The "quarter" game, with putting a very close second, may be regarded as the most difficult part of the art of golf. In driving and playing through the green distance is the prime object to be achieved, combined with a fair measure of accuracy. While it is, of course, desirable to be in line with the flag in the long game, yet a dozen yards or so either way make little appreciable difference, as there is sufficient latitude allowed. But when it comes to getting the green on the next, more careful calculations have to be made, both in respect to strength and to accuracy.
Apart from the tee shot any stroke that is capable of landing the ball on the green, even with a driver, brassey, or full cleek, may be said to be an approach. The ordinary acceptation of the term, however, embraces distances from, say, forty or fifty to one hundred and fifty or one hundred and sixty yards from the hole. A fairly good player can easily get the latter distance with a cleek. Lesser ranges may be negotiated with a mid-iron or mashie. The driver is, of course, the most powerful club, followed in due order by the brassey, the cleek, the mid-iron, and the mashie.
Fig. 14 Top Of Swing - Cleek Shot
Fig. 15 Finish Of Swing - Cleek Shot Approaching
According to the distance from the green so does the experienced player regulate the stroke by the particular club employed. It is easier to play a full mashie shot, for instance, than a half-iron. Given that the ball be hit true, each club has a certain maximum range, and the player should familiarize himself with the full capabilities of his clubs, and govern his approaches accordingly. So far as the cleek and iron are concerned, the stance and swing are practically the same as in the drive, excepting that it is advisable to stand a little more over the ball, and not to take the club so far back in the upward swing. When you come to within, say, one hundred yards or thereabouts of the hole, the mashie may be brought into requisition.
For a shot of this distance the right foot should be advanced a trifle more than usual, with the ball somewhat nearer the right foot.
Grasp the club firmly, with the sole at right angles to the line of play, and play straight for the hole. Make the stroke with decision. Aim to hit the ball in its centre with the middle of the face, and let the club go through and slightly into the ground. Follow through as in the drive. Do not attempt to jerk the stroke, unless the ball be lying badly. Be very particular not to take any turf until after the ball is hit. The ball must be hit clean, and the club allowed to go through into the ground immediately after, and not on any account before, reaching the ball. Do not allow the club to trail along behind the ball in the upward swing; rather make a point of taking it up straighter - more vertically.
In the same way that the club is withdrawn, so is it likely to come down upon the ball. This is a golfing truism, and such an important one that we often lose sight of it altogether. If the club be swept along the ground, back of the ball, the chances are in favor of a top, unless it should be lying very well. Irrespective of the lie, it is better to adhere to the same methods throughout, and play each shot the same way - except in the case of a very cuppy lie, which will be considered in its proper place.
Fig. 16 Address For Mashie Shot 100 Yards
Fig. 17 Top Of Swing
Fig. 18 Finish Of Swing Approaching
Within sixty to eighty yards of the hole some slight modifications are necessary in the stance and the stroke. The right foot should be brought further forward, with the ball a trifle nearer the left foot. The face of the club should be inclined to the right, so that it would appear as though the player intended going several yards to the right of the hole. At the same time the aim should be correspondingly to the left of the hole. In making the stroke hit the ball smartly somewhat across, i. e., draw the arms in a trifle, immediately after the ball is struck This combination will produce a perfectly straight ball, with a good deal of cut, which will have a retarding effect on its run. Precisely the same methods are employed for shorter distances. The face of the club may even be turned slightly more away from the hole to the right, with the heel well down to the ground. Hitting with the heel of the club meeting the ground after the ball is struck will cause the ball to rise more, and, joined to the spin imparted by drawing in the arms and turning the wrists upward, will produce a very dead ball with hardly any run.
The essence of the stroke consists in hitting very sharply, and in turning the wrists upward immediately after the ball is struck. The club should be grasped very firmly, but more with the fingers than in the palms, and the stroke made very decisively with a free use of the wrists. In all of these strokes the elbows should be pretty well bent and fairly well tucked in towards the body. For the shorter strokes, the feet should not be raised at all from the ground, the body being allowed to turn from the knees only, and principally from the left knee. For the longer shots the turn of the knees is more pronounced, and the left foot shifts slightly inward on the side, towards the toe.