is to acquire experience and familiarity with the “feel” of a correctly hit ball.
All the careful study of line and distance is lost in any case when you do not hit true, and fifty shots are spoiled by not hitting true to one which is off direction as a result of lack of study of the line.
It is the way your club head meets the ball which affects the flight and not the way your shoulders are acting or your hands or a hundred other things are behaving. Forget all those items and think only of keeping your head still when you are swinging at the ball.
Do not spend so much time in studying the nature of the ground between the cup and yourself or where you must drop the ball or anything of that sort. Look at the flag and gage the distance and then hit your ball to go that distance. The club hitting the ball true will take care of all the trouble between you and the cup. Bunkers are really more of a mental than a physical hazard, because if you hit your ball true and for the correct distance the bankers might just as well not exist, as far as affecting the flight of the ball is concerned.
If a good player could exchange his knowledge with a poor player the latter would be astonished at the few things which he has to observe to bring off his shot. If I could convince players that keeping my head absolutely still was the secret of bringing off shots which look mighty difficult, they would be dissatisfied with its simplicity and begin to create new mental hazards, because they are apparently anxious to make the game as difficult as possible.
I presume every player who has mastered a certain difficult shot has laughed in his sleeve when his less skilful mates have marveled at his cleverness. Let them think it is cleverness and don’t tell them that hitting the ball true did all the difficult work. “A pit full of starving bears,” as I read in a humorous article some time ago, is only a mental hazard and cannot possibly affect a well hit ball. The most difficult hazard in golf is the desire to swing hard.