Bobby Jones played our course 32 years ago, played it for 10 days. I've watched all the great golfers from Alec Smith to Dr. Middlecoff, but I learned more from watching Jones than any other golfer. I'll tell you what impressed me the most; he shifted his weight beautifully. He never hit down: he hit through the ball.
I've been trying to get this across to my pupils for years, but it's tough. They hear that the pros hit down on the ball, so that's what they're going to do too. Only they do it wrong. They don't hit the ball on the downswing in the process of swinging through like the pros. They hammer down on the ball as if they were banging a nail into wood. They get into the bad habit of playing the ball too close to the right foot, and from that position they can't develop good hand action.
A very fine golfer will get more distance on his irons by playing the ball a little back, but the average golfer will dig. If he would play the ball in line with his left heel on all his shots, he'd hit through then. One more thing. You won't see real good golfers like the doctor taking a big hunk of turf to control their swing. They don't have to. They've already got their swing under control.
from BILL SHIELDS, Thorny Lea Golf Club, Brockton, Mass.
Incorrect (above): chopping down at the ball
Correct (right): hitting through the ball
NEXT WEEK: ED OLIVER ON AVOIDING FLATNESS