Mrs. Partington, according to the 19-century cleric and wit the Rev. Sydney Smith, tried vainly to brush the Atlantic Ocean back with her broom. ''The contest'' he remarked ''was unequal.''
Now Dame Partington may not have been successful with her broom in this encounter but I would not be surprised to learn that she was a low-handicapper at Sidmouth Golf Club.
The brushing technique is fundamental to good golf.
I would urge beginners and those returning to the game after a winter layoff to go out into the rough, somewhere where the grass is just long enough for you to be able to see the result of your swing, and simply to brush the grass.
As a start, simply set up reasonably well and brush, brush, brush. Brush so that the left wrist is ''flat'' as your clubhead goes through the grass about where the ball would be.
Then pick an imaginary target - for one is not meant to put a ball down yet - and set up as if to throw to it. Now brush through the grass again and again. You will be able to see the line and arc of your swing. It will be visible there in the grass.
Brush away until you are pleased enough with the marks you are making and feel assured that a fairly straight shot would result if there was a ball there.
Later, I would advise, go to a practice ground with some practice balls and simply ''brush'' those away.
Pick a target some 20 yards away to begin with. Brush a few balls in that direction.
Then pick a target 50 yards away and after a dozen brushes a target at, say, 100 yards. Brush, brush, brush.
It doesn't matter what club you use, although I would start with a 5-iron - some club with which you could hit the short distances we are talking about without trying.
STOP TRYING! Start brushing.
Remember our friend Mrs. Partington.