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Original Issue

19TH HOLE: The readers take over

Your articles My Brains—and Your Muscles! by Tommy Armour (SI, March 30; April 6, 13 and 20) are the most logical and interesting golf series that I have ever read.

Hope all women golfers have been reading your series by Tommy Armour.

I am a 12-handicap golfer, whose only claim to fame was a hole-in-one. As a busy mother of three teen-agers, I now only have time to play about once a week. So far this year I have been averaging around 90. Then I read the first installment of Mr. Armour's series; the next time I played, I had an 84. After the second installment I shot an 81. I have just finished the third article and can scarcely wait to play again. I'm sure I will at least break 80, my dream for 20 years.
San Mateo, Calif.

The letter from Mr. Henry W. Wright of the Western Oil and Gas Association (19TH HOLE, April 13), like other products of the petroleum industry, produces heat without light and smogs up the issues.

Mr. Wright's position is based on the Western Oil and Gas Association's members not wanting to chance losing a single acre of land which they might exploit, no matter what its cost to future generations (which Mr. Wright probably thinks of as an insignificant minority).

Mr. Wright probably does not mind the petroleum industry's getting special write-off provisions for tax purposes. This is special treatment for a special group by the government. This industry may well need this treatment to survive.

The remaining wilderness is something very special, too. Wilderness demands help now or it may soon wither and die. If we "write it off," it is gone forever. Would the petroleum industry be willing to leave itself with as little protection as the wilderness now has?

The reason the wilderness bill is being opposed by several special-interest groups is that they realize how poorly protected the wilderness areas are at present and they do not want to see this changed.

I have had the pleasure of being the doctor on several Sierra Club pack trips in California, Montana and Wyoming. These trips are not for Mr. Wright's "Park Avenue conservationists." The total daily cost is about that of a motel room. What a wonderful surprise it is to find that I have no psychosomatic problems to treat. People undergo a wonderful transformation in unspoiled areas. They enjoy living again.

I hope and pray that I can walk through these same mountains very slowly and share these wonders of nature with my grandchildren. If the wilderness bill does pass, I may live to see this dream come true. If it does not pass, I may drive to the same spot with my grandchildren, let them hear, see and smell an oil well, and let them gaze on eroded, stump-covered mountains which once were covered with lush pines.
Harlingen, Texas

If a wilderness advocate prefers a trackless domain to the wreckage of easy access, who's to hand him the tired accolade, "Park Avenue conservationist"?

Mark one thing: an age that adores mediocrity, the obsequious conformist, and whose judgment of a man is confined to his wealth or to his public notoriety needs desperately, second to its need for God, the antipodean sympathy of a wilderness.
Appleton, Wis.

Carleton Mitchell's report on Yachting magazine's One of a Kind Regatta at Miami (The Cat Leads a Revolution, SI, March 9) leaves such a one-sided impression on the reader that in spirit of fair play I feel you owe your sporting public some additional factual material.

First of all, the One of a Kind series started out in 1949 as a contest between existing well-established classes of boats. These classes all have their own strict rules for measurement, weight and scantlings of all types. The development in these classes can only be slowly revolutionary so as not to outmode boats at an impractical pace. All of the class boats sailed by their class rules.

The catamarans are a renegade lot of experimental craft with no tied-down specifications to adhere to. Thus, as an experiment and development, they can be and were designed to make the most of the One of a Kind rating formula. As a matter of fact, the first four boats on corrected time did not even adhere to the rule which prohibits hiking seats and full-length sail battens. If these two elements alone were waived as eligibility requirements, then certainly the One of a Kind formula should have been revised to take these into consideration. If hiking devices are allowed, the beam of the hull or hulls must be considered. If full-length battens are allowed, actual measured sail area must be counted because almost 25% more area can be held out in the roach with full-length battens. Another must for a fair formula is the displacement factor or wetted surface area. In other words, many rule-beating devices were employed to make the catamarans show up well on the corrected-time standing.

No one will deny that in the past several years the cats have been developed into a craft of superior speed and in my opinion are only in the infancy of their development. Another factor in their good showing was the type of course sailed.

There was a minimum of beating to weather and a maximum of close reaches. Courses were laid out with reaches so close that normal reaching spinnakers could not be used, either at all or to any advantage. This was true in course racing as well as in the time trials. If the time trials were to test the fastest speed over the water at which the craft could travel, the choice of direction should have been up to the individual boat to select. The A scow, for instance, would select a broad reach with parachute spinnaker set, but this choice was not offered. There was no complaining about many such facts as these because all who participated had a marvelous time and are thankful to both Yachting and the Coral Reef Yacht Club. But the true picture should be presented to the public.

And let's again remind the readers that a representative of one of the oldest sailing classes in the country, started in the 1890s, the Class A scow, won every race, boat for boat, quite handily, even when the courses were stretched in its disfavor.

•"I agree with most of the points Mike Meyer makes," says Carleton Mitchell, "and had no desire to slight the scows in my report on Yachting's One of a Kind Regatta. Certainly a great thrill of my sailing lifetime came from being aboard the Class A scow in the first two races.

"There is no doubt the rating formula is not equitable and leaves many loopholes. Bob Bavier, who established the formula, would be the first to agree. He points out the rule was never devised to make for even racing between boats radically different in type, but rather to determine the fastest boats that could be devised to a given length and sail area. There is also no question that it is unfair to race vessels conforming to rigid class requirements against others built without limitations. For this reason, perhaps there will be a division of classes in future regattas.

"Yet a basic purpose and interest of the competition is not merely to see which present type is fastest, but to create boats still faster and consequently more exciting to sail. Thus, to me, the outstanding aspect of the recent regatta was the performance of the catamarans. Rating and all other considerations aside, there can be no question they went phenomenally. A true breakthrough had been achieved, impossible to dismiss by terming them 'a renegade lot of experimental craft.' More power to them and all forward design.

"Instead, why not try beating them with a souped-up scow? Harry Melges told me it would be possible to build a Class E scow 500 pounds lighter than the present class requirement of 980 pounds. Why not? And add full-length battens and trapezes and anything else that should make her go faster. She would be eligible as an experimental vessel—the same as the cats this year—and perhaps would be the next step ahead, along with the hydrofoils which eventually will appear to challenge the cats."—ED.

Congratulations on your 1959 Baseball Issue (SI, April 13), especially for your gallery of player portraits sans hats. The pose with cap may be traditional but robs the player of warmth and personality which your photographers captured.
Lansdale, Pa.

It would seem that an additional requirement for a would-be major leaguer, beside hitting and fielding, would be a tendency to lose his hair early. What a collection of baldies! Fact is, with the men shown you can field a whole side of luster-domed players. No wonder they seldom doff their caps.
New York City

•See right for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Bald-star Team. In the bullpen but not shown here might be Pitcher Russ Kemmerer and Catcher Red Wilson.—ED.