If one employs a professional to teach one golf the first thing he does is to hand one a driver. Then he tells one a good deal about the mystery and difficulty of golf and proceeds to try to teach one the drive, the most difficult stroke in golf, first.

I am calling the drive the most difficult stroke in golf. It is not so to everybody, but it is sufficiently so to give point to my illustration, for in the drive there is probably at least as much opportunity for error as there is in any stroke in golf.

I maintain that in a game which makes such a full and insistent demand for accuracy as does golf, the only correct method of instruction is to take the beginner by natural gradation from the easiest stroke to the most difficult. In all good tuition, in sport or science, this is the invariable rule. For some inscrutable reason it is openly and ruthlessly violated and contemned by all professional golfers. The result is, not unnaturally, that an amazing number of people who pay much money to learn golf are not learning it.

It would not be so bad if it stopped at this. Unfortunately it does not. Many of these poor people start golf late in life. This method, or lack of method, in teaching makes of many of them merely golf-cowards. One has heard of men and boys who are "gun-shy," who fear the noise and the recoil of the gun.

Who has heard of the "ball-shy" golfer? Yet there are many thousands of him and her, who have been converted into golf cowards because they were set a task quite beyond their powers at the beginning. They were made to feel that the ball was their master, their tyrant, instead of their faithful little friend and servitor.

Some few escape being ball-shy, who are started late in life on wrong methods, but thousands succumb. Now there can be little doubt that the proper way to start teaching any one golf is on the putting green. Putting is quite half the game of golf and it is the most important part of the game; yet it is ridiculously and shamefully neglected.

The right place from which to start any one who really desires to learn golf thoroughly is anywhere from six inches to a foot from the hole. From this point one may back the pupil through his clubs until he arrives at the tee-and his driver.

When I first wrote this in 1909 it was, although most obviously sound, regarded as revolutionary teaching. Now, the best professionals start their pupils, if not on, at, the green. Any one who has patience and perseverance enough to start in this way, and to keep on at it for some time, will be astonished at the solidity it will give to the foundation of his game-his putting-and at the confidence it will breed in him when playing through the green and from the tee.

There are good reasons for this. Perhaps the first is that this method of learning teaches one in a very natural and easy manner to keep one's eye on the ball. Starting within a foot of the hole gives one a stroke which one feels sure of being able to play. It also is of such a length that both the hole and the ball are within one's focus. This means that one has no temptation to raise the head and lift the eye in order to follow the run of the ball to the hole. This is a matter of much greater importance than is generally understood. The beginner does not start with his ball cocked up on a little mound of sand. He has to play it as it lies on the green. He gradually becomes accustomed to this and so it seems quite natural for him to do so when, by easy stages, he gets off the green and has to play his chip-shots.

I know perfectly well that very few golfers ever learned in this manner. I certainly did not, but that does not alter the fact that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. I am giving the right way in golf, but it is not compulsory if any one cares to sacrifice the advantage of it and to learn in the usual way the most difficult strokes first.

From a purely scientific point of view there can be no doubt of the advantages of the course suggested by me, and I am building up my book to a great extent on these lines; but from the practical side of the question it will probably be found expedient to encourage any one who shows any ability to do so by letting him have a few hits at the ball with a driver. The insistent cry of the beginner to the professional is "Teach me to swing." The result unfortunately is that frequently they get the swing and nothing else. So those, who want to do so, may read the analysis of the drive and the master stroke after they have studied the chapter on putting.

The player, who will learn as I suggest, will make the valuable-to elderly players the invaluable-discovery that the drive is much more of an

(1) The left hand Grip

(1) The left hand Grip.

(2) Taking the Overlapping Grip

(2) Taking the Overlapping Grip.

(3) The Overlapping Grip Complete

(3) The Overlapping Grip Complete.


exaggerated put than is commonly understood, and this apparently extreme statement has special application, as will be seen later, to the master-shot in golf, the drive with back-spin.

Too many beginners worry about their style. The player who thinks of style first at any game deserves all that comes to him. No man who cares anything about a game, certainly no man who is worthy to play golf, should worry about his style. His whole endeavor should be to produce his strokes in a manner that is mechanically perfect. If he succeeds in doing this he may rest assured that he will have in his stroke so much of style or finish as it is possible for him to get. If he should desire style at the expense of efficiency I have no word for him.