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THE ULTIMATE HAZARD
Rex Lardner
September 26, 1960
Rex Lardner, free-lance writer and nephew of the late humorist Ring Lardner, is a swing-from-the-heels, no-nonsense golfer. The worst nonsense, he has come to believe, is to permit women to clutter up the course. Here, in a chapter from his recent book 'Out of the Bunker and into the Trees' (Bobbs-Merrill, $2.95) is Mr. Lardner's story of the golf match that led to his bitter conclusion
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September 26, 1960

The Ultimate Hazard

Rex Lardner, free-lance writer and nephew of the late humorist Ring Lardner, is a swing-from-the-heels, no-nonsense golfer. The worst nonsense, he has come to believe, is to permit women to clutter up the course. Here, in a chapter from his recent book 'Out of the Bunker and into the Trees' (Bobbs-Merrill, $2.95) is Mr. Lardner's story of the golf match that led to his bitter conclusion

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"Oh," she said. "Are you going to play another?"

"No," I said thoughtfully. "I'll play 'er where she lies."

I limped over to where my bag lay, a little like Chester in Gunsmoke, and got out a two-iron. I thought of using a three, but a two has more authority. Placing my weight on the left foot but otherwise following the principles of the recommended golf swing, I brought the club around crisply, caught the cuff where the ball was lodged, and blooped a shot 50 yards straight down the fairway.

As we walked to the ball, I told her in a companionable way the things she was doing wrong. She was an attentive listener. Then I extracted my brassie and aimed for the pin.

I whacked out a really impressive slice, one that traveled about 80 yards straight and then curved about 40 yards to the right, landing in the forward part of the trap.

"What rotten luck!" she said.

I gave her an amused smile to indicate I was just clowning around—perhaps like Baer against Camera—and impishly trying to find alternate routes to the green. It is quite a lot to put into a smile, and I don't know how much of it was communicated. At that, I was only shooting 4, and if I sank the explosion shot from the trap I'd get a double bogey.

Standing in the sand, I measured its consistency carefully by running it through my fingertips and tossing it up and letting the breeze carry it off. It was coarse, as it has been for the past 12 years.

The ball was half buried in the sand. Marge stood on the lip, watching. "What we call a fried-egg lie," I told her cheerily, working my feet deep into the sand. This time the ball flew up over the top of the trap in a beautiful arc, spun wildly and, before I could do anything about it, churned its way back and fell into the trap again, landing in almost the spot it had been before.

As you may surmise, I was not too pleased at this turn of events. I acted in the only way a champion could be expected to act. I bent my blaster into a sharp V and hurled it into the branches of a nearby tree. Then I took the two-iron that had served me so well earlier, and before long had the ball on the fairway.

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