If, however, the result of your stroke is not what it should have been, I have no objection to your holding an inquiry into it provided you do not go into it on the course and delay and annoy people who are following you.

I have said that there is, for all practical purposes, one put. That statement will hold good; for even when one is stymied, in the great majority of cases one can get some assistance from the green and so get into the hole around the obstructing ball without playing other than a plain put.

There are, however, cases in which one must cut or pull round the obstructing ball. These are strokes which are better taught on the green than in a book. One must have a club suitable for them and one must know the green on which one is playing. A simple cut, or "sliced" put, will run round a stymie with a lovely curl from one side of the hole. Try it from the other side and the result of the stroke is quite different. The "nap" of the green, otherwise the way the cutters have laid the grass, is entirely opposite. It is impossible to speak positively about the effect of cut puts or pulled puts on a putting green; for we are not, as in billiards, dealing practically with known quantities. No two greens are alike. No two "runs" to a hole have the same characteristics when it conies to a question of such nicety as introducing spin; so one must be content in these matters to get one's experience mainly by practise, and, if one is keen enough, the study of books which go fully into such matters.

It must not be thought because I pass them by like this that I think these matters unworthy of study. If a man really loves the game he should know them. He may not want them five times in a lifetime, for generally there is another and an easier way out of the difficulty, but sometimes there comes the position which demands one shot and one shot only. That is the time your true golfer wants to have it in his repertory.

Many books give much advice about putting uphill and down-hill, across hill, and everywhere, except perhaps in the subway. Their authors tell you about getting great results by using the toe and the heel and other funny bits of the putter. There is just one part of the putter to use for putting, and that is the middle of its face. That may not be geometrically correct. Here is another instruction that is probably less so, but still to you expressive and explicit. Use only the center of your club-face. Don't think of toeing or heeling anything. You will never be so good a golfer that you can do anything off the toe or the heel of your putter that you cannot do equally well, or better, with the center of your club.

In putting one must rivet one's attention on the ball and keep it there until one has played one's stroke. Starting to practise near the hole, one has not the same desire to relax one's attention and to follow the run of the ball as one has if one starts far away from the hole or by driving. In these cases there is always a great tendency on the part of the beginner to look up. This means moving the head and unsettling the stroke. It is a fault of the worst description that must be most persistently fought.

No advice about putting would be complete without a reference to the golfer's outstanding sin on the green. One should make up one's mind always to "give the hole a chance;" in other words, one should always put so strongly that, unless one goes into the hole, one's ball either stays opposite the hole or rolls past it.

We see frequently in books advice to search out some particular blade of grass on the way to the hole and to put over it. For sheer futility this always seems to me to be entitled to a very high position. There is a wonderful family resemblance in blades of grass even when they have their heads on. When they are cut across somewhere about the abdomen they, to me at least, cease to have any very distinguishing characteristics such as would enable one to pick out a prominent looking fellow say ten yards-or feet-away.

We may disregard such advice as this and put for a point from one foot to three feet behind or beyond the hole, according to the length of the put we have to make. If we could get into this habit it would be much better for us and we should not have so many aggravating short puts.

Here is something which Vardon has to say of putting that is of value: "There should be no sharp hit and no jerk in the swing, which should have the even, gentle motion of a pendulum. In the backward swing, the length of which, as in all other strokes in golf, is regulated by the distance it is desired to make the ball travel, the head of the putter should be kept exactly in the line of the put. Accuracy will be impossible if it is brought round at all. There should be a short follow through after impact, varying, of course, according to the length of the put. In the case of a long one, the club will go through much farther, and then the arms would naturally be more extended."

This is good practical advice as regards the golf in it, but as a matter of simple mechanics it will not square with Vardon's previous instructions.

Vardon tells us that the put is the only pure wrist stroke in golf. As a matter of fact there is not such a stroke in golf as a "pure wrist" shot, unless one could call a six-inch put so. I am referring to this here, not as a quibble, but as a matter of practical golf of considerable importance.

It is of the utmost importance in golf generally, and in putting particularly, that the player should have a perfectly clear idea what it is that he is trying to do. This condition of mind is conspicuously absent in the play of the great majority. In quite the largest number of cases of bad strokes the fault lies not with the eyes or the limbs, but with the general in command, the brain, and even it does not fail on account of any inherent defect, but simply because it had never been trained to give the requisite order.

That being so, let us note carefully what Vardon says about taking the head of the putter back "exactly in the line of the put" produced through the ball. This would be impossible if the put were, as Vardon says it is, a pure wrist stroke. It will be apparent that if one attempts to play any put with any ordinary putter as a pure wrist stroke that the head of the club will begin to curve away from the ball inward to the player the moment it leaves the ball. The only put possible as a pure wrist stroke, that is playing it without moving the wrists from their position, is a put played by a putter with a perfectly vertical shaft, and we know that these are not used.

The ordinary putter shaft, as is well known, lies in toward the player at a considerable angle. The only way to carry out Vardon's instructions in putting, and to keep the head of the putter "exactly in the line of the put," is to allow one's wrists in putting to travel with the club. This one must do on the backward swing as well as in the follow-through. Any attempt to put in any other way must result in bad form, that bad form which comes from the neglect of obvious mechanical necessities, and therefore the worst kind of bad form.

Vardon has some other advice to give that is worth noting, but not following. He says: "In the follow-through the putter should be kept well down, the bottom edge scraping the edge of the grass for some inches." I am quoting this because here again we see the impossibility, with any ordinary putter, of making the follow-through without letting the wrists go, and moreover the instructions for "scraping the edge of the grass for some inches" mean playing the put with the

Cocking up the Toe

(1) Cocking up the Toe.

Cocking up the Heel

(2) Cocking up the Heel.

Turning the Face of the Club forward

(3) Turning the Face of the Club forward.

Cocking up the Fac

(4) Cocking up the Face.


descending blow, the old, faulty method which Vardon has fortunately abandoned.

In those days Vardon argued in favor of the stabbed put. He said: "It is easy to understand how much more this course of procedure will tend towards the accuracy and delicacy of the stroke than the reverse method, in which the blade of the putter would be cocked up as soon as the ball had left it."

Is not this strange tuition? What is more natural than that the face of the club should be cocked up as soon as the ball has left it. Let us affix our ideal putter head to the pendulum of the clock and let it play the put. We shall of course see that the face of the putter begins to cock up the instant the ball has left it. This is as it should be, as indeed it is, in the vast majority of all golf strokes, excluding of course those which come within the class known as "push" strokes.

Any one who is trying to put with cut must remember what I have said about trying to do anything to the ball during impact. Vardon says: "Swing just a trifle away from the straight line outwards, and the moment you come back on to the ball draw the club sharply across it."

There must be no attempt in putting to do anything "the moment you come back on to the ball" that was not an essential part of the arc of the swing as determined by the player the moment it was started. The fact that the club encounters the ball is an incident in the swing, but the arc of that swing having been once settled cannot be readjusted successfully nor altered in any way as a matter of good and consistent golf. This idea of doing something to the ball while the club is adhering to it must be absolutely abandoned.

Much might be written about putting on undulating greens, but here I am sure the green is better than all the books ever written. There is, however, one broad general piece of advice that I shall give to players when allowing for the run of the ball in putting across a ridge or ridges or on the side of a hill, and that is "Always allow plenty."

The golfer's cardinal sin on the green is being short, not "giving the hole a chance." It is nearly, if not quite, as bad to be narrow, for in this case you throw away any chance you may have of holing out, and on a down-hill run once the ball gets away from the hole it often means a long up hill journey.