This is the momentous part of the stroke. What happens during the fraction of an inch that the club and ball travel together in adhesion means as much to the golf ball as the direction of the barrel at the time of the explosion of the cartridge does to the rifle bullet.

It will be interesting to see what Vardon says of this position: "When the ball has been struck, and the follow-through is being accomplished, there are two rules, hitherto held sacred, which may at last be broken. With the direction and force of the swing your chest is naturally turned round until it is facing the flag, and your body now abandons all restraint, and to a certain extent throws itself, as it were, after the ball. There is a great art in timing this body movement exactly. If it takes place the fiftieth part of a second too soon the stroke will be entirely ruined; if it comes too late it will be quite ineffectual and will only result in making the golfer feel uneasy, and as if something had gone wrong. When made at the proper instant it adds a good piece of distance to the drive, and that instant, as explained, is just when the club is following through."

There is a statement in this quotation that I must refer to in passing. Vardon says that in the follow-through "your body now abandons all restraint. " James Braid also encourages this idea. I think that it is both a bad idea and impractical golf. If one has come down at the ball at full tension it will be impossible immediately after one has hit it to abandon all restraint, nor indeed is it advisable to do so, as witness the fine firm finish and beautiful poise with which Vardon completes his drive. One must not have it in one's mind that the tension and concentration go only half way through the swing. I am afraid that that would not be conducive to good golf. That, however, is by the way.

The important point for us to consider at and about the impact is the transference of the weight. According to all the best theory it is, or should be, moving from the right leg to the left leg. Instantaneous pictures of Vardon do not show this to be the case. They show unmistakably that at the top of his swing more of his weight is on his left leg than on his right. In a man of his weight there would be from eight to twelve pounds more on the left foot than on the right. Then we see that he moves his hips forward suddenly. This sudden pushing forward of the hips sets up the reciprocating motion of the shoulders that I have referred

Top of Swing with Mashie or Jigger

Top of Swing with Mashie or Jigger.

Stance and Address with Cleek or Driving Iron

Stance and Address with Cleek or Driving Iron.


to and probably throws back to the right leg a certain amount of weight which comes into the stroke at the moment of impact. This however is not a certainty. There is a chance here for some one to fit my machine with a double recording needle that will catch and record the weight on the right leg at the top of the swing and also record the highest weight thereafter put on the right leg during the swing. Before one could speak authoritatively on this point I believe that this would have to be done. The scales were made by the most famous scales makers in England, but they could not arrange this mechanism for me in time for our demonstration, nor for the purposes of that demonstration was it absolutely necessary.

The chief point to notice in Vardon's statement about the management of the body weight is contained in the following words. He says that it must be timed to the minutest fraction of a second "just when the club is following through."

Now there can be no doubt that timing this body movement does require a great deal of skill; so much indeed that a great many players make no conscious effort whatever to get it, and finish their stroke with their heads over the ball and the arms going away on their own account, which cannot be considered the best form. It is however equally certain that Vardon makes a great error when he says that the time to put this body weight into the stroke "is just when the club is following through."

From the first instant that the club starts "following through" it has absolutely lost any power to influence the flight of the ball. The stroke has been played and nothing that the player can do with his body or any other portion of his anatomy can affect the flight of the ball in the least degree. The moment one must choose for endeavoring to put this body weight into the blow must be the time during which the club is making the last two or three inches before it hits the ball and then the effort must not be made at that time. It must be a portion of the swing naturally and harmoniously welded into it to come in at this instant. Any other way of trying to get it must fail and will ruin the rhythm of the swing. The main point however is that in any attempt to get this extremely accurate piece of timing the idea in one's mind must be to do it before impact, and not, as Vardon explicitly states, "just when the club is following through"; for then it will be waste effort.