Second, that since golf is not a game to determine who can hit the ball farthest, but who can get it into the hole in the fewest strokes, it is no good to drive blindly ahead if there are difficulties which cannot be carried, especially if the opponent is already in trouble. To "play with your head" is the motto of the true golfer, who must know when to dare greatly and when to play steadily.
Third, that pluck always pays. No hole is ever so nearly lost that something unexpected may not happen; no match reaches such a hopeless position, until actually lost, that it may not be retrieved. Last, that good and bad luck equalise in the long run, and that qui s'excuse s'accuse, in this matter as in others more vital. It is all too easy for the golfer to forget the good luck that befalls her and to remember only the mishaps, but she should bear in mind that her opponent has similar ups and downs of fortune, and, moreover, that the fates invariably favour the better player, so that often what appears luck is nothing else than superior skill.
Though a calm philosophy, self-control, and a benign placidity are the first essentials of what is known as "the golfing temperament," she who aspires to the front rank at the game knows that something more is needed, that self-direction goes even further than self-control, and that excitement, if it be kept within bounds, wins more matches than natural or acquired indifference. In almost every match there comes a crisis when a.specially great effort, some risk successfully taken, some good recovery when the hole seemed lost, is worth more than the actual hole won or saved, because it will either necessitate the opponent's attempting something beyond her powers, or gain moral advantage by showing her that she is not in the winning position she believed. Confidence goes for much, though many good golfers play their best when their match is apparently a hopeless case. This, again, is the golfing temperament, essentially British, which does not know when it is beaten, and fights most successfully when in a tight place.
Especially does the mental side of golf come into play when the match is between a good and a bad player, even though the good is conceding so many strokes that the bad should be able to make a close match with her. Too often the bad player, or "long handicap," as she is technically termed, starts out with a quite needless dread of the good player; she forgets that even the best may make mistakes, and that it is a hard task repeatedly to do holes in two strokes less than the opponent, which is what the giver of odds must accomplish to win a hole where a stroke is given.
The "short handicap" in such a case must do her utmost to keep up, or rather justify, at the outset this delusion that she can do no wrong, by being specially determined to play the first few holes well, instead of thinking that later in the round will do for a strenuous effort. If the long handicap sees her dreaded opponent make a mistake early in the match, she realises that she is not invulnerable, and will derive courage quite out of proportion to the actual fault committed. To the giver of strokes an early lead is invaluable. Such is the match-playing genius, whether in a single or a "foursome,"as golfers term "doubles"; but the steady-going philosophy is a more valuable ally for all but the best players when the conditions are not match but medal play - i.e., a competition in which the score for each hole is recorded in writing and the lowest total for the round of 18 holes secures the prize. Here the main thing is to forget the bad strokes, the holes with too large totals, and, casting all misfortunes behind, to concentrate the mind on each individual stroke in turn.
Just as skill must be supplemented by temperament, so the rules (which will be tabulated in the next article) are amplified by an inviolable code of etiquette, both written and customary.
The first cardinal point is to be silent and motionless whilst the opponent plays her shot.
The best place to stand is exactly opposite the opponent, beside the tee-box, or else directly behind her back, but on no account should the position be behind the player's right foot; special care should be taken on the putting green in this respect. Nor should the opponent stand beyond the hole, so that the player when looking at the hole sees just beyond it her opponent's feet, and possibly a skirt flapping distractingly in the wind.
The best place to stand while an opponent makes a shot is exactly opposite her. beside the tee-box, or directly behind her back
If a ball is lost, or if for any reason a couple are playing slowly, it is their indisputable duty to signal to the players behind to pass them, to stand aside while they do so, and not to resume play until they are completely out of range.
A player should shout "Fore!" when, owing either to a pull, slice, or unexpectedly long shot, her ball is likely to strike the ground near other players.
There are, however, two cardinal rules, and of these no circumstances can justify a breach:
1. Never drive off a tee until the party in front have played their second shots.
2. Never approach a green until any players who may be occupying it have finished putting, and have replaced the flag.
Lastly, there is the golfer 's obligation to the links over which she plays: she must be mindful of the sarcasm which once penned the time-honoured legend thus: "Golfers will replace the turf; others must." To be continued,