The trouble with these older players is never lack of care, because they are a painstaking lot, but a lack of understanding of the principles of the stroke. They start by reaching out farther than the younger man as a rule, making it more difficult to maintain the balance and requiring considerable muscular effort to keep their feet when they swing. This eliminates the compactness which comes from one set of muscles sup-porting the other. Then they lower their heads to get a better aim along the shaft, thus bringing more directly in the line of vision a lot of moving objects, which tends to distract the attention when they are on their downward swing.
Instead of reaching the top of the swing comfortably they expend most of their energy in keeping their balance, and in the great majority of cases they make all their effort in one violent heave as they reach the ball. The eyes are about a foot above the real pivotal center of the stroke, and consequently everything should appear more or less flat to the player in a properly played stroke. In other words, the base or pivot of the stroke should really appear to be behind him and not in a line between the eyes and the ball.
The player must depend more upon the “feel” of the shot; that is to say, his sense of touch must be cultivated more, and he must depend upon his vision rather as a check on the “feel” of the shot than as a guide to making it. Constant practice will give a player this “feel” of the shot, while observation will show him how to make his allowances for the way the shot looks, or the angles appear, when a shot is properly played.
Later, I show the stance or address I use on the drive, and while it looks wrong, I know from experience that it “feels right” and is right. I have proved it. I have learned to be guided more by the “feel” than by the “view.”
I think it is the constant antagonism between the eyes and the sense of touch, or feeling, which is influencing the reason which causes the conscious muscular control and holds back the instinctive or natural muscular action, thereby in-creasing the difficulty of falling naturally into the stroke.
In practical language this means that it will be far more profitable for the aver-age golfer to observe the simple formula of keeping his head still and making his club head go along a straight line while in contact with the ball than to try to work out all the difficult angles and confusing details in the making of a stroke. These two simple rules will fill the bill if they are given a chance.