Golf is the game par excellence for women of all ages, from the girl with all the time and energy of youth to give, to the matron getting on in years who requires some incentive to take health-giving exercise in the open air and days of respite from domestic duties or town pleasures.
It appears a comparatively simple business to hit a ball into a hole a few hundred yards distant in fewer strokes than an opponent (which, after all, is the sole object of golf), but in no other game does the uninitiated stand in need of instruction on so many points.
First must be considered the question of suitable clothes. Golfing garments should be plain, comfortable, and made of materials which will stand exposure to all weather, the most important item being footgear, which should be of the best and strongest. Nails must be worn in the soles of the shoes to secure a firm grip of the ground when the strokes are being made.
Placed close together. The arms should be kept clear of the body, about 3 in. from the hips, and the top of the club 8 or 9 in. below the waist-line
More puzzling to the feminine novice is the choice of clubs. It is well to start with those which are fairly light, so that the player never feels the club beyond her control during any portion of the swing. Clubs last for several years if properly treated, and if their shafts are rubbed every few weeks with linseed oil; so that the limited outlay of 6s. 6d. for each wooden club and 5s. 6d. for each iron one is not really very large. Of wooden clubs there are three - driver, brassey, and spoon - these being employed whenever the ball is to be made to fly as far as possible the driver, being the most powerful, is tor use at the first shot of every long hole; the brassey is strengthened by a brass plate on its sole so that it can be used when the ball lies on the ground; the spoon does not send the ball so far as the brassey, but it can be used from rougher lies - i.e., the place where the ball lies. The woman player of average physique should use wooden clubs weighing from II 1/2 to 13 1/2 ounces, their length from the sole of the head to the extreme top of the shaft being in the proportion of 41 inches for a player 5 feet 5 inches in height.
The iron clubs most usually used are a cleek, for low shots against the wind; an iron, for all high shots at 100 to 130 yards range - that is, whenever a wooden club would send the ball too far; a mashie, for short shots when the ball must rise quickly to fly over an obstacle, and not run far along the ground after falling; a niblick, for extricating the ball from bunkers, heather, long grass, or other difficulties; and a putter, for use when the ball is on the putting-green. The cleek, iron, and mashie should weigh about 13 1/2 ounces, the niblick at least 16 ounces, the putter from 14 to 15 ounces. There are, of course, various "freak" clubs, and many varieties of irons; there are also wooden and aluminium putters, price 7s. 6d., though the ordinary putting cleek, or putter, is more generally useful, and therefore to be preferred, but the majority of good lady players carry the eight clubs above enumerated, out of which the novice will do well to begin with four only - brassey, iron, mashie, and putter.
The Swing with Wooden Clubs
Having purchased the clubs, the next requisite is a caddy-bag in which to carry them. Brown or white canvas is the lightest for those who intend to dispense with the services of a caddy, but for good wear, and for protection against weather, leather is to be recommended, with a detachable hood to cover the club-heads on wet days. Canvas bags cost from 8s. 6d. upwards, leather ones from 12s. to 18s.
Balls are the next item, and whilst the first-class player will need the best procurable, at 2S. 6d. each, those at is. 6d. are quite good enough for the beginner.
Once equipped, the would-be golfer should lose no time before she betakes herself to the links.
The first general principle of golf is that a full swing should be taken with wooden clubs when a long shot is required, but only a half-swing with the irons, which are used for accuracy of direction and not for length; the great and golden rule for all shots, whether with wood or iron, is " swing slowly, and keep your head still."
Let the novice begin with the wooden clubs and the full swing.
The club must be held firmly, but not rigidly, with the hands placed close together, as in the photograph. Without being unduly clear of the body, with both elbows stretched out, the anna should be kept about 3 inches from the hip , and tintop of the club 8 or 9 inches below the waist-line. The feet should be placed about 19 inches apart, as in Fig. 2, and ton very slightly inwards. It is a common mistake,even with those who have played for some time, to turn the left toe outwards; but the subsequent movements of the left knee are rendered extremely awkward thereby, the knee having to perform a double twist as the swing is mafic, instead of one continuous turn. The weight of the body should be on the heels, on the right at the commencement of each stroke, to be transferred consciously to the left at the moment when the ball is struck, so that the player's weight and strength follow the club.
The "Follow Through"
As confidence increases, the player will find it comfortable to turn the left heel outwards and upwards during the backward swing, and the right heel similarly on the downward, but too much pivoting is to be avoided, as unsteadiness on the feet spells disaster even to experienced players. The knees should not be stiffened, but at the same time they must not be bent, nor a crouching attitude adopted; the bending-point should be at the hips. The ball should be about 29 inches from a line connecting the toes, and two-thirds of the way between them - namely, same 6 inches behind the left foot (vide Fig. 3).