"Tommy, don't worry. I'll make this one."
"You probably won't. Why don't you try to play it correctly, even if you miss it? The odds are better for you when you try to make the shot as it should be made. First of all, get your feet close together. You don't need any footwork and body action in this shot. Merely have your feet and body free from tension. Stand up as close to the ball as you are allowed to by the length of the shaft and the lie of that club when you've soled it behind the ball. Open your stance. Have your toes about on a 45° angle from the line to the hole so your body will be faced around toward the hole."
Bill adjusted his stance.
"Play the ball off your right toe. You'll notice your left arm and the shaft of the club are in a line from your shoulder joint to the clubface. You are leaning just the least little bit to the left because your weight is mainly on your left foot and it should stay there all through the shot.
"Remember to keep your head steady, swing smoothly with your shoulders and slap the ball smartly with your hands. It is much simpler than it sounds. Most of it you do in getting ready to shoot. Let's try it."
Bill stepped away from the ball and made a practice swing.
"Take the club straight back. Get into your head the general idea of knocking the ball into the ground, not knocking the ground into the ball. The duffer makes a scoop at these shots. The golfer hits them," I told Bill. "Now go ahead and shoot."
Bill looked good as he addressed the ball. He took the club back well—then everything must have gone blank. He staggered into the ball and shanked it wretchedly into the bunker.
He stared at me with the horror-stricken gaze of a man who'd just shanked.
"Can I try it again?" he entreated.