In the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown Square this week some 150 athletes are busy at their trade in professional golf's very own tournament, the 44th PGA Championship. The course they are playing, Aronimink Golf Club, is a rolling, tree-shaded parkland that offers the traditional promise of all such clubs: 18 holes of leisurely fun on a balmy summer day. It is a setting that suggests the Victorian conception of the game golf is supposed to be—a tranquil pastime in which fashionably clad gentlemen amble from hole to hole striking a white ball with the deft and polished artistry of a concert violinist. But when golf is played at its best it is no more pastoral than a bullfight. Nobody realizes this better than the men who work hardest at the game, the touring pros. In the color photographs on these pages they have been captured as they amply display just how much labor goes into their not-so-gentle activity. They smash and tear and rip and gouge their way around a golf course in what is an almost shocking display of brute force. They are mentally and physically at war with the very elements that onlookers find so soothing—twin tree trunks, sparkling sand, a lovely blossoming branch. And if they often hit shots with the utmost delicacy and finesse, they do so only because battle strategy dictates such maneuvers at that point in the battle. To see muscular Arnold Palmer crashing the ball out of a hazard, or huge Mike Souchak pouncing on a pitch shot, or portly Billy Casper ripping his way out of high rough is to realize that golf can be as strenuous as many of the more obviously turbulent sports.
With an effort so fierce it wrenches the club from his hands, a grimacing Palmer blasts the ball out of deep sand and high into the air.
Using a tortured follow-through that no pro would teach, straining Ragan smashes a drive.
Crouched like a tiger, Souchak pounds out a flat chunk of turf as he attempts a short pitch.
July 22, 1962
His pudgy body staggers under the force of his own swing as Rodgers flails an iron shot.
Flanked by pines, January uses a wood to defeat two hazards, the rough and the trees.
Lashing into a shot like a man scything hay Casper thrashes his ball out of heavy rough.
Peering from behind a branch, PGA Champion Barber chops his way back into play.