Reference to the first illustration shows that the right foot is a few inches back of the left. An inch or so either way matters little, but the more the right is advanced, the greater is the check towards getting the arms and body around, and the upward swing is curtailed accordingly, and the distance of the resultant stroke shortened. So clearly is this recognized that by far the large majority of good players instinctively control and regulate their approach shots in this manner. The shorter the distance to be traversed, the more the right foot is advanced as a general rule. With but few exceptions the very longest drivers have the right foot slightly back of the left. So much for the stance. Now for the grip.
Reference to Fig. 4 shows that the club rests more at the base of the fingers, while Fig. 5 indicates a firmer grip well in the palms of the hands. The latter is, in my opinion, more conducive to greater power and productive of longer distance. Fig. 6 shows a still sturdier grip, with both hands, more in the palms and with the knuckles well under. This style is more affected by cricketers and baseball-players, but is open to the objection that it induces a tendency to hit the ball with tautened muscles, and discourages a proper follow through. Nor does it permit of a sufficiently free play of the wrists, which is absolutely essential to long driving.
Stance And Grip
The relation of the hands to each other is a very important point. If the left hand is held with the knuckles under, as shown in Fig. 6, the right hand must also be gripped well under; otherwise, if held with the knuckles not so far around, as shown in Fig. 4, an almost certain slice will be the result. Inversely, if the left hand grips as in Fig. 4, and the right as in Fig. 6, a pull will result. The reason is simple and apparent. By way of practical illustration rest the club squarely on the ground, held lightly in the tips of the fingers, with the face at a right angle to the line of play, then grip with the left hand only, with the knuckles well under; withdraw the club a yard or so and bring it back to its original position, and it will be found to have the face turned outward slightly to the right. Unless the grip of the right hand also has the knuckles well under, the hands are not acting in unison, and the ball will go to the right. On the other hand, if the club be held with the right hand only, with the knuckles well under, and the same operation repeated, it will be found that the face of the club will be slightly turned in and a pull will be the outcome. This matter of grip is one of the most pregnant causes of slicing and pulling. There are others of comparatively lesser importance, however, which will be treated further on. Perhaps the best guide to insure the proper relation of the hands is to grip with both hands, with the knuckles well up, so that the Vs formed by the junction of the thumb and first finger of each hand are in a straight line as viewed by the player looking down the shaft. This position, however, is cramped and uncomfortable, and is not recommended, except for the purpose mentioned. Now it is important to remember that in changing from the position described, as the left hand is turned towards the left, outwardly, the right Stance And Grip hand must also be turned to the right, outwardly, in a corresponding degree. If either hand is allowed to turn more than the other the face of the club will not present a true right angle to the ball, and a slice or pull will the more likely be produced, as the case may be.
The laws of motion are unchangeable, and a ball hit in exactly the same manner each time will follow the same course again and again without the slightest variation. To do this, however, is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and therein lies half, or perhaps more than half, of the fascination of the game. It is human nature to be forever striving for the unattainable - in golf, to repeat at every hole that magnificent drive, that approach which came within an ace of holing out and which is absolutely dead, or that putt a dozen or so yards off which found the bottom of the tin, and was destined to do so from the start. During the round one or more of these perfect strokes occur, even to the veriest tyro, and their successful accomplishment tends to make large amends for the far greater number of badly executed shots, and to keep alive the keen desire to duplicate them - if not at this hole, at the next - if not to-day, to-morrow.
After this digression it is time to revert to the unfinished question of the grip. As a general rule the left hand should grip somewhat more firmly than the right. At the same time the club should be held pretty tightly with both hands. Gripping tightly with the right hand is apt to cause pulling, due either to the tendency to slightly turn the face of the club in at the moment of impact with the ball, or to the difficulty of going properly through and bringing the arms around instead of letting them go freely away after the ball. If a man is constantly pulling, a remedy may be found by holding the club more loosely in the right hand. If, however, this does not correct the trouble he will probably find that he is gripping wrong - either too far around with the right hand or not far enough with the left, usually the former. If, on the other hand, he is slicing, he will almost assuredly effect a cure by gripping tightly with the right hand, or by paying closer attention to the harmonious grip of both hands, as already touched upon, and by following through properly. In this connection, however, it is proper to add that other causes may lie at the root of the trouble than those already mentioned. These will be taken up when the matters of Stance And Grip swing and the relative position of the player to the ball are gone into.
Having thus far disposed of the questions of stance and grip, I will endeavor to analyze the swing. Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of utilizing the wrists properly. Reference to Fig. 7 shows the club about half-way up to the shoulder. Comparison with Fig. 8 discloses several points of dissimilarity. In the first the hands and arms have been taken up straight, and the club's face is looking more squarely at the ball. The knuckles of both hands are in practically the same position as when the is turned more away from the ball, and the knuckles of both hands have turned correspondingly. In the former case the wrists have been held rigid, while in the latter they have been allowed, in a perfectly natural manner, to turn. This turn of the wrist exercises considerable influence on the speed of the swing, accelerating it in a very marked degree - imparting velocity in the downward stroke which cannot so well be secured in any other way. This fact can easily be demonstrated by swinging a cane or a headless shaft, first with the wrists rigid and then supple, with the turn described. The difference will be at once apparent.
The Swing ball was addressed, whereas in the succeeding illustration it will be seen that the club face.