The player must forget everything that he has ever read or been told as to what he can do to the ball while it is on the club, that is, during adhesion. The club and the ball are in actual contact and travel for a very short distance together. This is technically called adhesion. This period is so much less than what we understand by the word instantaneous that it is quite useless to try to convey to my readers any idea of its duration. It has been computed-as I have said- by one of our most capable physicists at one ten-thousandth of a second.
It will be quite apparent then that it is utterly useless for a human being to think that he can time his stroke in such a manner that any special thing he does in that period can have any effect on the ball.
We are told by quite experienced players, like Mr. W. J. Travis for example: "The science of the stroke consists in hitting very sharply, and turning the wrists upward immediately after the ball is struck."
Now the truth is that whatever one does to the golf ball during impact is merely an incident in the predetermined course or arc of the club head. The stroke is played at such a great pace that it is impossible to do anything during impact that is not in the swing of the club both before and after impact. James Braid emphasizes this. Let us see what he says: "While it is of course in the highest degree necessary that the ball should be taken in exactly the right place on the club and in the right manner, this will have to be done by the proper regulation of all the other parts of the swing and any effort to direct the club on to it in a particular manner just as the ball is being reached, cannot be attended by success."
This strange fallacy was very prevalent in England until I demonstrated its falseness. There were not wanting serious students of the game who asserted that they actually saw Vardon producing his pulled drive by turning his wrists over at the moment of impact. It was years before they saw the futility of the action, if it had been used, and the falseness of the assumption that it was used.
It is however so important that the student should get rid of any lingering notion of this kind that I quote James Braid again. He says: "If the ball is taken by the toe or heel of the club, or is topped, or if the club gets too much under it, the remedy for these faults is not to be found in a more deliberate directing of the club on to the ball just as the two are about to come into contact, but in the better and more exact regulation of the swing the whole way through up to this point."
He continues: "The object of these remarks is merely to emphasize again, in the best place, that the dispatching of the ball from the tee by the driver, in the downward swing, is merely an incident of the whole business."
I repeat these important words "merely an incident of the whole business." I have in various places emphasized this matter as much as possible. It is another of the many fallacies of golf that must be absolutely forgotten by the learner or the golfer. Any attempt to introduce it into practical golf must end in trouble.