Many times I have been strongly advised to write a book on golf, and now I offer a volume to the great and increasing public who are devoted to the game. So far as the instructional part of the book is concerned, I may say that, while I have had the needs of the novice constantly in mind, and have endeavoured to the best of my ability to put him on the right road to success, I have also presented the full fruits of my experience in regard to the fine points of the game, so that what I have written may be of advantage to improving golfers of all degrees of skill. There are some things in golf which cannot be explained in writing, or for the matter of that even by practical demonstration on the links. They come to the golfer only through instinct and experience. But I am far from believing that, as is so often said, a player can learn next to nothing from a book. If he goes about his golf in the proper manner he can learn very much indeed. The services of a competent tutor will be as necessary to him as ever, and I must not be understood to suggest that this work can to any extent take the place of that compulsory and most invaluable tuition. On the other hand, it is next to impossible for a tutor to tell a pupil on the links everything about any particular stroke while he is playing it, and if he could it would not be remembered. Therefore I hope and think that, in conjunction with careful coaching by those who are qualified for the task, and by immediate and constant practice of the methods which I set forth, this book may be of service to all who aspire to play a really good game. If any player of the first degree of skill should take exception to any of these methods, I have only one answer to make, and that is that, just as they are explained in the following pages, they are precisely those which helped me to win my five championships. These and no others I practise every day upon the links. I attach great importance to the photographs and the accompanying diagrams, the objects of which are simplicity and lucidity. When a golfer is in difficulty with any particular stroke—and the best of us are constantly in trouble with some stroke or other—I think that a careful examination of the pictures relating to that stroke will frequently put him right, while a glance at the companion in the “How not to do it” series may reveal to him at once the error into which he has fallen and which has hitherto defied detection. All the illustrations in this volume have been prepared from photographs of myself in the act of playing the different strokes on the Totteridge links last autumn. Each stroke was carefully studied at the time for absolute exactness, and the pictures now reproduced were finally selected by me from about two hundred which were taken. In order to obtain complete satisfaction, I found it necessary to have a few of the negatives repeated after the winter had set in, and there was a slight fall of snow the night before the morning appointed for the purpose. I owe so much—everything—to the great game of golf, which I love very dearly, and which I believe is without a superior for deep human and sporting interest, that I shall feel very delighted if my “Complete Golfer” is found of any benefit to others who play or are about to play. I give my good wishes to every golfer, and express the hope to each that he may one day regard himself as complete. I fear that, in the playing sense, this is an impossible ideal. However, he may in time be nearly “dead” in his “approach” to it.
I have specially to thank Mr. Henry Leach for the invaluable services he has rendered to me in the preparation of the work
H.V.Totteridge, May 1905.