In the first two parts of this series, taken from "A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour" (published this week by Simon and Schuster, $3.50), Tommy persuaded Bill, a mediocre golfer, that the real reason he was so bad was because he wouldn't think on a golf course. Armour suggested that they make up a foursome with two other players, Ed and Jim, in the course of which Bill would play his shots but Armour would think for him. Bill agreed, and at the point where this installment begins he has played four holes, trying to take Tommy's advice on two of them, and being on his own on the other two. Now the foursome is playing the long, 540-yard, par-5 fifth hole. Bill had a nice 210-yard drive, but lunged on his second and moved the ball only a little more than 100 yards diagonally across the fairway. He played his third safely, without straining for distance, and the ball came to rest about 40 yards short of the green.
The preceding shot had been one of those easy, satisfying ones that erase bitter recollections. By now Bill was believing that he'd played all the holes all by himself and that only the demands of his business kept him from going out after big championships.
He grabbed a nine-iron. It was the proper club. The green to which he was playing had a few mild undulations but generally was rather flat. What he needed to do was to pitch at the hole rather than play a chip shot that might bump into a small knob and slide far off the line.
Bill bent over the ball with his feet wide apart. His posture was fine for sweeping a ball with a short-handled broom but not for hitting a ball with a golf club. He was getting excited and in a hurry to get the ball into the hole. He was hoping, not thinking.
His grip was O.K. That was about all that was right. His heels were nearly three feet apart. He was standing somewhat pigeon-toed and his weight was on his toes. The ball was in line with his left toe and he was leaning to the right.
Should I let him try to play the shot from that atrocious address or direct him to the proper procedure?
I couldn't stand looking at him on the brink of disaster.
"Don't do that to me!" I implored.
Bill straightened up and looked at me, puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that you ought to think about what you are supposed to do."