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On Giving Up Golf Forever
by [?]

Last season I gave up golf forever two days before our course opened in May, on the evenings of June 17th and July 4th, at noon on July 27th, on the evenings of August 2nd, 9th, 15th, and 21st, at 11:15 A.M. on Labor Day, again Labor Day evening, on September 19th, 23rd, 30th, and October 3rd, 11th and 18th. I am writing this in mid-January, when the drifts are piled five feet deep over our bunkers, and the water-carries are frozen solid. I have played my last game of golf. The coming season I shall devote to the intensive cultivation of my garden. The links have no allure for me.

“And if,” says my wife, “I could believe that, I should be happier than ever before in the long years of my golf widowhood.”

“But you can,” I answer, with grieved surprise.

She looks at me, with that superior and tolerant smile women know so well how to assume.

“You men are all such children!” is her, it seems to me, somewhat irrelevant retort.

I fell to musing on my friend, the noted war correspondent (now a Major in the United States Army in France). All things considered, he was the most consistent, or perhaps I should say persistent, quitter the game of golf has ever known. He used to quit forever on an average of three times a week, and I have known him to abandon the game twice during a round, which is something of a record. He played every summer on our beautiful Berkshire course, which crosses and recrosses the winding Housatonic, not to mention sundry swamps, and boasts the most luxuriant fairway, and by the same token the rankest rough, in all America. It is the course Owen Johnson once immortalized in his story, Even Threes.

How well I remember that peaceful, happy May, back in 1914! Our course had emerged from its annual spring flood, newly top-dressed with rich river silt, and a few warm days brought the turf through the scars and made the whole glorious expanse of fairway, winding through the silver willows, a velvet carpet. I had given my orders to the greens-keepers, and gone to New York for a day or two–reluctantly, of course–and there met the famous war correspondent, in those peaceful times out of a regular job and turned novelist pro tem. He had just relieved himself of his final chapter, and readily yielded to my persuasions to return with me to the velvet field and the whistling drive. We “entrained,” as he would say in one of his military dispatches.

As far as the Massachusetts-Connecticut state-line he talked of Mexican revolutions, Theodore Roosevelt, Japanese art, vers libre, mushrooms, and such other topics as were of interest in the spring of 1914. But at the state-line, chancing a look out of the window, he saw the doming billow of blue mountains which marks the entrance to our Berkshire intervales, and a strange gleam came into his eyes. His square jaws set. His whole countenance was transformed. Turning back to me, he half hissed, grimly,–

“I am not going to press this season!”

I knew he was fairly on his way to giving up golf forever.

Of course, when a man hasn’t played all winter, but has been engaged in the mild and harmless exercise of writing a novel, his hands become soft. Then, when he suddenly begins to play thirty-six holes a day, and takes a lock-grip on his clubs as tightly as if he supposed somebody was trying to snatch them away from him, he is apt to develop certain blisters. To a war correspondent and traveler over the Dawson Trail, such blisters are nothing. To a golf player they are of profound importance. The next day, in our foursome, they affected the war correspondent’s game. He became softly querulous.

“I wish you wouldn’t talk when I am about to drive,” he complained to a caddie.