Golfers tend to confuse touch with control. They use the two words as though they were interchangeable, which, of course, they are not. Unless you have touch, or feel, as it is sometimes called, you cannot have control. That is the kernel of it.
I was lucky enough to have started playing golf when I was young, and learned the feel of golf shots then. A group of us kids would go out and play a triangle of holes with just one club. We would do everything with it—hit the ball high and low, run shots or stop them with back-spin. The next time out we would do the same thing with another club. We didn't realize it then, but we were getting a marvelous education in the uses of clubs. People learning to play today generally are equipped with a club for each distinct shot. They hit the ball full each time, but that is the trouble with their game. They can only hit the ball full.
To acquire touch, I advise that you go back to where I began and practice playing with a single club. You can play several holes with the club. Or you might try the practice fairway. Select a target down the fairway—say 50 to 125 yards away. Then hit balls at it until you feel you have mastered the club. You might try a long iron at first. Go to a higher iron after that. You will find as you go through the irons that you will have to do a lot of gripping up and down the shaft, that you will be opening and closing your stance and lengthening and shortening your swing. Eventually you will find yourself instinctively hitting balls with the right spin and height and length. These are the elements of control.
BOB WATSON, Fairview CC, Elmsford, N.Y.
February 15, 1960
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