Many players can make a perfect practice swing, and yet the moment the ball is in front of them they swing in an entirely different manner. This is because in the trial swing the eye has no responsibility and the player allows the club to go where it will. The eye should observe in golf and not direct the lines of force or angles. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred beginners unconsciously try to bring the lines along which the power is applied into the visible angles as interpreted by the eyes. In other words, the player is trying to see and direct everything as though he were shooting a rifle.
It takes a number of years in golf to learn to “shoot from the hips” or waist, so to speak. The vast majority of beginners are up on their toes in applying the power, instead of being well down on the flat of the foot with the weight well grounded. This desire to “aim” at the ball along the shaft is the worst fault and the hardest to change or cure in the older players. It is not so much their age or muscular equipment which is at fault, but their lack of adaptability and doggedness in holding to their own way of playing. They assume at the start that they cannot get a long ball, and promptly devise ways and means to absolutely prevent their doing it.
A lack of flexibility is a part of their natural equipment, but it should be their endeavor to overcome this handicap and not to intensify it. They start with a lack of distance with the inevitable result that they get into trouble ; then they acquire the habit of trying to lift the ball over the trouble by hitting up instead of trying to get more distance. This results in a very high percentage of topped shots.