The wrist movement may be said to be mainly contributed by the left hand in its initial stages, the right wrist following in unison. At the top of the swing the knuckles of the left hand will be lying almost flat and uppermost, the toe of the club pointing almost straight down to the ground. The trouble with the large majority of players who do not drive well proceeds from the fear that if the face of the club is allowed to be diverted in the upward swing from the angle at which the ball was addressed - if, in other words, it is turned in any way - a slice will result. Consequently it is carried up straight and the stroke is robbed of a great deal of power. There need be no such fear. Start the wrists right in the upward movement and they will take care of themselves in the downward swing, if left alone. If the turn is hurried, however, the face of the club will be turned slightly in and the ball foundered or pulled, while if the turn is not made soon enough a slice will result, owing to the club face pointing somewhat to the right.
After the ball is struck, everything synchronizing harmoniously, the hands and arms should be allowed to go well forward, and about half-way on the follow through the wrists will again perform a turn exactly the reverse of that in the upward swing. Before we arrive at that stage, however, it is proper to say a few words concerning the upward swing.
With the club gripped pretty firmly with both hands in the manner already described, it is well to see that the whole machinery is in good working order by waggling the club a few times over the ball, allowing the wrists to turn freely, without, however, relaxing the grip. The waggle should be entirely free from any stiffness. Which simply means that the wrists should be brought into active play. Do not on any account in this preliminary address lift the club up. Lifting the club presupposes stiffness and rigidity of muscles, and the resultant stroke cannot be thoroughly satisfactory. By means largely of the wrists swing the club back of the ball as far as it will go along the ground - some three or four inches - until the arms assert themselves, and raise it on its upward journey; continue the swing until the club is about horizontal back of and across the right shoulder, allowing the body to freely turn at the same time in a natural and unassisted manner; keep the head perfectly still, with the eye intently fastened on the ball; and, when the top of the swing is reached, without pausing, bring the arms and body around as swiftly as possible and swish the ball away.
Now there are several things you must not do, apart from those mentioned. Do not seek to artificially raise the left foot on the toe. Strive rather to keep it rooted -the natural turn of the shoulders, and body rotating to the right will bring it up and around. Keep the right leg as stiff and as straight as possible. And whatever you do, don't move the head.
The time-honored injunction laid down by all writers and teachers to "keep your eye on the ball" - which eye, by - the-way? - would be more aptly expressed by insisting upon the head being kept absolutely still and in the same position as in the address until the ball is struck - or Several Don'ts.
Keep the Head Still even a moment after. If the head is kept still no swaying of the body can be indulged in, and hands, arms, and everything must revert to the original position assumed at the commencement of the stroke, thus insuring the ball being hit cleanly. If, however, the head is allowed to move, the chances are that a sclaff or a top will result. If the head is kept in the same position throughout the swing, the player may even go so far as to absolutely shut his eyes and be reasonably certain of getting the ball well away, provided no jerk is introduced. Any doubt as to whether the head is moved may easily be satisfied by the player assuming a position with the sun immediately back of him, and watching the shadow of his head during the swing. If the head is shown to move, the swing should be persistently practised until this fault is remedied.
It has been suggested that in the upward swing the club should be swept close to the ground. This flattening of the arc of the circle will largely prevent any tendency to strike into the ground back of the ball, for as the club is withdrawn so it will almost assuredly describe the same course in the downward swing. It will furthermore considerably lessen the chances of driving a high ball. Moreover, the flatter the swing, the greater is the latitude for correction of any error. The accompanying diagrams will illustrate this very clearly.
The swing indicated in Diagram 9 means that the club has been taken more vertically away from the ball in the upward stroke, and has consequently been brought down straighter. In Diagram 10 it will be observed that the swing is much flatter, and as the arc of the circle is greater, the club head is moving longer in the same plane as the ball, thereby augmenting the chances of hitting it more correctly.
Reference has been made to the introduction of a jerk in the swing. This is generally a sure sign of pressing-i. e., suddenly exerting more power than usual. The effect usually is to depress the right shoulder, and sclaff badly. If the extra power is harmoniously distributed, no harm is done. As a general thing, however, it is advisable to keep back some reserve force. The man who utilizes his full measure of existent strength at every full stroke is far more liable to drive unsteadily than he who represses such inclination and determines to keep well within his natural limitations, and the few yards occasionally gained by pressing when the shot comes off do not compensate for the more frequent foozles.