Keynote of Address — Ease, Comfort, Relaxation
Keep Ball Forward . . . Toes Turned Slightly Outward

The keynote of the address position should be ease, comfort, and relaxation. Above all else the first posture must be one from which the movement of the swing may start smoothly without having to break down successive barriers of tension set up by taut or strained muscles. To go a bit farther, the player should feel himself alert, sensitive to impulses, and ready to move in either direction.

Avoid Uncomfortable Posture

It is always better at this point to be one’s own natural self than to make an effort to look like someone else. Any posture that feels uncomfortable is certain to produce a strain somewhere that will cause the ensuing movement to be jerky. It is well to remember that there are no forces outside of the player’s own body that have to be resisted or balanced. There is no need for him to set or brace himself for there is nothing to brace against. If one could conceive that he were standing naturally, with a club in his hands, engaged in ordinary conversation, and that he then bent over enough to ground the club behind a ball not too far away, the resulting posture would be quite good.

Figure 3-A & B shows a natural, comfortable position. The body has been erect and is now bent over just enough to reach the ball, which is near enough so that this can be done while the arms hang almost vertically from the shoulders. The knees are slightly bent so that their movement can be free and the weight is about equally divided between the two feet, which are not abnormally spread apart.

Contrast this with illustration Figure 3-C. This player has actually “set” his body. His knees are locked so that his legs are useless; his feet are so far apart, his legs cannot turn; his arms and wrists are as lengths of wood. He is making of his game as hard work as he possibly can.

Ball Opposite Instep of Left Foot

Only two points, which might not result naturally, would I emphasize. One is the location of the ball. The swing is greatly simplified by placing the ball as far forward as it is shown in Figure 3-A, about opposite the instep of the left foot, for here the player is sufficiently behind it so that he can get into position to hit without complicating his backswing by the addition of a shift to the right. Effect of placing ball too far back will appear later.

The other point, is that the toes of both feet should be turned slightly outward. This is done in order to make equally easy the turning of the hips in either direction. To point the right foot to the front or to turn it inward would tend to block or restrict the turn to the right, as a similar placement of the left would affect the
turn in that direction.

Forward Press
A Short Wind-up to Start Backswing Moving Smoothly

The one idea for the golfer to keep always in his mind is that when playing a shot, his job is to SWING the club-head. If he does this, hitting the ball will take care of itself. And the place to start swinging is at the very beginning, as soon as the movement of the stroke gets under way.

From an easy, relaxed position at address, the first movement in the swings of all first class golfers is directed forward, or to the left in the case of a right-handed player. The movement is regarded by some as a mannerism and non-essential, but there can be no doubt that it serves a useful purpose in breaking down what-ever tension may have entered the address position, and in providing a sort of wind-up for a smooth take-off.

This movement is usually referred to as the “forward-press”, yet it does not involve, as so many make it do, any independent movement of the hands. Because the common tendency of golfers of all classes is to swing the club mainly with their hands and arms, neglecting to make sufficient use of the powerful muscles of the waist and back, it becomes a matter of the first importance that the conception should be had that the swing originates in the center of the body, in the region about the base of the spine.

Hips Move First

The “forward-press” then, though it moves the hands forward, is accomplished by a movement of the hips—a short, and some-times, very quick, turn toward the left, handled easily by the responsive legs. The hands press, or rather, are pressed, forward and relaxed wrists become flexed backward. In reality, it is a short wind-up, or backing-up so that the backswing can begin moving smoothly.

The two common mistake seen in Figure 4, at this stage are; one, picking the club up with the right hand in a way that prevents the extension of the left arm and carries the club-head toward the outside of its proper arc; and two, whipping the club around the knees by an independent movement of the hands and wrists. The latter fault flattens the arc too much, and causes the head and shoulders ultimately to move back from their correct location.

It is very helpful to think of slinging the club to the top, to originate the movement in the center of the body, by executing a simple turn of the hips without any sidewise movement of the head and shoulders. Communicate this movement to the club through the left arm and hand, allowing the right hand to rest lightly upon the club until it is needed, halfway through the back-swing, to assist in lifting the club to the top.

When Left Grip Should Become Firm

If the beginning has been made correctly, the club-head will have moved to the position shown in Figure 4, before any change in the relation of the shaft of the club to the left arm will become noticeable. As the hands were pressed forward by the slight twist of the hips to the left, now they are moved backward by the beginning of the reverse turn.

The grip of both hands and the wrist joints remaining relaxed, the hands move past their location at address before they actually pick up the weight of the club-head. In slow motion there is produced the definite impression that the club is being dragged away from the ball. At the first tug of the club-head upon the moving hands, the grip of the left becomes firm and the club begins to move. At the point illustrated in Figure 4, the lag has just been caught up, and club, arms, and hands are in relation as they were at the beginning.

Figure 4

Figure 4

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