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One way to balance things up and regain an approximation of heaven after such an experience is to give your clubs to the caddie and renounce the game forever. A better and easier way is to move to San Francisco and join the Tri-Putt Club, or maybe start one of your own. The San Francisco Tri-Putters are a group of West Coast golfers whose dedication to the game often outstrips their skill. To maintain an even keel on the lip of constantly threatening discouragement, they have negotiated a solemn compact by which each of them contributes $5 to a common fund whenever he three-putts a hole. This nonsinking fund is thereupon invested in the stock market, where unearned increments have been spreading out like scar tissue to cover the spiritual wounds of the frustrated duffers.
The worst putter in the Tri-Putts is its president, Anthony Bottari, who has paid out the maximum $25-a-week limit for bad putting 11 times since the club's founding at New Year's. Since Tony is also a stockbroker, it is his business to sink the club's money into suitable financial holes. At the latest reading he and his fellow duffers had putted themselves $2,000 worth of profitable holdings.
"Who knows," said one of them last week, "we may end up owning an apartment house. If we do, I for one am going to insist on tightly woven carpets for home putting practice."
Flycycle Built for Three
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this automated age is that there is still always someone who wants to do it the hard way. No number of helicopters can deter the dedicated mountaineer from clambering upwards rock by rock; the horse goes right on plodding along in happy coexistence with the automobile; and in the engineering offices of Pratt and Whitney Aircraft a young man dreams of putting himself right out of business.
The young man is Hank North, a Canadian with an advanced degree in engineering from Britain's College of Aeronautics. Hank's business in the Montreal plant of Pratt and Whitney is helping to design and build better aircraft engines, but his sustaining dream (dreamed on his own and not company time, of course) is to build an airplane that will fly without the aid of any engine whatever. Not a glider, mind you, but an airplane, i.e., something that will take off, fly and land on manpower alone.
Like Da Vinci and many another dreamer of similar dreams before him, young North is handicapped by the fact that man, as an engine, is a highly inefficient prime mover. Under normal circumstances he just can't generate enough power to get himself off the ground, not and carry a plane along with him, anyway. Even the best man can produce only one and one third horsepower and can sustain even this puny effort for only about 20 seconds.
This is not, North reasons, enough to carry an airplane aloft, but it might be enough to carry a part of an airplane aloft if the plane were properly designed with minimum drag and maximum lift potential. With such a plane and not one but three (count 'em, three) strong men to push it, North feels, the trick might well be turned. The way he sees it, the plane will be of approximately Piper Cub size, with one man seated amidships and two others close behind him, all pedaling like fury on a bicyclelike gear to spin a propeller in the plane's tail.
With the right men pedaling ("We can use a crew of average athletes," says North, "not necessarily world champions"), and the plane performing according to specifications, North figures he could achieve a man-powered flight of close to a mile over a period of two or three minutes before his athletes collapsed. All he needs now to become airborne is the athletes, the plane and approximately $25,000 for expenses.
"A refreshing prospect of the whole undertaking," says Hank North, his eyes alight with enthusiasm, "is that it will have absolutely no commercial value whatever."