Despite the annual autumnal hazard on a lot of fairways, when the best drive you've hit all year may stay hidden forever under a sere and yellow leaf, many golf scores continue to fall. Book sales of Ben Hogan's Modern Fundamentals of Golf, which appeared as a series in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED last spring, continue to rise. There seems to be evidence of a most happy and healthy relationship.
From farthest away comes testimony by John McQuirk of Cape Town, South Africa, where, just to mix things up a little, it is now spring. "I sincerely believed that Hogan had at last given us something on which we could rely, trust and build our games. I spent every weekend for five weeks solidly practicing his fundamentals. Two months ago I broke par on my home course with a 72 (par 74) and since then have broken par on every one of the nine courses in Cape Town. I started looking for the 'sound barrier'—breaking 70.
"Last week I did it—and in style. I equaled the course record at our new country club, which is rated by the experts as being one of the finest in South Africa. My deepest thanks."
But it is autumn in St. Louis, and from there Paxton Ackerman writes: "On Wednesday I tried my first round, adopting as near as possible the new fundamentals I had learned in this book.
"The real point of this letter is to inform you that after more than 20 years of golfing I realized the dream of all golfers. I fired a hole-in-one on a difficult 154-yard hole!"
"I studied them," says a letter from Tom Goodrich of Wilmington, Delaware, "and what do you think happened?
"I had nine birdies at Hercules Country Club—par 72—wound up with a bogie on No. 18—and a 64 for a new course record that beats the old one by two strokes.
"It's hard to say how much was Hogan, how much luck, how much ability. But I'm glad to take it any way it comes and glad to have my own copy so I can study the articles again."
In the case of Mr. Goodrich, study would appear to have gone about as far as it can go. As for myself, I'm sorry I can't report any success so spectacular as these. But I'm coming along, I think, and still studying as hard as I know how.
Of course we'd like to hear from any of you who can top McQuirk, Ackerman or Goodrich. And even if, like me, you can't, it would be just as much fun to hear how you and Hogan are getting along.