It took a hale and hearty President of the U.S. only five minutes after arriving in Augusta, Georgia last week to pull off his city clothes, pull on his golf togs and get out on the links. Reporters could scarcely remember having seen Ike in better shape, and Doc Snyder pooh-poohed suggestions that he might overdo. "He needs exercise, not rest," said the White House physician of his boss and principal patient.
From Helsinki, by way of a tabloid newspaper in Hamburg, Germany, came rumors that Moscow's doctors were saying much the same thing to their boss, Nikita Khrushchev. They were, in fact, specifically recommending that he too take up golf; they were, that is, according to the rumor mongers in Helsinki, who may not know that there is not a single golf course in the Soviet Union.
There are, to be sure, four weed-covered holes of a once fine capitalistic course still extant at the Russian (formerly U.S.) embassy in Budapest and the ratty remnants of another course at the Russian-run Diplomat's Club in Iron Curtain Bucharest, but they are a long way from Moscow.
It seems unlikely, therefore, that Nikita Khrushchev will take his doctors' advice in this respect (if, indeed, they ever gave it) and that is a pity. It is a great pity, for whatever the doctors may have had in mind from a medical point of view their suggestion is one which might well point the way to ultimate success at the summit. The picture of Eisenhower and Khrushchev, both stubborn men, glaring at each other in futile disagreement over Berlin is not necessarily an encouraging one. Add to the picture, however, an inviting vista of rolling greens and fairways seen through the conference room window—something like the Augusta scene described in Herbert Wind's story on page 38, "not a cloud in the sky...a balmy breeze...." Consider the conference in a new light: the devoted golfing buff and the apprentice just learning the thrill of the long, clean drive and the subtle chip shot. Presume as well that both are itching to get out and practice.
April 20, 1959
Under these altered circumstances, the disagreements over Berlin that now hold the world in nervous abeyance might quickly become mere annoyances to the principals involved—annoyances to be settled efficiently and amicably for the sake of more important challenges just beyond the first tee.
Oh, there would be disagreement at the summit all right, as Ike watched in despair while Nikita for perhaps the 48th time dropped his left shoulder at the crucial point of his swing. There would be disagreements as the dictator insisted that he knew better than Ike or even Tommy Armour how to blast that pesky pill out of the sand. But the disagreement would be aimed at a noble rather than an ignoble purpose. Its end result would be alliance against an enemy more terrible and tyrannical than any bomb yet devised—the small white pellet called a golf ball. And all of us might win the game.